I MUST copy this over from Amazon on this book I am reading. 'Jewcentricity'. Two names: Shabtai Tzvi & John Nelson Darby.
Advance Praise for Jewcentricity
"Adam Garfinkle punctures the myth of the omnipotence of the Jews with such intelligence and reflective sweep that we still can go on discussing the 'exaggerations' forever." —Leslie H. Gelb, former columnist for the New York Times and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations
"Jews, as the saying goes, are news. Why is that? In this elegant, witty, learned, insightful, always interesting, and occasionally alarming book, Adam Garfinkle explains the world's fascination with the practitioners of its oldest mono-theistic religion." —Michael Mandelbaum, author of Democracy's Good Name: The Rise and Risks of the World's Oldest Form of Government
"One would have thought that everything that could be written or said about the relationship between Jews and their environment has been written and said. It was a pleasure, though hardly a surprise, that Adam Garfinkle, thinker, scholar, editor, and iconoclast at large, has been able to offer us fresh insights into this complex issue and apply his original mind to the subject matter." —Itamar Rabinovich, former Israeli ambassador to the United States and former president of Tel-Aviv University
"There is a lot to argue about and ponder in this riveting manuscript. It is bound to cause a stir." —Robert D. Kaplan, author of The Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite
"One way of looking at this brilliant book is to see it as an extended commentary on an old joke that defines a philo-Semite as an anti-Semite who likes Jews. Garfinkle shows, with many examples, what both characters have in common—a wildly exaggerated notion of the importance of Jews in the world. Garfinkle's argument is scholarly, lucid, witty, and very persuasive. It deserves a wide readership." —Peter L. Berger, director, Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University
Amazon-Exclusive Interview of Author Adam Garfinkle by Walter Russell Mead
Adam M. Garfinkle is the founding editor of the American Interest, a bimonthly magazine on politics and public affairs. Prior to that he was speechwriter for both Colin Powell and then Condoleezza Rice. He's also been a professor at John Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Tel Aviv University. Walter Russell Mead the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, is the author of Mortal Splendor and Special Providence, which won the Lionel Gelber Award for best book on international affairs in English for the year 2002, and God and Gold: Britain, America and the Making of the Modern World (2007). He is a contributing editor to The Los Angeles Times; has written for The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker; and is a regular reviewer of books on the United States for Foreign Affairs. Mr. Mead also lectures regularly on American foreign policy. He lives in New York City.
Mead: So much has been written and said about anti-Semitism over the years, but you are proposing a different kind of discussion about it. Could you explain that?
Garfinkle: Jewcentricity is not the same as anti-Semitism. Not all exaggerations about Jews are negative and not all are propagated by non-Jews. Jewcentricity aligns along a simple two-by-two matrix: positive and negative, Jewish and non-Jewish. Classical anti-Semitism fills only one of the four quadrants suggested by the matrix. My argument is that all four quadrants tend to goad and feed on one another, so that it becomes impossible to really understand anti-Semitism without taking the bigger picture into consideration. Too many Jews exaggerate how much anti-Semitism there really is, especially in the United States. It is a Jewcentric conceit to think everyone hates you; but worse, expressing this exaggeration tends to cause what it fears. There are some secular Jewish organizations in the United States that make a living doing this and, in tandem, reifying the Holocaust as a tool in that effort, as if that and similar disasters are the only things worth remembering about Jewish history. This sort of behavior does net harm, and exemplifies what I mean by one kind of Jewcentricity goading and feeding on the others.
Mead: To what extent are global attitudes toward Israel, both positive and negative, really just reflections of this fascination with Jews that goes back for thousands of years?
Garfinkle: To a considerable extent, I think. The widespread belief in Europe and, to a lesser degree, here in the United States that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the be-all and end-all of every problem throughout the Middle East and even beyond, and that Israel must bear the brunt of its solution, is a residual effect of Jews having been the most prominent “other” in European history. This belief is false, and can lead to ineffective and even counterproductive policies. Another example: The importation of 19th and 20th century European anti-Semitism into the Muslim world over the past eight to ten decades has set such deep roots because of old Jewcentric folk prejudices that go back to the early years of Islam. Another: The Emir of Bahrain recently appointed one of only 37 Bahraini Jews to be his ambassador to the United States, and a while back the Turkish government closened relations with Israel in the expectation that the Jewish lobby in America would help the Turks against the Greek and Armenian lobbies, all because of a centuries’ old perception about the outsized power of Hofjuden, court Jews. And one more example, an important one: Massive support for Israel here in the United States goes back in part to the highly philo-Semitic attitudes of our Founders, and here I mean not only the Puritans of New England, who wanted to create a Biblical Commonwealth in a new Promised Land, but also the “low-Church” Scots-Irish who are the ancestors of most of today’s very pro-Israel Evangelicals.
Mead: A well-known Jewish lawyer once turned to me at a dinner party and, apparently thinking I was Jewish, told me not to be deceived: that all the gentiles were anti-Semites. What about philo-Semites, I asked, gentiles who expressed pro-Jewish views. “A philo-Semite,” he said, “is an anti-Semite who likes Jews.” You don’t go that far, but you do seem concerned about some ‘pro-Jewish’ as well as some anti-Semitic ideas. What’s that about?
Garfinkle: Well, your tale illustrates the Jewcentric conceit I mentioned a moment ago. It’s not true that all gentiles are anti-Semites; most people, thankfully, have better things to do than waste time obsessing about Jews one way or the other. But there is something to the peculiar locution you quote that a philo-Semite is an anti-Semite who likes Jews, just, in a way, that an alcoholic can both hate and love a bottle of booze. Some philo-Semites are anti-Semites in the sense that dispensationalist theology holds that the Jews are vehicles for the Second Coming, but if you examine their end-of-days beliefs about the Rapture and such, it turns out that nearly all the Jews end up dead. Some Evangelicals seem to revere Jews as an abstract theological category, but have problems with individual flesh-and-blood Jews unless they convert to Christianity. I think that’s what your lawyer acquaintance meant. I also worry a little about non-Jews who, for reasons known only to themselves, parrot the more common tropes of Jewish chauvinism. Some Jews get the idea of the Chosen People wrong, interpreting it in bloodline or narrow national political terms that have nothing to do with the mission of a people charged with spreading ethical monotheism. When non-Jews buy into that it makes me nervous. There are already too many Jews preening, exaggerating and misunderstanding Jews’ supposed intelligence, domestic political clout, domination of Hollywood, and so on; we don’t need outside assistance with this—you should pardon please the touch of sarcasm.
Mead: What do you care if Madonna thinks she's Jewish?
Garfinkle: Madonna does not think she’s Jewish exactly; she is not a convert to Judaism, and she knows it. She thinks she’s a kabbalist, an adept of Jewish mysticism, but without the Jewish foundation that makes this even imaginable. She nonetheless has taken a Hebrew name and has styled herself during some recent visits to Israel as an ambassador for Judaism. If this sounds confused, it’s because it is. Madonna has been fed a line of dime-store therapy, and swallowed whole; but that’s her business. It matters to me because we now live in a post-rabbinic world, in the sense that most Jews no longer adhere to the system of communal authority and discipline that kept them a unitary people in exile since the First Century of the Common Era. Charlatans and heretics beyond the purveyors of faux-kaballah could have a field day distorting the traditions of rabbinic Judaism to the point that the real thing could be overwhelmed, and the identity of Jewish civilization itself destroyed. As I say in the book, just imagine what Shabtai Tzvi, the 17th century false messiah who caused so much pain and trouble, could have done with the Internet.
Mead: You make a strong case about a set of ideas and obsessions that have deep historical and cultural roots. Looking forward, what should the Jews expect? Will things get better, worse, or will it just be more of the same?
Garfinkle: My hope, of course, is that everyone just relax, get a grip, and stop these infernal, mutually reinforcing exaggerations. But I know that’s not going to happen. In some ways, as I describe in the book, Jewcentricity is spreading in all its forms courtesy of the virtual world that has lately been superimposed on the material one. There have been Jewcentric episodes in the past in the absence of actual Jewish communities—in Puritan New England, in early 20th century Japan, and in a few other cases. But now conspiratorial and otherwise unhinged eclectic images of Jews are zooming around the world at near light speed, alighting in scores of places where there are not and never have been significant Jewish communities. This leads me to suspect that Jewcentricity is, unfortunately, a growth industry. Whether it will be positive in the main or negative depends, I think, on how the trials and tribulations of global capitalism work out. Jews have long been associated in the eyes of many as the avatars of “creative destruction,” whether in league with the 17th and 18th century Dutch, the 18th and 19th century British, or the 20th century Americans. Images of Jews as shadowy movers and shakers of high finance is hardwired into the imagination of our planet, for reasons with at least some frail historical basis. At this point, I would not want to hazard a prediction about whether things will look up, or not. That, certainly, is way above my pay grade.
A wise and wide-ranging explanation of never-ending exaggeration-by both philo-Semites and anti-Semites-about the Jews
Hamas blames the financial crisis on Jews. Mel Gibson blamed all the wars on Jews. Jews win a disproportionate number of Nobel prizes. Dishy Danish citizen Scarlett Johansson is Jewish, Madonna is into Jewish mysticism, and some claim that Abe Lincoln was Jewish. Who cares? Nearly everyone, it seems. If it's about Jews, it's news. Adam Garfinkle looks deeply into the world's obsession with Jews, positive as well as negative, to find answers about where it comes from and where it might be going. He identifies four categories of exaggeration about Jews: positive bias by Jews and non-Jews, and negative bias by Jews and non-Jews. Combining insights from history, sociology, religion, and international politics, he explains how a misunderstanding of strategies that have kept the Jewish Diaspora going for millennia have led to distortions about Jewish influence, intelligence, and success-and to charges of chauvinism, financial manipulation, and conspiratorial lever-pulling.
Adam Garfinkle (Washington, DC) is the founding editor of the American Interest, a bimonthly magazine on politics and public affairs. Formerly a speechwriter for both Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, Garfinkle has taught international relations at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Tel Aviv University. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
'Copenhagen' by Michael Frayn, directed by Cara M. Tucker'12. The play is still on at Murray Hall in Princeton. Go see it!
When I first picked up Copenhagen, I got extremely excited -- I read it in one go on the floor of the B&N near my house, simply because I couldn't look up long enough to get myself a chair. I didn't get it. So I read it again. I still didn't get it. By then I knew I needed to direct it. I could happily spend the rest of my life working with this play, trying to figure it out.
What you're hearing as you take your seat is a hodgepodge of very specific radio broadcasts, propaganda, advertisements, and music from both sides of WWII. What you're seeing absolutely refuses to ground itself in history. In every instant, Copenhagen concerns itself with both the most high-flung intellectual principles and with the rawest, most visceral aspects of the human experience. Frayn's play knocks me over on a daily basis - and a large part of its power lies with its ability to be everywhere at once, to grow gray areas that blot out all the black and white I took for granted. I mean, if there's a war with a good guy and a bad guy, it's World War II. Right?
I don't hink I could really explain what I wanted to do with this show if I tried -- besides, my hope is that it never does just one thing. And I'd honestly rather spend my time thanking a few of the hands that shaped what goes on this stage tonight, so I'll leave the rest of my Copenhagen interpretation uncertain [ insert rimshot/groans here] ...
Jenn Onofrio (Margrethe) is a graduate student in the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs, but once upon a time she acted in high school, college, summer stock and regional theatre. Favorites include the Laramie Project ( Reggie and about 7 other roles), The Halfway Diner (Mrs. Tucker), Bye,Bye Birdie (Kim) and Annie Get Your Gun (Annie). To break the third-person narrative: huge thanks to Cara for trusting me with the role of Margrethe despite a 7-year absence from the stage, and to real-life husband Jon for always pushing me to do more.
Brad Wilson '13 (Werner Heisenberg) is thrilled to be in his third Intime show ( last seen as something completely different in the Tempest). He is very grateful that he got to go to Germany recently so he could learn how to pronounce all the Deutsch names in Dr. Frayn's script. He likes pencils, Richard Nixon impressions, Frist chairs, brown suits, and Cara Tucker. He says hello to his sister who knows only a little more physics than he does, to remind her that he loves her very much. Many thanks to all those who make the world go'round, including but not limited to Cara, Amy, Josh, Jen, Aryeh, the man at the center of the universe (whoever he is) and the Singing Fellows Coalition.
Josh Zeitlin '11 (Niels Bohr) is a Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. Bohr mentored and collaborated with many of the top physicists of the century at his institute in Copenhagen. He was part of a team of physicist working on the Manhattan Project.
Cara Tuckers '12 (Director) is not small, she is highly concentrated. Her actors play catch with her sometimes. Most recently, when she moved about of her own volitin, she directed Raffi Grinberg's 'Battle of Brunkenburg' for the 24-hour Play festival at Intime, acted as Production Manager for PSC's production of As You Like It, and appeared as Marianne in Moliere's The Miser, again through PSC. She is also on the Intime Board, which keeps her sane(ish).
It just occurred to me if virgule trust matrix can implement self-split, in this concrete case, once nodes inside one community decided to kick the spammer out with its supporter but instead of killing them the mother matrix should split and make a copy of trust-matrix, reverse all its certs so that the spammer & hjclub become the Other independent Universe on their own with two offending nodes as root seeds. That's almost like to say goodbye with a good gesture: 'May Force be with you Amen'.
Happy New Year! Chuck Moore has a web blog! YEH! "All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.
Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.
If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!