David Markson’s Anti-Semites: Henry Miller

In his novel Reader’s Block from 1996 David Markson shuffles together bits of pieces of fun facts, sad facts and other information about authors, artists and philosophers and combine this with quotes from the same range of sources. One of the repeated motives is anti-semitism in sentences which goes like «he-and-she was an anti-semite». These are never explained more, so I will collect some more information about the background of these people’s opinions.

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Screen dump from David Markson’s Reader’s Block
 

«As the Brooklyn-born son of first-generation German-American Catholics, Miller grew up in a time and place where resentment of the Jews who were overrunning the borough was typical if not ubiquitous. In his career as a writer and in his letters to friends and colleagues, Miller committed to paper plenty of awful anti-Semitic slurs. But he also doted on his Jewish wife (whom he referred to, at times, as “the Jewish cunt”), had dozens of Jewish friends (some of whom he loathed), fantasized about having unknown Jewish ancestors, and adored Yiddish literature—not only the lionized Isaac Bashevis Singer but also figures much less widely known in English, like the humorist Moyshe Nadir.» (From Tablet Magazine)

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Screen dump from Mary V. Dearborn’s introduction to Miller’s novel Crazy Cock

Badiou And Hazan: Anti-Semitism, War On Terror, Israel

Presentation from the publisher (Verso):

“Dissecting how facile accusations of “anti-Semitism” are used to stifle dissent.

Since the inception of the “War on Terror”, Israel has become increasingly important to Western imperial strategy and ever more aggressive in its policies towards the Palestinians.  A key ideological weapon in this development is the cynical and unjustified accusation of ‘anti-Semitism’ to silence protest and dissent.

For historical reasons, this tactic has been deployed most forcefully in France, and in the first of the two essays in this book French writers Alain Badiou and Eric Hazan demolish the ‘anti-Semitism is everywhere’ claim used to bludgeon critics of the Israeli state and those who stand in solidarity with the banlieue youth.
In “The Philo-Semitic Reaction”, Ivan Segré undertakes a meticulous deconstruction of a rampant reactionary trend that identifies Jewish interests with the ‘democratic’ West.  Segré’s aim is to uphold a universalist position and to defend Jewish tradition from Zionist ideological distortion.”

Comments by Tablet magazine:

“As for the much-discussed rise in anti-Semitic activity among French Arab youths, Badiou and Hazan were equally dismissive. They allowed that since 2001 hate crimes aimed at French Jews have increased. Moreover, they acknowledged that the criminals were frequentlybeurs—the slang term for French youths of North African origin. But, the writers warned, the media, influenced by a loose association of Jewish intellectuals, have dramatically distorted the numbers and nature of these acts. This “opération de stigmatisation” aimed at young French Muslims, the authors argued, was at the heart of a massive public relations campaign led by these intellectuals. Whether the Arabs live in the decaying suburbs of Paris or the devastated villages of the West Bank, Badiou and Hazan claimed, they have all been transformed by these Jewish intellectuals into a single barbarian horde, against which the West is pitted.

The small book lit up the blogosphere and led to a widely watched televised debate in March among Badiou, Hazan, and Finkielkraut on the popular television show Ce Soir ou Jamais(Tonight or Never). Within minutes, however, it became clear that a calm and candid conversation was not to be. The participants quickly fell to finger-jabbing accusations and insults—all of it in impeccable French sprinkled with literary and philosophical references. It was as if Jerry Springer had choreographed a session of the Académie Française. While the guests did not leap for one another’s throats, the evening nevertheless ended as it started: with each side persuaded that the other simply refused to listen to reason.”