Thursday, May 03, 2007

Those other Jews

I will now quote an anecdote from Alan Dershowitz's wonderful book Chutzpah, because I think it provides considerable insight into the way a bigot's mind works:

"I related the story of a slightly eccentric Brahmin woman from Boston who came to see me about a legal problem. I concluded that her problem was not within the area of my expertise, so I recommended another lawyer. She asked whether he was Jewish, and I responded, 'What difference does that make?' She said that she didn't 'get along very well with Jews' and didn't know whether she could 'trust them.' I asked her why she had come to me, since I was obviously Jewish. I'll never forget her answer: 'The Jews I know are all fine. I have a Jewish doctor and a Jewish pharmacist whom I trust with my life. It's those other Jews--the money-grubbing ones, the dishonest ones--that I'm not comfortable with.'

"I pressed the Brahmin woman about whether she had actually ever encountered one of 'those' Jews, and she responded, 'Heavens, no. I would never allow myself to have any contact with such a person.' The lawyer I recommended happened to be Jewish, and the two of them got along famously." (p. 99)

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