Sunday, May 18, 2014

Gentlemen's Agreement

Laura Z. (Zametkin) Hobson wrote Gentlemen's Agreement in 1946. It hit the movie screens in 1947.

The plot centers on a magazine assignment to a Christian reporter to write about anti-Semitism. After much consideration, he decides to live as a Jew for six months. The novel  reminds us now of the fact that not only was there embarrassingly, shockingly overt anti-Semitism around then, even after World War 2, but that people often wouldn't admit it. There existed many hotels and country clubs in the USA at the time that would not allow Jewish clients.

The sad thing, however, is that Jewish jokes still exist. And there are different kinds of anti-Semitism around today in the USA. There is the kind that hails from the right wing, often from small towns in which they have never seen Jews. There is the variety that emanates from certain left wing organizations who purport to be angry at Israel for allowing settlements on Palestinian land and for not allowing Palestinians equal rights in the camps and in the cities of Israel. Somehow when we hear a non-Jew declaiming with vehemence about Jews in Israel and in the settlements, it makes us feel uncomfortable, even though we may easily hold similar views.

Are the newer varieties of anti-Semitism easier to deal with? I myself don't think so.

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