Holocaust Recividus? J Speaks
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In James Walton's first response to Howard Jacobson's new novel, he writes, "Howard Jacobson's J convinced me that I'd just read a masterpiece" (The Spectator, 13 September 2014), but he soon had some doubts. First, the conviction:
I finished the book, in fact, convinced that I'd just read a masterpiece.But 'reality' sets in:
The trouble comes with reflecting on it afterwards. Once you're not being swept along by Jacobson's prose, the awkward realisation dawns that he's not joking, in more ways than one. Nor is he merely trying to write a work of dark fantasy. For the novel to carry the kind of punch he clearly intends, it needs to be at least imaginable that, within the next few years, the British people could rise up against the country's Jews, who still occupy 'a particular, even privileged place in the nation's taxonomy of fear and loathing'. And that once they had, the crime could be buried. And that British Christians still define themselves against the Jews.I haven't read the book - I can't read everything! - but perhaps Jacobson is listening to the political left that has aligned itself with radical Islamists and openly re-uses antisemitic tropes. Could that be what the novel is really focusing on?
Of course, I'm mildly speculating, but the fact is that the rise of antisemitism in Europe these days is not so much rightwing as it is Muslim and leftwing.