Surveying the work of the spy novelist, Nick Cohen notes the corrosive politics found in both his work and his public statements. The latter, writes Cohen, reflect all of the worst tendencies of Britain’s old right and new left—including their “Jew obsession”:
Connoisseurs of [le Carré’s] public statements can tick every space on the bingo card. Le Carré believes that corporations brainwash the bovine masses (check) on behalf of the imperial American hegemon (check), which is itself controlled by a conspiracy of right-wingers (check), who are pulling our puppet strings at the behest of—guess who?—the Jews (full house!). Or as le Carré explained, the [Jewish] neoconservatives are “appointing the state of Israel as the purpose of all Middle Eastern and practically all global policy.”
Then there is the self-pity, that most deplorable affectation of Western intellectuals who have never once faced the smallest threat of persecution or punishment for their writing. At one point during the last decade, le Carré compared himself with the German-Jewish diarist Victor Klemperer, who miraculously survived life under the Nazis. Liberals of a certain age remember that when the Ayatollah Khomeini’s assassins imitated the Nazis and threatened Salman Rushdie’s life, the Klemperer-of-our-time opined that Rushdie had brought death on himself by insulting the great religion of Islam.