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    Comments

    Inna

    Actually, what really annoyed me most about the whole I, as-a-Jew-am-here-to tell-you-Israelis-are-Nazis nonsense Eva spouted is that in her own account, she didn't care for Edith at all. And if this was not obvious from the fact that she was using and almost certainly distorting her story (and how does Edith feel about this btw?) it is obvious from the fact that her family made no effort to get her out of Germany and really would have preferred that she kept well away after the war. She makes that clear in the interview. Of course she says "Oh that's just my mother" and "It was very difficult to get out of Germany" etc. but the fact remains that 1) an Israeli kibbuts took Edith in whereas Eva would not; and 2) an Israeli kibbutz gave Edith a place to go and Edith would not.

    And the Israelis are the Nazis who have treated Edith badly?

    Regards,

    Inna

    ami

    Thank you Judy for articulating so superbly what many appalled listeners feel.

    I have just spoken to a 70 year old friend of mine originally
    from Split in Croatia but Austrian parentage, who is also very upset by
    this interview. She herself was taken to Israel at age 16 after the war where she spent 10 years in a Ma'abarah and she acknowledges that personal relations were "very problematic" in those early years- not surprising the social fabric should have been very strained under the weight of this huge influx, but she refutes utterly the picture of official and universal hostility, and came to dearly love Israel and its people.

    In psychological terms, such denigration as there was is readily if sadly, explicable in terms of the much studied (see Boyarin) manifestation of internalised oppression, where the new Jew turned the blame and contempt inwards and tried to reinvent himself and in the process distance himself from the horror of the old Jew.

    Figes seems to be doing something similar: as one of those pre war German Jews with a love affair with Germany, she is unable to turn her hostility towards Germany, seeks to put the Germans in as good a light as possible, and instead turn all this hatred inwards to herself and then project it onto the entire Israeli people.

    Figes has shown how poor her ability is to assess historical material and read other peoples work:
    This is evidenced when she tried to dismiss the other guest, Ian Kershaw's book, by saying he was writing about Bavaria, not Germany and Berlin in discussing the attitudes of Germans (Her book is an attempt to put Germans in a better light ) and he corrects her on this point.

    But even more, for a novelist, Figes seems to have poor insight, as she ignores the psychological trauma and sociological crisis of the oundational years of Israel to impose a shallow and twisted interpretation on the behaviours of the populace to say the whole Zionist enterprise was a cynical deception with the survivors being the tools, instead of the truth, which is that their fate was a genuine impetus, but not the whole picture, in the
    reasons for the need for the State of Israel.

    Linda Grant

    Ian Jack is not the Guardian's Middle East editor, the Middle East editor is Ian Black. So no couincidence after all. Granta also published my book, When I Lived In Modern Times. Which can hardly be called anti-Israel.

    ami

    Linda Grant: With your background and experience, I would be most interested to read your take on Fige's book, and the Start the Week piece.

    Linda Grant

    I was asked by two separate publications to review the book and turned it down. I have not read it, and I do not comment on works I have not read. I did hear the interview and would agree with much of Judy's assessment. My disagreement with her post is the insertion of a factual inaccuracy on which is built a conspiracy.

    judy

    I don't suggest any conspiracy. Ian Jack's affiliations are listed on the Granta web site. He does come up on a Google watch as Guardian Middle East editor, though it's now apparent to me that that's a Google inaccuracy, where they list Ian Black under a pointer link to Jack, who both Granta and the Graun list as one of their regular writers. Jack also used to be editor of the Independent on Sunday , which matches the Graun in its blame- Israel bias.

    In my view the fact that Start the Week featured Linda Grant's first major book on Israel demonstrates only that as per usual with the Beeb, their perspective on Israel extends all the way from critics who see the main issue as Israel's occupation to those like Figes who see Israel as like the Nazi. Their other most recent feature on Israel was a reverential platform for Jacqueline Rose's most recent anti-Israel book, which almost matched Figes for inaccurate and outrageous misuse of sources.

    It would be interesting to hear more of Linda's reasons for refusing to review the Figes book.

    Linda Grant

    I would expect that you will now amend your post to remove the reference to Ian Jack as the Guardian's Middle East editor. For to analyse the work of others in search of factual inaccuracies, one must make sure one's own nose is clean.

    ami

    I agree the post does need correcting regarding the Ians and the inferences therefrom. Linda: you say you do not comment on works you have not read: This would not be an insurmountable obstacle: You could, well, read it. If that was the only reason for not reviewing it.

    Linda Grant

    You asked me to comment on it here, on this site. I explained I was unable to do so as I had not read it. Of course were I to have accepted the commission to review it that would be another matter.

    ami

    I guess then the question was wrongly framed: I was curious if there was any interesting reason why you turned down the commission, twice. It is really none of my business, though.

    Linda Grant

    No particularly interesting reason. I was told that the book was more an 'angry polemic' than a family memoir and I'm not very interested in polemical works.

    Judy

    Hilariously, Ian Jack is even listed here on the Guardian's profile page for him as the paper's Middle Eastern Editor. I had thought its reputation for garbling copy through misprints had gone with its hot metal days, but no-- you have to look very closely to see that the words under his photo list Ian Black as the ME editor.

    I couldn't update my original post when I wrote my earlier comments at lunchtime--an iphone is terrific for keeping up with mail and key sites, and even writing comment responses. But good as the iphone version of the Typepad editor is, you'd need a lot more time and patience than I had to make a workable job of the necessary links for the update.

    Having said that, Ian Jack's pronouncements on Israel's policies in Hebron and the occupied territories reinforce my point about the common UK liberal media mindset that enables a work like Figes to get published by a supposedly reputable publisher and then get a platform on Start the Week. Here's a couple of quotes from his article on Hebron, written very recently:


    I suggested that to equate apartheid in South Africa with Israeli behaviour towards Palestinians in the occupied territories was still "a big step" for most people in Europe and North America. Really, I was talking of myself: it was a big step for me and one I was reluctant to take. Two days' experience of the West Bank didn't seem enough to reach such forthright condemnation, and yet the evidence was already abundant that Israel's behaviour towards its captive Palestinian population is profoundly racist, oppressive and unjust.......

    European guilt over Jewish history no longer seems a sufficient excuse. The comparison with apartheid may not be completely apposite, but that hardly matters. What is happening in Palestine is a great and tragic wrong.

    Leaving aside the fact that he also wrote an article suggesting we Londoners should move to Scotland if Boris got elected (has he?), the real point is that some key people at Granta must have read Figes' draft and thought it was fit for publication.They must have felt happy about its Israel-Nazi equations and about the array of totally tendentious and disreputable "evidence" she presented. And some key people at Start the Week must have felt exactly the same.

    In my view, that renders both outfits (and those whose names are listed as responsible at the time it was decided to publish Figes' book ) disreputable.

    Oh, and what pitiful outfits are they that will refuse even to provide a copy of a book gratis for Linda to review? It's extraordinary that there's even one organization ready to expect the reviewer to either purchase the book or write a review without reading it, but two? Goodness me.....

    ami

    Granta was one of the publishers who didn't cover themselves in glory when they backed off their deal to publish Richard Evan's book on Irving. Ironically, it was left to Tariq Ali's outfit, to publish it: see Nick Cohen's article on the affair:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2002/jun/16/politicalcolumnists.comment1

    Linda Grant

    I have absolutely no idea how you have come up with the notion that the publications concerned refused to provide a review copy.

    As I have said, ami asked me to comment on the book. I said I hadn't read it. Had I agreed to review it, they would of course have sent me a review copy.

    Indeed 'some people' at Granta commissioned the book; but as Ian Jack was the editor of the magazine, not the book imprint, it does not seem likely that it was him.

    The people you should really investigate are the Sunday Times which published extracts of the book over two successive weeks, this Sunday and last, and would have paid handsomely for it. Perhaps you should now peer into the political lineage of the editor and the status of News International and its proprietor, Rupert Murdoch.

    Linda Grant

    Here's the Sunday Times extract from Eva Figes' book, published two days ago
    http://tiny.cc/2wZxc

    Keeley O’Lomb

    It's a bit rich of Linda Grant to lecture others on keeping their noses clean after she was caught plagiarising in her 'award-winning' book about Israel.

    The reason she was so coy about Eva Figes is clear: like most Court Jews in the service of the BBC, The Guardian, The New Statesman, etc., Grant knows better than to bite the hand that feeds her.

    Inna

    Keeley--

    I have had (and still have) my share of disagreements with Linda about the BBC and other issues. However, she is anything but a Court Jew.

    Aside from her People on the Street, you may also want to check out

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/feb/18/comment.lindagrant

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/feb/18/comment.lindagrant

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/conflict-debate_97/boycott_2770.jsp

    or just google Linda Grant Israel and you will get loads of hits.

    Regards,

    Inna

    Kate

    I don't think anyone should be in the least surprised that this vile individual appeared as a guest on a programme hosted by Andrew Marr.

    From a piece at Stephen Pollard's blog which was posted on July 24, 2006 (this article originally appeared in The Times):

    "If you watched yesterday's Andrew Marr programme on BBC1, you would have seen a British TV landmark. To judge from its contents, the programme was the first to have been edited by the leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

    Most of it was, rightly, given over to the events in the Middle East. But of the four guests interviewed, not one had anything but bile to pour over Israel. Up first was Glenys Kinnock MEP, remarking how "heartening" it is that the Middle East minister, Kim Howells, has begun "a shifting of ground away from defence of Israel". Alongside her was Matthew Parris, who repeated the hostile views he has already made clear to Times readers. A Lebanese minister followed. Then Sir Menzies Campbell, a man whose entire career has been spent attacking Israeli policy, whatever it happens to be.

    All were treated with deference by Andrew Marr, as he invited them to honour us with their sagacity."

    http://tinyurl.com/4mtm3c

    See also an excellent piece posted by Adloyada in 2005:

    BBC plugs Robert Fisk's World View

    http://tinyurl.com/52zobw

    Linda Grant

    I am not coy about Eva Figes, I think Judy's analysis of her appearance on Start the Week was excellent, I don't have much to add. I still can't comment on her book because I haven't read it. As for being 'caught plagiarising', an accusation was made, but went no further than this and has been refuted by me in print.

    Noga

    About "Ostjuden"

    "I remember at one point coming across his collection of materials on anti-Semitism. There were certainly materials from Germany, but the focus of the collection and his own concerns was elsewhere: anti-Semitism was a problem associated with France; Germany in general was presented as the success story. This helps explain the strong self-assurance that German Jews of this golden era felt. They considered themselves Germans. And indeed, one of their faults was certainly a measure of hostility directed against their co-religionists. There were few slurs hurled more heavily by the German Jews who had arrived as those against the Ostjuden."

    http://harpers.org/archive/2007/07/hbc-90000464

    "Sabon":

    "Native-born Israelis used the word to mock Jewish refugees who came to the Jewish state after World War Two. Even today, "sabon" or soap in Hebrew is slang for "meek."

    Conscious of survivors' sensitivities, Israel Television changed the name of the 1970s American comedy show "Soap" to "Bubbles."

    http://www.heretical.com/holofun/shoah1.html

    In my experience, "sabon" was a harmless nickname for a person whose white skin did not respond well to the sun. My aunt, a Sephardic Jew, expected to be able to tan properly, used routinely to refer to herself as "Sabonit", when she returned from a day on the beach all red and peeling skin but no visible tan, which was the colour of "authentic sabras".

    "Yekke", btw, whatever its etymology, again in my experience, was never a slur but a descriptor of the befuddlement that born Israelis experienced when encountering German Jews, who had all sorts of rules for everything. Like, no calling or knocking on their doors between 2-4 in the afternoon, or insisting that parseley be cut with scissors, never chopped with a knife. They had a German accent and usually spoke flawless Hebrew. They were mild mannered and always courteous, and took great pains not to appear too snobbish vis a vis the more uncouth sabras.

    Imshin

    My mother-in-law, a Sephardi born in Tel Aviv in the 1930's, once told me that when she was a child all the taxi drivers in Tel Aviv were Yekkes and when one wanted to say about someone that he was well-mannered and polite they sometimes said he was like a taxi driver. Things have changed somewhat in that respect. No polite taxi drivers anymore.

    Imshin

    You must watch this skit -

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=alp9scMfmjA

    It's an Israeli classic from the early nineteen seventies- Arik Einstein and Uri Zohar in the Lool TV satire program - it shows how each Aliya disliked the one that followed, to put it mildly.

    You'll have no problem recognizing the Yekkes...

    I don't know if non-Israelis will find this amusing, but you can take my word for it - no Israeli can watch this without rolling about.

    Noga

    The great Uri Zohar.

    Thanks for this reminder. The hilarity of the piece is simply untranslatable, though not completely incomprehensible, for anyone who has some solid grasp of the history of Zionism in Israel.

    Judy

    My Tel-Aviv cousins in the sixties told me about German Jews and visiting German tourists who would turn their noses up at Israeli society and say' Bei uns in Deutschland war/ist alles viel besser" (Everything was/so much better back home in Germany). Not surprisingly, saying stuff like this to other Israelis riled the latter up no end....

    A sophisticated variant on this de haut en bas attitude was Hannah Arendt (a hyper-Yekke) whose attitude of utter disdain for the lead prosecutor in the 1962 Eichmann trial was based on what she saw as his "emotionalism" and "taste for high drama"-- another side of what Yekkes so despised in Ostjuden.

    My poor mother, She was actually born in Berlin, to a Yiddish speaking family from Galicia, so from her earliest childhood, she experienced the contempt of the German Jews around her for her as an Ostjude (her eldest brother denied that he knew Yiddish--his oldest son only realised that he must have done when I told him just a few years ago. Then when the Nazis came to power, she had the misfortune to have the same birthday as Hitler. Imagine it--despised and loathed by the Germans, equally despised and loathed by most of the Jews around her, and regarded as part of being to blame for Nazi anti-semitism--and then seeing huge Nazi parades on her birthday, with Nazi flags on display in all the flats of their non Jewish neighbours.

    I thought all the stuff about despising Ostjuden had died with the camps. But in the late 80s, I went to a group for Second Generation children of refugees and survivors--and heard a woman of my age talking about the attitudes and embarrassing behaviour of Ostjuden...

    And Figes recycles these attitudes, expressing her embarrassment that one of her relatives married one who was, she says, "true to type".

    Imshin

    In a Yiddish course I started but didn't finish a few years ago, the teacher told us that we were learning Lithuanian Yiddish and that Galician Yiddish was regarded as a corrupt dialect (or something along those lines), the lowest of the low, in short. Having Galician roots myself, that I am proud of (I'm a mixture, but the Galician roots gave me my maiden family name), I wasn't very happy with this apparent snobbery.

    So even among the Ostjuden themselves there was a lot of contempt for one another!

    Judy

    Oh, yes, there was a great deal of mutual dislike amongst Lithuanian and Galician Jews. The academic codification and study of Yiddish was started by Lithuanian Jews. So all the textbooks produced for Anglo learners offered Litvak pronunciation (eg bagels rather than beigels -- which is actually much closer to the original Viennese German where they started).

    These early Litvak Yiddishists then invested their own dialect with notions of correctness and you will find Litvak Yiddish being taught on all Yiddish courses. Bit like teaching the children of expat Londoners or Scousers to speak American English.

    Galitzianer Yiddish for ever!

    When my mother's brother married a Litvak Anglo Jewish woman, our family's reaction was-- couldn't he have married a nice refugee girl?

    But you can't compare the rivalry of equals represented by Litvak vs Galitzianer Yiddish with the attitude of German Jews to Ostjuden. Their attitude to them was really one of despising and contempt--and as for marrying one-- very much regarded as a source of shame and calamity.

    There's a lovely musical celebration of Litvak vs Galitzianer rivalry here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMuzdw5bZYk

    No way you'd ever have Yekke klezmer. A contradiction in terms.

    Roger

    To: y.alibhai-brown@independent.co.uk
    Subject: Your profound hate for Israel has no limits.

    Madam,

    What a miserable creep you are.

    Your profound hate for Israel knows no limits.
    Being your self a refugee from East Africa where your sort were considered " the Jews of East Africa" and expelled and dispossessed, you should have been more careful not to say fair in your caustic and venomous observations.

    What does Zimbabwe have to do with Israel but for your single minded hate for the latter.

    I quote:

    "What a terrible thing this ancestral loyalty is, and yet so powerful and pervasive. So, vociferously anti-Zionist Muslims damn Israel but will not condemn murderous Arabs in Darfur. Kinship ties the tongues of too many Jewish people around the world who should be speaking up against the systematic brutalisation by Israel of Palestinians in Gaza."

    Any comparison between the situation of Gaza Palestinians and Darfur or Zimbabwe is simply wrong.You may wish to consider that Jews and Israelis are free to criticize the policies of Israeli governments (and regularly do so) but may actually judge such policies on their merit.

    Expressing understanding for Israeli actions to defend her citizens from Gaza missiles and abominable terror acts cannot be reduced to simple "kinship" as the race-obsessed " as you viciously contend.

    Yours Sincerely,


    A fan of Judy

    Is there a reason Linda's book is not available at Amazon in the US?

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    Leon

    because israelis are terorrists.. tehy will not allow anything that goes against them. EVEN THOUGH IF THEY ARE RIGHT Man they killed more at least 16 innocent people. What the hell is this?

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