Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: Anne Karpf : '<i>The Children Of The Holocaust ... </i>'

07 February 2007

Anne Karpf : 'The Children Of The Holocaust ... '

I've just been talking on the phone to an aunt in Israel - a Holocaust survivor like my mother. After swapping news about the family, the subject of the Middle East came up.

Though our views sometimes overlap they also differ because, despite her strong criticism of the current Israeli government and despair over their incursion last year into Lebanon, she's ultimately a passionate defender of the state.

Our conversation was heated but never less than amicable: what struck me was how long it is since I've had such a vigorous exchange of views about the Middle East with other Jews in Britain with whom I disagree that didn't end with me being accused of something - from being self-hating, to undermining the very future of Judaism.
That wasn't either of one of us 'speaking' -- it was Anne Karpf.

She's a popular accomplished columnist in the (Saturday), Guardian's Family section, as well as a writer and broadcaster. She's also the author of the 'The Human Voice' (2006).

We like her.

Here's the header from Anne's piece from which we borrowed the bit we began with, above.
Children of the Holocaust

The more the Israeli government claims to act on behalf of all Jews, the more I feel obliged to make my dissenting voice heard.

February 7, 2007 04:00 PM
Did we mention how much we admire Anne?

Here's something else she has to say.

I draw inspiration from the long Jewish tradition of fighting for human rights, other people's as well as one's own: Jews have been prominent in virtually every major modern movement for civil rights and social equality.

I also refuse the idea of "our civil rights versus theirs", as though justice for Israelis and Palestinians were not only divisible but also mutually exclusive.

This is a form of polarisation beloved by those unwilling to expose their arguments to counter-evidence, who prefer slogans to dialogue, and who promote a false idea of winners and losers.

In my view this formulation has played a significant part in perpetuating the conflict in the Middle East.
Like we said -- we like this lady -- a lot.

We recommend accessing all of Anne's remarkable article here, so as to see for yourself if you rate her as highly as we do.



Anonymous dave said...

Though I'd never heard of this lady before, I can see why you like her -- and why others wouldn't.

She's a brave woman alright, though it's clear she's had the 'self loathing' insult thrown at her before and seems able to treat such abuse with the contempt it so deserves. All power to her elbow -- and to others like her. The truth will walways out - in the end.

12:52 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've met her. She's one of the best.

1:37 am  
Anonymous whoever said...

It's good to hear such frankness and honesty from someone so close to the subject. Their is a big difference between being a Jew and being an Israeli.

9:33 am  
Blogger bootlian said...

And today I see another (British)Jewish woman (Professor Jaqueline Rose) has spoken out through the Guardian. Such honesty can only make things better for all reasonable and unindoctrinated people where ever they may be.

There is one charge against Jews who criticise Israel that seems to me particularly misguided, and that is the charge that we are self-hating Jews. Whenever confronted with this challenge, I am always inclined to ask: "What kind of Jew do you want me to be?"

Jacqueline Rose is Professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London, and one of the steering committee of Independent Jewish Voices. She writes and lectures on literature, psychoanalysis and politics.

You can read Professor Rose's full piece here.

Her publications include The Haunting of Sylvia Plath (Virago, 1991), the novel, Albertine (Chatto, 2001), On Not Being Able to Sleep - Psychoanalysis and the Modern World (Chatto, 2003), The Question of Zion (Princeton, 2005) and The Last Resistance (Verso, forthcoming in May).

1:40 pm  
Anonymous Rosemary said...

This is a very welcome entry, Richard.

Since there is extreme conflict over this issue within my own family which I have been unwilling to even try to breach, I especially welcome something like this.

2:28 pm  
Anonymous martha said...

You too Rosemary?

Same here.

3:10 pm  
Anonymous mo said...

Here we go again - bash Israel at every opportunity. Do your worst. Who cares? Who needs you?!

3:14 pm  
Anonymous Rex said...

It's noticable that no anti-semite slurs have appeared yet Or maybe Richard's blocking any made. Then again maybe in view of this piece even the worst offenders realise how stupid (and disingenous), it would now be.

4:29 pm  
Anonymous musings said...

I think everyone realizes how close to the brink of destruction Israel has lately come, as a result of its intransigence towards Palestinians, its spoilt attitude due to cowardly favors given by Americans in Congress, and its assaults on Lebanon. Even now Americans are beginning to cry foul about the anti-personnel devices with Made in USA on them, scattered in Lebanon.

To top it off, the neocons are in bad odor (what with the Scooter Libby trial and the spy cases of some months past). Rumsfeld was sent packing, and Cheney is in jeopardy of being asked to resign the Vice Presidency (if Bush can be prevailed upon by the Iraq Study Group types).

All of this means that debate is good and alive and well. One is not a self-hating Jew for wanting to survive when others are into high stakes brinksmanship as well as, quite frankly, the choice of military force over humanity in their dealings with others. I expect it is time for Venus to occlude Mars. Not a moment too soon.

1:44 am  
Blogger Richard said...


A group of prominent British Jews have launched an organization to
counterbalance what they perceive as uncritical support of Israel by major Jewish institutions in the UK. The organization, called Independent Jewish Voices, or IJV, includes well-known public figures in Britain's Jewish community, including Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter and fashion designer
Nicole Farhi. We go to London to speak with two of the groupĀ¹s members.

More - Via Democracy Now.

10:09 pm  
Anonymous Anne said...

Thank you.

2:34 pm  
Anonymous nlev said...

Reading these things is like a breath of fresh air. These good people (many I note being women) should be proud of themselves not ashamed, and certainly not vilified.

2:42 pm  
Anonymous J. R. said...

My thanks also.

3:04 pm  
Anonymous david i said...

Proud? Of what? Treachery?

4:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't resist it can you Brit?

8:11 pm  

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