New York Times columnist Roger Cohen reflects about growing up a Jew in Britain, and ends with an appreciation of America, his adopted country:
It was that faint prejudice floating around with its power to generate I’m-not-quite-one-of-them feelings.
In the late 1960’s, I went to Westminster, one of Britain’s top private schools, an inspiring place hard by Westminster Abbey, and was occasionally taunted as a “Yid” — not a bad way to forge a proud Jewish identity in a nonreligious Jew.
The teasing soon ended. But something else happened that was related to the institution rather than adolescent minds. I won a scholarship to Westminster and would have entered College, the scholars’ house, but was told that a Jew could not attend College nor hold a Queen’s Scholarship. I got an Honorary Scholarship instead…
Westminster, like Britain, has changed. Openness has grown. Bigotry’s faint refrain has grown fainter still. But I think my old school should throw more light on this episode. And I still believe the greatest strength of America, its core advantage over the old world, is its lack of interest in where you’re from and consuming interest in what you can do.
Full column here.
Meanwhile, in the U.K. Guardian, Jonathan Margolis, a Jew who still lives in Britain, writes irreverently about being looked down upon by fellow British Jews:
We are those cop-out, fair-weather Jews that "real" Jews despise more than they do antisemites: the secular, cultural Jews, the amoral majority, the ones who want to have their bagel and eat it. The ones who, with their marrying out, their going to the pub on Yom Kippur and to the football on Saturdays, and – God forbid – with their ambivalent view of the Middle East, are doing Hitler’s work for him and conspiring in the erosion of the already disappearing UK Jewish community – currently about 250,000 and counting, downwards.
Leaving aside what’s supposed to be wrong with having your cake and eating it (what else are you supposed to do with a cake? Frame it? Bury it?), I can’t help feeling the time has come for us race traitors, half-breeds and "apathites" to stand up for ourselves.
Full column here.