Amos Oz, Israel’s most translated and best known writer, believes that the narrative of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus has been responsible for Jew-hatred through history, culminating in the Shoah/Holocaust. Oz was reading the New Testament in 1967 when other boys were more interested in girls and when Israeli soldiers were defending the Jewish homeland. He felt outrage at the absurdity of the wealthy Judas selling out the Messiah for $400 in today’s terms. He was also more than aware of his great-uncle’s Jewish version of Jesus’ crucifixion – a revisions loathed by both Jews and Christians.
Oz’ Judas tells of three characters in Jerusalem in the winter of 1959 – Shmuel the idealist student, Gershom Wald the older recluse and Atalia, the “Mistress” who isn’t. Shmuel’s research from a Jewish perspective has led him to believe that, far from being a traitor, Judas was “the most loyal and devoted of all [Christ’s] disciples and … meant to prove [Christ’s] greatness to the world”.
In this interview with Jonathan Freeland, Oz weaves between his own views and the views of his characters who he says each express his thoughts without being him. Through them, he conducts the debates which enables him to distinguish between violence and aggression, criticism of Israeli policy and Jew-hatred, idealism and fanaticism, history and immediacy, loyalty and betrayal and a love of Israel that complements many aspects of the nation that he dislikes.
Being a leftist himself, he is highly critical of the ahistorical European Far Left and its de facto alliance with the Jew-haters of the Far Right.
Oz draws the line between criticism of Israel and Jew-hatred at the point where Israel’s existence as an independent Jewish homeland is denied. Dowlphin is less lenient and more subjective in drawing the line at excessive one-sided and biased critique, but in all other matters, Oz represents Dowlphin’s pessimism, optimism and world view more closely than any other person on the planet. Particularly galling to Dowlphin is the Left’s sensitivity to “dog-whistles” that relate to non-Enlightenment non-Democratic cultures and its inability to see and hear Jew-hating “dog-whistles” which ride on Enlightenment Democratic coat-tails.
- Michel Wieviorka – Evil in Europe: Racism, Anti-Semitism, Terrorism and Nationalism
- Yehuda Bauer – Antisemitism in the Modern Age