In Philip Roth's upcoming novel, The Plot Against America, Charles
Lindbergh defeats FDR in 1940. In real life, Lindbergh was part of the
America First Committee and along with some of its members blamed the
Jews for dragging the U.S. into a war with Nazi Germany.
In this work of historical fiction, and as President of The United
States, Lindbergh cozies up to Hitler putting Jews in this country in fear of
Out next week, and right before what seems now to be a close presidential election, the book is sure to draw all sorts of contemporary comparisons and analogies.
In fact, just earlier this summer the line between fiction and reality already started to blur with remarks by Senator Ernest Hollings.
The South Carolina Democrat asserted in a column, that the U.S. war against Iraq was due to three Jews, led by Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Charles Krauthammer.
With such foot-in-mouth disease reminiscent of Lindbergh's Des Moines Speech, is it any wonder that many Jews fear a rekindling of ancient stereo-types, take offense and even distance themselves from a Democratic Party who has one of its leading Senators making such a statement?
Perhaps it should be no surprise that Jews have moved rightward in the last few years, because so many on the far Left have blackballed Jews due to their support of Israel.
Anyone who was at an anti-war rally last year witnessed it. Rallies sponsored by ANSWER, such as the one in Washington and elsewhere, demonstrated a barrage of slogans, banners and speeches that were one-sidedly hostile to Israel.
Part of the current leaning by Jews away from the Left is due to such events. Likewise, much of the support for President Bush by Jews is due to his War on Terror.
But the current re-evaluation by Jews towards the Left has deeper roots.
Since the days of The Enlightenment, many of the liberal voices (whether Voltaire or Diderot to name two), were also many of the loudest anti-Semites and some of the worst enemies to the Jews.
Reflecting on the history of anti-Semitism at the time of The Enlightenment, Hannah Arendt points out in her book, The Origins Of Totalitarianism, "They saw in them (Jews) as the backward remnants of the Dark Ages, and they hated them as financial agents of the aristocracy."
Because of their close relationship to state sources of power, the Jews were invariably identified with power. Therefore, those on who were rebelling against those in power would associate Jews with their oppressors.
Look, many of the old Bolsheviks were disproportionately Jewish. But after Lenin's death, the regime took a decidedly anti-Semitic turn and Stalin pretty much killed off the old Bolsheviks meaning he killed off
Sadly it's an old familiar story. Now and because of their support for
Israel, Jews have again been threatened.
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It's not just Fritz Hollings who's spreading canards and twisting facts.
In a cruel use of iconic manipulation, Palestinians and the many radical groups who support them post the swastika next to The Star of David equating them. In a column earlier this year in The Los Angeles Times, Walter Reich, the former Director of the U.S. Holocaust Museum pointed out, " ... if the public could be convinced that Israel is no better than Nazi Germany,
then the anti-Semites could again be back in business."
For many Jews going to the polls in November, they must wonder if the
same long-standing enemies of Israel, are also the enemies of The United
States due to its support of The Jewish State.
It will be interesting to see the debate swirl over Roth's corrosive satire.
But what will be even more fascinating, is the novel will be appearing during a nastily contested presidential election. One with many Jewish voters torn between President Bush's War on Terror and his support for Israel, and their longstanding, traditional loyalty to leftwing ideals
personofied by The Democratic Party.