Book review, A to Zion: The Definitive Israeli Lexicon
Gilad Atzmon has been accused of being a "self-hating Jew" and a "self-hating Israeli." In this book he asks, "Is there any other kind?" Gilad and co-author Enzo Apicella offer a trenchant and hilarious critique of Jewish identity and identity politics, disguised as a lexicon that echoes the sardonic humor of Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary. This brutally honest and incisive take on ethnic humor may not please Abe Foxman's acolytes, who are appalled by the truthfulness of Joel Stein's "Who Runs Hollywood? C'mon!" and other schticks that tell too much truth. Funny how such people don't seem to mind Mel Brooks' The Producers making fun of such ostensible Jewish traits as greed, Germanophobia, and a fast and loose relationship with truth. Maybe it's because Brooks exudes affection for his (ostensibly) greedy, Germanophobic, lying tribe; while Atzmon is disgusted by the genocide in Occupied Palestine, and believes that a certain pathological tribal narcissism in Jewish culture is partly responsible. for that ongoing atrocity. So Atzmon's humor, unlike that of Brooks, ultimately critiques rather than celebrates Jewish culture. Since Jewish culture, more than any other culture, is off-limits to criticism, Atzmon is violating a major taboo by pointing out its foibles and failings. Anyone who defects from the genocidal Zionist project and calls it out, as Atzmon has, is going to take a lot of heat; throw in this kind of taboo-shredding cultural critique and you have a formula for getting yourself verbally lynched by the small-minded guardians of tribalist political correctness. Atzmon has suffered his share of verbal lynchings and this book will probably draw more from the usual humorless nitwits. That will just make the rest of us laugh even harder.