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The Anti-Semites Give Chase


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the-anti-semites-give-chaseWashington Free Beacon:

David Isaac

August 16, 2015


Tuvia Tenenbom is one of a kind, as is this extraordinary book. Born in Israel and the son of an ultra-orthodox rabbi, Tenenbom rebelled. He left both Israel and religious orthodoxy, obtained advanced degrees in mathematics and literature, founded the Jewish Theater in New York—for which he has written sixteen plays—and became a columnist in German and English.


Catch the Jew! depends on Tenenbom’s talents as both con man and chameleon. He writes: “Yes, I have this strange habit: I enjoy playing with nationalities. By a chance of nature, I have an unidentifiable accent and miraculously people believe me when I tell them that I’m Austrian, Bulgarian, Chinese, or whatever country I happen to fancy at the moment.” His ability to pose as various characters helps to give this book its fresh, off-beat slant despite the darkness of its subject matter. His most successful disguise is as Tobi the German, who wins the instant friendship of every Arab he meets, all of whom admire Hitler.




Support comes not just from Germans but from all of Europe. An Arab NGO worker from Bethlehem tells Tenenbom, “In Palestine the economy is NGO. Palestine is an NGO country. We call it ‘NGO Palestine.’ Who pays our government leaders? NGOs. Almost nothing is manufactured here, nothing grows here or is produced here except for NGOs. That’s it.”


Of the hundreds of NGOs, Tenenbom reserves special distaste for the one which ironically has the most unsullied reputation, the ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross. Tenenbom says the ICRC instigates Arabs against Jews and does what it can to limit Israeli response to provocations. It has “observer status” in the UN and the Security Council has accepted its interpretation of various international laws. Tenenbom finds it incredible that a group with an unelected all-Swiss board whose meetings are held in private should have such clout. Tenenbom is caustic:




The book conveys a depressing message. Tenenbom shows that anti-Semites feel compelled to pursue the Jew; having wiped out the ones in their own lands they go looking for more, so strong is their passion. Although Tenenbom doesn’t point it out, his work reveals one of Zionism’s failures—a movement that in most respects has been a great success. Zionism’s founders, starting with Theodor Herzl, had hoped that anti-Semitism would pass with the founding of a Jewish State. What they didn’t foresee was that anti-Semites would give chase.


Tenenbom ends on a pessimistic note: “If logic is any guide, Israel will not survive. Besieged by hate from without and from within, no land can survive for very long.” But when reading this book it’s important to remember the majority of Jews in Israel who serve their country quietly and proudly and sacrifice a great deal to do so. One hopes that silent majority, the Jews who aren’t in this book, will be enough to tip the scales in favor of Israel’s survival.

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