My favorite essayist (Jewish or otherwise) asks a good question. In a review essay of a T.S. Eliot biography, Joseph Epstein writes:
But might it be allowed that one can write or say anti-Semitic things without being an anti-Semite? Eliot is guilty of the former, but does not, I think, stand guilty of the latter. There is no record of anything on his part resembling anti-Semitic actions. He had good friends who were Jews. Not that this excuses him, but everything anti-Semitic he wrote was composed before the Holocaust. He obviously wasn’t Jew-crazy, like his difficult friend Ezra Pound, who could blame the Jews for bad weather. Eliot made a wretched mistake in the references to Jews in his poetry, and one would like to think that, as a devout Christian, it added to the burden of his guilt.
Aside: The Ezra Pound reference cracked me up.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList