A Science-Fiction Classic’s Bizarre Obsession with Jews

In his novel Dune, Frank Herbert depicts a future where today’s great religions have been “scrambled” into new faiths. Judaism, however, appears in the book’s sixth and final volume as having remained unchanged for thousands of years. Michael Weingrad notes that “Herbert’s portrait of the Jews owes more than a little to anti-Semitic stereotypes,” and explains what’s behind it:

Why this eruption of hoary anti-Jewish stereotypes in a futuristic epic? It seems to derive not from contempt for the Jews, but from Herbert’s envy of them. On the one hand, Herbert’s portrayal of the Jews as an unchanging relic, the only stagnant group in a universe of change, is an old trope, given repeated modern expression from [G. W. F.] Hegel to [Arnold] Toynbee and reflecting supersessionist Christian claims that the Jews have had their day but are no longer a living part of history’s drama.

But the flip side of this denigration of the Jews as a “fossil-people” is a Christian anxiety that the Jews—who claim biological kinship with the patriarchs, prophets, and messiah—naturally possess that with which Christians have a more uncertain relationship. Herbert’s Dune novels are all animated by the conviction that the truth is in our genes. The problem Jews pose for Hebert, then, is not that they are unnecessary to his fictional universe, but that they appear to anticipate it because of their familial, corporeal relationship with the divine. . . . There appears to be a kind of theological resentment at work.

Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Anti-Semitism, Arts & Culture, Dune, Philo-Semitism, Science fiction, Supersessionism


Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security