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Gentleman's Agreement.

 I stayed up last night to watch for another time Gentleman's Agreement.  The Academy Award winning movie from 1947 was based upon Laura Hobson's great novel about Anti-Semitism.  The host of the program stated, and I think that he's mistaken, that it was the first major Hollywood production to state the word Jew.  The reason that I think that he is mistaken is because The Great Dictator came out 6 years earlier.  Even if he made this minor mistake, his point is well taken.

I'm can get obsessed by the topic of Anti-Semitism.   It's not because I'm religious,  I'm not.  Whenever I experience it, it's like someone kicked me in the gut.

I wasn't always this way.  Incidents that happened as a child, which at the time I didn't recognize as Anti-Semitism I now realize were.  Times that my friends and I were chased out of non-Jewish neighborhoods,  I thought of as sort of a "turf" thing,  I now realize was something different.

The first time that I recognized blatant Anti-Semitism was working in London in the summer of 1976.  My co-worker told me how much he hated the Jews.  It turned out that he didn't know any Jewish people.  His favorite musical act was Simon and Garfunkel, and he didn't know that they were Jewish.    He was just ignorant.

Later that year a similar comment was made to me by a "friend" in college.   This so called friend, whose wife's maiden name was Silverstein, later that year yelled through the dorm halls that "All Jews should be put in ovens."   Ironically this was a line that I recently overheard on the street of Forest Hills.

I've come into contact with it periodically since then.  I've had clients make comments, not realizing that I was Jewish. Most recently I've come into contact with it on Live Journal.  People, on a Political site,  defending the words of Lindbergh, Ahmadinajad and even Hitler.  I reacted differently then I would have when I was younger.  I argued back.  
Not that it did any good.

I'm not smart enough to know the answer.  I just know that I can't sit by quietly anymore.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 19th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC)
*rueful look* I wasn't surprised to see the defense of Buchanan, I was expecting that, but the defense of Lindbergh and Hitler certainly came as a surprise...

Gentleman's Agreement is definitely a terrific movie–it was one of the first movies I rented from Netflix when I joined this past Spring!
Jul. 19th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
Did you ever read the book?
Jul. 19th, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
I haven't, actually. I take it that I should?
Jul. 19th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
It's a great book. a few years ago there was a list of the top 100 Books of the past century. This was on it. Unfortunately Ulysses was # 1, I couldn't make it past the beginning.
Jul. 19th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
*laughs* Yes, I had the same problem was Ulysses. (A book I usually mentally associate with Allan Sherman's Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh ("And the head coach wants no sissies. So he reads to us from something called Ulysses.")

I'll definitely look for Laura Hobson's novel in the library next week!
Jul. 19th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
Funny, I was just listening to Allan Sherman's greatest hits the other day.
Jul. 19th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
I work in a little grocery in a very jewish neighborhood, but my boss isint jewish and on my second day working for him i realized how steeped in anti-semetism he is. The hasidic women come in the store and if their debit cards dont work for some reason he bitches and complains about them trying to charge 2 chili peppers on their cards and how they come in his store only when they see that he has a sign that says Pineapples 99 Cents. But thats why anyone would come in his store, because he advertises crazy deals on the sidewalk. Im not jewish, but he doesnt know that, i could very well be jewish. He says tons of other ridiculous shit along the same lines, and its insane because like a third of his customers are hasidic jews, it seems wild to me. Ive never come in contact with such blatent anti semetism before.
Jul. 19th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
It's all over the place. It's not only against the Jews, that's just what I'm tuned into.
Jul. 19th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
You are lucky to have encountered antisemitism so late in life One of my early experiences growing up in NJ was being knifed by a Ukrainian gang of 9 year olds in 1957 (I was six) after they were taught that old canard 'Jews killed Jesus' in catechism. And, when the police officer came to our home after I came home from the hospital, he stood in front of my parents and me and said, 'Now you people don't want to make no trouble now.' I remember that as clear today as then.
Jul. 19th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
I grew up in a very Jewish neighborhood. It still astonishes me. Did you see the post that I was referring to? The author of the post handled it far better than I. Obviously a very bright guy. I was glad to have him on my side.
Jul. 19th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
BTW, GREAT movie!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )



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