Farewell, My Lovely: Europe and Israel
A talented commenter with a flair for the ironic on The New Republic's The Spine blog suggested the following in an attempt to alleviate the mood a bit:
"..possibilities for morbid fiction:
Wuthering Hates -- the story of a lot of unexamined feelings about Israel that emerge in confused theories of balance and neutrality
I'm Proud, But Also Prejudiced -- the novel Jane Austen would have written had she lived to see Disraeli become prime minister
Eyeless in Gaza -- I was just free-associating, but that would be a great title for a novel!
The House With the Seven Oh Bollix Watch Out Six Gables -- the story of a Hamas rocket unit that just escapes an IDF artillery attack on their hideout
Farewell My Lovely -- An ageing continent, Europe, commissions Philip Marlowe to find reasons to justify its final abandoning of its commitment to Israel."
The author of the new version of "Farewell My Lovely" may have hit the nail on its head, as this article by Frank Furedi illustrates:
I am standing in a queue waiting to buy a train ticket from London to Canterbury. A well-dressed lady standing behind me informs her friend that she “can’t wait till Israel disappears off the face of the earth.” What struck me was not her intense hostility to Israel but the mild-mannered, matter-of-fact tone with which she announced her wish for the annihilation of a nation. It seems that it is okay to condemn and demonize Israel. All of a sudden Israel has become an all-purpose target for a variety of disparate and confused causes.
Distancing Europe from Israel is seen as necessary for appeasing the anger of Europe’s Muslim population. From this perspective, the problem is not simply Israel but also Europe’s Jewish population.
This, in turn, reminded me of George Orwell's Antisemitism in Britain, in which he recalls some similar incidents in April 1945:
Middle-aged office employee: “I generally come to work by bus. It takes longer, but I don't care about using the Underground from Golders Green nowadays. There's too many of the Chosen Race travelling on that line.”
Tobacconist (woman): “No, I've got no matches for you. I should try the lady down the street. She's always got matches. One of the Chosen Race, you see.”
Young intellectual, Communist or near-Communist: “No, I do not like Jews. I've never made any secret of that. I can't stick them. Mind you, I'm not antisemitic, of course.”
Middle-class woman: “Well, no one could call me antisemitic, but I do think the way these Jews behave is too absolutely stinking. The way they push their way to the head of queues, and so on. They're so abominably selfish. I think they're responsible for a lot of what happens to them.”
Milk roundsman: “A Jew don't do no work, not the same as what an Englishman does. ’E's too clever. We work with this 'ere” (flexes his biceps). “They work with that there” (taps his forehead).
Chartered accountant, intelligent, left-wing in an undirected way: “These bloody Yids are all pro-German. They'd change sides tomorrow if the Nazis got here. I see a lot of them in my business. They admire Hitler at the bottom of their hearts. They'll always suck up to anyone who kicks them.”
Intelligent woman, on being offered a book dealing with antisemitism and German atrocities: “Don't show it me, please don't show it to me. It'll only make me hate the Jews more than ever.”
I could fill pages with similar remarks, but these will do to go on with.