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July 28, 2011

The Washington Post Omits Novelist’s Antisemitism

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The Washington Post’s “Memoir Review” of Jose Saramago (“Deep Roots in Poor Soil,” July 3) omitted the novelist’s unhinged beliefs about Israel and Jews.

Reviewer Michael S. Roth painted a picture of a humble and intelligent man. But in 2003, when Palestinian terrorists of the second intifada were blowing up Israeli buses and cafes, murdering hundreds and maiming thousands, Saramago charged that Israel security checkpoints at Ramallah somehow resembled Holocaust-like repression.

“In the spirit of Auschwitz,” he orated, “this place is being turned into a concentration camp.” In fact, 2003 was the year in which Arab violence claimed the most Israeli lives since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

As for Jews in general, Saramago proclaimed, “they didn’t learn anything from the suffering [in the Holocaust] of their parents and grandparents.”

“Political bravery and artistic originality” with which The Post credited Saramago, or the old hatred in a new bottle? Would The Post have so indulged another artist who showed such prejudice toward any other national or religious group? -- by Sophie Linshitz, CAMERA Washington research intern.

Posted by ER at July 28, 2011 03:22 PM

Comments

When I asked the manager of the local Steimatzky book store in Raanana why Saramago's books were given a prominent position, she said he was a great writer.

She completely ignored his anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli comments.

If playing Wagner's music is a no-no here, why should the works of this anti-Semite be prominently displayed?

Posted by: ger at July 28, 2011 11:12 PM

..."they didn't learn anything from the suffering..." I always find it ironic and dismaying that anti-semites such as he seem unaware that they are talking about themselves.

Posted by: Jeff Feldstein at July 29, 2011 12:32 PM

This was a review of a childhood memoir. What do Saramago's later views about Israel, the Palestinians, or Jews have to do with it? There must be better things to complain about than this entirely inoffensive literary review.

Posted by: ScottB at August 5, 2011 09:44 AM

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