Friday, August 26, 2011

Jews with force

Roger Cohen used the following fragments of dialogue from Philip Roth's novel Deception to bookend his recent New York Times opinion piece on anti-Semitism and Jewish identity.

The novel's protagonist, a middle-aged American writer, is speaking to his English lover.

"In England, whenever I'm in a public place, a restaurant, a party, the theater, and someone happens to mention the word 'Jew', I notice that the voice always drops just a little... [That's how] you all say 'Jew'. Jews included."

When he returns to New York, he tells her that he has realized he had been missing something. What? she asks.


"We've got some of them in England, you know."

"Jews with force, I'm talking about. Jews with appetite. Jews without shame."

Nicely observed. (Sits uneasily, by the way, with Cohen's worthy but rather contorted reflections.)