Letters to the Guardian: Moral obligation and Jewish identity
I am on the Guardian's letters section today
Blogger Andy Newman (Comment, 26 September) misrepresented my views.
My latest book, The Wandering Who?, is a study of Jewish identity politics. How to define a Jew is a loaded topic since Jews define themselves in many different ways, some contradictory, and use those definitions to try to achieve political aims. And yet not many people dare to touch upon these subjects for fear of being accused of antisemitism. To paraphrase what I say in my book, "An antisemite used to be someone who hates Jews; nowadays an antisemite is someone Jews hate."
My argument is that since Israel defines itself as the "Jewish state" and it also drops bombs on innocent civilians from aeroplanes decorated with Jewish symbols, it is my moral obligation to grasp what Jewishness and Jewish identity stand for.
Just a few days ago Britain amended its universal jurisdiction laws in response to pressure mounted by the Israeli lobby. In my book I attempt to examine the complex relationships between Israel and the diaspora. I try to grasp the philosophy and ideology at the heart of Israeli lobbying. But I also insist that each of us has the right to express his or her opinion on the subject without being censored, bullied or intimidated by charges of antisemitism.It is very disappointing to see a newspaper renowned for its egalitarian stance publishing, without checking, the unsubstantiated rantings of self-interested campaigners.
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