All Holocaust All the Time 5
The NYT Book Review had the Holocaust on the cover for The Lost, but it also figured prominently in the review of Supermob. Rich Cohen, who wrote the Supermob review, has my number. He wrote:
The Holocaust bought the Jews 60 years of protection, six decades in which it was taboo to suggest that a Jewish conspiracy, with its dirty tentacles everywhere, had the system in its grip. After news of the camps spread across America, the Ivy League colleges relaxed quotas, the white-shoe firms started hiring, the country clubs let Jews on the greens. People suddenly realized that if, in less than a decade, the Jewish members of the most sophisticated society in the world could be isolated, stripped of property and killed en masse, perhaps they had not been so powerful after all.
Well, 60 years are up.
So here we go!
Hey, this is what George Allen was banking on when he became Jewish to avoid being called a racist.
On the continuing omnipresence of the Holocaust itself, the review of The Lost has an interesting comment:
Consider, for example, his commentary on the commentaries on the story of Lot’s wife, who was warned not to look back on the fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Of course she does turn around and is turned into a pillar of salt. Mendelsohn believes sages like Rashi and other commentators miss the emotional appeal and peril of the backward glance. But Mendelsohn sees the episode as a warning that “regret for what we have lost, for the pasts we have to abandon, often poisons any attempt to make a new life.” For those compelled to look “back at what has been, rather than forward into the future,” he writes, “the great danger is tears, the unstoppable weeping that the Greeks … knew was not only a pain but a narcotic pleasure, too: a mournful contemplation so flawless so crystalline, that it can, in the end, immobilize you.”
It’s a sentiment that can seem like a challenge to his entire enterprise. But Mendelsohn also seems to suggest that we can’t look forward until we look back, until we know how we came to be who we are — until we know what we have lost. He tries to look back — to see the horror of annihilation — through the eyes of the single family he has brought back to life.
But maybe Genesis had it right. Maybe you should look forward instead of back. If so, then today’s Jews risk being turned into a giant pillar of salt. The thrust of both of these comments is that some Jews are getting the message that it’s time to move on from the Holocaust, but they are having a hard time doing it.