Poor Phillip Adams. He's been copping some flack over a recent (20/9) column in The Weekend Australian Magazine, in which he mentioned, in passing, the fact that Australian Jews go to Israel to join the army. Merely stating the fact was apparently provocation enough. (See my 23/9/14 post Phillip Adams on the Indoctrinated.)
The following letter, for example, appeared in the latest issue (4/10) of TWAM:
"When will Phillip Adams stop blaming the US and its allies for the ills in the Middle East. And while it may be true that 'generations' of young Australian Jews have headed to Israel to join the army, none has returned radicalised or committed to terrorist acts in this country." Vivian Feldman, East Bentleigh, Vic.
That these little darlings may have been terrorising Palestinians is, of course, neither here nor there to Ms Feldman.
Although Adams doesn't refer to his throwaway line (let alone defend it), or in any way allude to the volume and kind of flack he may have received over it, this week's column, Jewels of the diaspora (4/10), was obviously written in response:
"Though my criticisms of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians have had me branded an anti-Semite in both correspondence and The Australian Jewish News..."
I hate to butt in here, but what "criticisms" is he talking about? Can anyone help me out here?
"... I'm more accurately described as a philo-Semite - someone totally in awe of the Jewish contribution to human civilisation."
The problem with being a philo- is that the fan invariably dons rose-coloured glasses when animadverting on the subject of his fancy. Here's Adams, for example, on his doctors:
"Almost all the doctors, specialists and surgeons who've been keeping me alive are Jewish, many being exiles from apartheid South Africa."
Exiles? Really? From apartheid South Africa or post-apartheid South Africa?
Then there's the use of the word 'diaspora' in his title. Diasporas are exile communities. But I seriously doubt he's referring to places such as Germany, Poland or the former Soviet Union. Whether wittingly or not, in using this term, Adams subscribes to the Zionist foundational myth that Israel, not Europe, is the homeland of Ashkenazi Jews. Adams is, if you like, more of a Zionist than he knows or cares to admit.
Professing philo-Semitism is one thing, but what is one to make of the following:
"Footnote. This atheist christened (pun intended) his firstborn daughter with a Jewish name. Twenty years later, aiming to join that most Jewish calling of psychoanalysis, Dr Rebecca Adams travelled to the US and converted to Judaism in a progressive synagogue. Whereupon my second daughter Meaghan discovered, in an old family Bible, that her dad seems to have had a Jewish great-great-grandmother on his mother's side and is, as a result, almost certainly Jewish. Now that this is public I predict my next criticism of Israel will have me called a 'self-hating Jew'. Shalom."
How curious that Adams, an atheist and, more importantly, reputedly a rational, thinking individual, takes such arcane matters so seriously.
Certainly, if the aim of his declaration of philo-Semitism was to mollify the usual suspects, he wasn't having much success:
"Phillip Adams' column reminds me, as his essays often do, of the Carly Simon song You're so Vain - 'I bet you think this song is about you'. First, having a Jewish great-great-grandmother on his mother's side doesn't necessarily mean he's Jewish, unless that relationship is exclusively matrilineal. And second, criticism of Israeli policies isn't necessarily anti-Semitic. Not unless it fails Natan Sharansky's '3-D test'. Does it demonise, de-legitimise, or apply double standards? To the Jewish nation, an affirmative on any count makes it anti-Semitism." Steve Lieblich, Jewish Community Council of Victoria (Letter, The Australian, 6/10/14)
Natan Sharansky's 3-D test indeed. What gob-smacking arrogance!
Where Mike Carlton might reply with an honest expletive, Adams chooses to tie himself in knots. But seriously, what's the point? No profession of philo-Semitism, or even fantasising out loud that you're Jewish - whatever that means - will ever satisfy a Zionist fanatic.