Playwright Mamet says Brits inherently anti-Semitic

Jewish-American dramatist says anti-Israeli sentiment in UK is directly influenced by negative portrayals of Jews throughout country’s history.

June 13, 2011 18:14
2 minute read.
Playwright David Mamet

Mamet 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Jewish-American playwright David Mamet took aim at the British in an interview with the Financial Times published on Sunday, saying their society and culture are deeply imbued with anti- Semitism.

Citing examples of Jewish stereotypes in the works of authors George Elliot and Anthony Trollope, Mamet said anti-Israeli sentiment in Britain today was directly influenced by negative portrayals of Jews throughout the country’s history.

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“There is a profound and ineradicable taint of anti- Semitism in the British,” he told the Financial Times. “The paradigmatic Brit as far as the Middle East goes is [T.E.] Lawrence. That’s just the fact. Even before the oil was there, you loved the desert. It had all these wacky characters...

“But there is a Jewish state there ratified by the United Nations and you want to give it away to some people whose claim is rather dubious.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, famed for his masterpiece Glengarry Glen Ross and scripts for films such as Wag the Dog and The Verdict, declined to name living British authors with an anti- Semitic bent because of the UK’s “horrendous liable laws” but said there were many.

Earlier in the interview, he drew a historical parallel between criticism of Israel today and that of Jews by fascist leaders and appeasers in the 1930s.


“The speeches that Charles Lindbergh made and Oswald Mosley made in the 1930s are the same speeches that are being made today, only slightly more politely: ‘The Jews are bringing us to war.

Perhaps we should give their state away.’ “The liberals in my neighborhood wouldn’t give away Brentwood [in Essex] to the Palestinians, but they want to give away Tel Aviv,” he said.

Mamet, once known for his liberal convictions, has shifted to the right in recent years.

Earlier this month he released a book called The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, which depicts his political transformation into a conservative.

In the interview, Mamet said he was an admirer of Republican Sarah Palin and opposed US President Barack Obama on several grounds including his policies toward Israel.

“The question is, can he run on his record in 2012, and the answer is no, because it’s abysmal,” Mamet said. “He took a trillion dollars and where it went, nobody knows. He dismantled healthcare, he weakened America around the world, he sold out the State of Israel. All he’s got to run on is being a Democrat and indicting the other fellow.”

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