Oscar Wilde, the Arch of Titus, & the Anti-Israel Movement

      Oscar Wilde’s exceptional novel, ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’, tells of a young man who imagines that with age he will become irrelevant in a society which praises him solely for his youthful allure. To avoid becoming older, Dorian Grey “sells his soul” so that a painting of him, not his body, will reveal physical aging and any consequences of his hedonistic lifestyle. The portrait illustrates every flaw, with the paint evolving to exhibit a more unsightly disfigured version of Grey with every lustful encounter and passing year. Upon becoming jaded with vanity, Dorian commits suicide by destroying the painting which returns to its original form - an illustration of an intoxicating young man - whilst Grey’s body is matured and disfigured beyond recognition.
     The political sentiment of Jews not having the right to sovereignty is not a modern notion. A famous example of Jews being denied sovereignty is the siege on Jerusalem in 70 CE, during the Roman-Jewish war. Said war eventually led to the dismantling of the Judea providence and the begetting of the Jewish diaspora. Despite the Roman siege on Jerusalem being recorded as a Roman display of barbaric inhumanity, there is an eminent work of architecture standing in Rome depicting the Siege on Jerusalem - the Arch of Titus.
     Constructed in 82 CE, the Arch of Titus was erected for the purpose of honoring the victories of Titus. The Arch of Titus, like the portrayal of the picture of Dorian Grey, has aged beyond recognition of its former glory. Just as the picture of Dorian Grey depicted truth, so does the Arch of Titus. Through its vivid imagery, the Arch portrays a lack of respect for Jewish sovereignty, and an appreciation for Jewish suffering, whilst also ironically confirming Jewish historical ties to Israel. The previous notion of Jewish inferiority is not exclusive to the former Roman empire. The same sentiment has evolved throughout history with the modern equivalent being the sundry groups who indignantly arrogate the eradication of the State of Israel.
    There are parallels between ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’ and the 21st century anti-Israel ideology. Dorian Grey was steeped in his vanity so much as to not be able to confront his accurate reflection. The anti-Israel ideology is conceited in viewing it’s weltanschauung as being impartial and original. Dorian Gray’s infatuation with beauty is to the anti-Israel movement’s commitment to being sanctimonious. The premise of the anti-Israel movement is not the formation of a Palestinian state equal to its Israeli neighbor - it is the call for the dismantling of the only Jewish state. To eradicate Israel is to once more force Jews into exile, expunge Jewish history from its origins, deny Jewish sovereignty, maintain Jews as an obstacle of sorts, and to have the Jewish people be beleaguered in foreign lands. The previous convictions are analogous to the logic of Titus and the siege on Jerusalem. Dorian Grey had a portrait, the anti-Israel drive has the Arch of Titus. The evolution of anti-Israel dogma is likened to a snake shedding its skin, the snake might attempt to anew itself by shedding of old layers, yet despite all of the this, the animal is still a snake.
     Dorian Grey couldn't confront his image much as the anti-Israel movement can’t confront their political link to historical movements from which they have evolved - including Titus of Rome. Stated historical organizations include those who are responsible for a number of atrocities on the Jewish people. No matter the transformation of the concept, it is still the same notion - a stateless Jewish people amputated from their homeland in every conceivable fashion. In reference to the preface of Dorian Gray, as so eloquently written by Oscar Wilde, “the nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass”. I would submit to you, the 21st century dislike of criticism of the anti-Israel movement is the rage of Titus and all of his successors seeing their reflection in accurate form.