By SIMON SCHAMA MARCH 26, 2018
Simon Schama is the author, most recently, of the second volume of “The Story of the Jews.”
(((SEMITISM))) Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump By Jonathan Weisman 238 pp. St. Martin’s Press. $25.99.
Here’s the conclusion of Schama’s review:
There is nothing wrong, as Weisman counsels, with Jews standing shoulder to shoulder with those most damaged and threatened by tribalist populism, as Jews like Abraham Joshua Heschel did in the heyday of the civil rights movement. Ultimately, though, what is needed is an aggressive defense of those things that not so long ago could be taken for granted in America, and under which Jewish life has prospered to a degree unique in the world: the integrity of the democratic process, the protections of the Constitution and the preservation of the ideal of a “nation of immigrants,” a phrase just deleted from the Immigration Service’s mission statement. And a little davening [saying Jewish liturgical prayers] now and then wouldn’t do any harm.
Jews used to be famous for witty self-awareness. But, other than Larry David, how many Jews in 2018 would notice anything amusing about Professor Schama, a historian for heaven’s sake, demonizing as “tribalist” those American patriots who don’t believe that the fundamental ideal of American Constitutional democracy is a “nation of immigrants”?