I’ve devoted quite a few melchett mike inches over the past month, since the start of the war in Gaza, to the self-hating Jews: Harold Pinter, Gideon Levy, Alexei Sayle, and, most despicable of all, Gerald Kaufman. But I have just come across an interview, in last week’s Jewish Chronicle, with the British Jewish actor, writer and director, Steven Berkoff, who made the following observations . . .
“England is not a great lover of its Jews. Never has been. The English way of life is culturally rather refined if not effete. There is a slight distaste of the foreigner. There is an inbuilt dislike of Jews. Overt antisemitism goes against the British sense of fair play. It has to be covert and civilised. So certain playwrights and actors on the left wing make themselves out to be stricken with conscience. They say: ‘We hate Israel, we hate Zionism, we don’t hate Jews.’ But Zionism is the very essence of what a Jew is. Zionism is the act of seeking sanctuary after years and years of unspeakable outrages against Jews. As soon as Israel does anything over the top it’s always the same old faces who come out to demonstrate. I don’t see hordes of people marching down the street against Mugabe when tens of thousands are dying every month in Zimbabwe. They quite like diversity and will tolerate you as long as you act a bit gentile and don’t throw your chicken soup around too much. You are perfectly entitled occasionally even to touch the great prophet of British culture, Shakespeare, as long as you keep your Jewishness well zipped up. As long as you speak like us and get rid of your accent you are perfectly acceptable. In Spain, they used to call these people marranos — secret Jews. Well, I’ve never been secret.”
Mr. Berkoff, as they say in these parts, kol hakavod (respect) . . . ata totach (literal translation “you are a cannon”, but really meaning that you are a top bloke!)