Divining the News (DTN)

Not Mainstream News

Memo to Jews – Mondoweiss

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I think he is pulling his punches, yet intellectually it is pretty savage and damning.

Brain drain, I doubt it. Israelis are imbued with patriotism even if they are happy to leave Israel they are still of assistance to the mother land. And any lacking of patriotism is tantamount to treason and such a person would be very lucky to be allowed to leave.

Anyway this is a very good read:

Memo to Jews

We’re in IQ freefall.

None of us can doubt that Jewish genius transformed the 20th century. Finance, science, psychiatry, media–do I really need to go through all that part?

Now we are in IQ freefall, for two reasons related to Zionism. 1, Israeli culture is altogether mediocre. 2, Diaspora culture is now reduced to arguing that black is white, i.e., that Israel is blameless. This exercise is not only a great insult to Jewish tradition, it is pointless.

1. I know literature. This weekend at my parents’ house I was reading Kafka’s letters to his first mistress, Felice Bauer. It goes without saying that Kafka transformed literature in the 20th century, and yes, Kafka was a cultural Zionist. He was caught up in the central-European movement in the 19-teens, even as he observed that the Zionists had small heads.

My point. Kafka was against political Zionism because he understood it would transform the Jewish presence in society. It would make Jews the administrators of a nation rather than inhabitants of one. I think he anticipated that Jewish nationalism would call on the worst aspects of Jewish society.

Kafka’s sense was correct. None of Israel’s cultural achievements is much to write home about. Everyone talks about David Grossman and Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua. I don’t know about Yehoshua and Grossman has always seemed pretty-darn-good, what I’ve read of him, but Oz (I’ve read his memoir) is just not that impressive. If he were writing in the States, he would have less of a reputation.

The sad truth is that Israeli culture is remarkable for the very quality that Kafka despised in administrative culture in Central Europe–its toughness, thuggery. Consider that Israel’s most famous contribution to world culture is Dana International, a transsexual singer who was launched to international stardom by the Eurovision song contest in 1998.  Kafka he/she ain’t.

I don’t mean to be making jokes here. This problem is actually inherent. Chas Freeman recently noted at a discussion of the two-state solution that all the smart Israelis are coming to New Jersey and all the messianic militaristic Jews are moving from Brooklyn to the West Bank. Jews like Diaspora life. The brain drain is a real problem for Israel.  –more–

Written by morris

March 11, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Posted in israel, Jews, Mondoweiss

Tagged with , ,

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