Book Title: The Taming of the Jew
Author: Tuvia Tenenbom
Publisher: Gefen Publishing House
In The Lies They Tell, author Tuvia Tenenbom visits the United States and speaks to people he encounters along the way, discovering things like the utter hypocrisy of the left who go on about the palestinians across the world but turn a blind eye to the very real suffering within underprivileged communities in their own backyard; disturbing and pervasive antisemitism; and the self-loathing of many Jews.
This could very well be a boilerplate for all Tuvia Tenenbom books, and is certainly relevant for his latest The Taming of the Jew, which takes place in the United Kingdom.
Here, Tuvia impersonates – among other things – a German or half-Jordanian reporter, in order to elicit more natural reactions from the people he encounters when he asks about things like their views on Jews, antisemitism in the Labor party, and Israel & “Palestine.” He is in a sense like Sascha Baron Cohen’s Borat, sans the disguise (to give you a sense of this, look at this and then tell me it doesn’t remind you of Throw the Jew Down The Well).
Like with his other books, the dichotomy between Tuvia’s quick-paced, humorous style of writing and the extremely disturbing views he encounters is extremely unsettling, while being effective at showing the utter nonchalance of antisemitism and racism.
There are a number of repeating themes of the book, one of which being the out-of-context, ubiquitous Palestinian flags. As he concludes after speaking to a University College of London employee: “Palestine is a state of mind,” bigger than reality. Kind of like Tuvia himself really, larger than life.
Another is one of the most unpalatable things Tuvia’s travels reveal (besides British food): the mentality of many of the British Jews he meets, who are petrified to admit to their predicament. At one point, he writes of a Jewish peer he interviewed:
“And what he said off the record was exactly the opposite of what he told me on the record. What did he tell me off the record? Well, here goes: antisemitism is ingrained in society, and in the highest levels of it; the Foreign Office is populated with anti-Israel, antisemitic officials; self-hating Jews lead antisemitic political organisations in Britain.”
Tuvia concludes that present-day British Jews are “well tamed.” As he quips, “The non-Jews, the real lords of the land, have tamed their Jews just perfectly.”
While Tuvia’s findings are predictable in a sense, this is not to say that the book is not engrossing or without suspense, most of which is provided by his efforts to meet with none other than Jeremy Corbyn (brilliantly referred to as JC, to evoke his cult-like status among acolytes). At one point he actually does run into JC, believe it or not at a Holocaust Memorial Day event. This provides for one of the most entertaining parts of the book, and most priceless photos in recent history.
I won’t reveal whether or not Tuvia gets that much sought-after interview with JC, but I can say you won’t believe how it all goes down. Needless to say, Tuvia chillingly concludes “It’s the people who are antisemites and it doesn’t matter what Jeremy Corbyn is or is not”.
Tuvia could not find a British publisher for this book, and it is not difficult to see why. Which is why I think it is a must-read.
The Taming of the Jew can be purchased on Amazon here.