Must Literature be Moral? Must Jewish Literature?

In a 1971 essay titled “Innovation and Redemption,” the writer and critic Cynthia Ozick attacked literary works that, however notable for their formal experimentation, lack any sort of moral core. Contrasting such literature to rabbinic midrash, Ozick argues that the latter always contains a moral message but, for its part, lacks literature’s imaginative power. Ruth Wisse discusses the essay and puts it in the context of Ozick’s own perception of herself as a Jewish writer. (Interview by Eric Cohen. Audio, 51 minutes.)

Read more at Tikvah

More about: American Jewish literature, Arts & Culture, Cynthia Ozick, Literature

Spain’s Anti-Israel Agenda

What interest does Madrid have in the creation of a Palestinian state? Elliott Abrams raised this question a few days ago, when discussing ongoing Spanish efforts to block the transfer of arms to Israel. He points to multiple opinion surveys suggesting that Spain is among Europe’s most anti-Semitic countries:

The point of including that information here is to explain the obvious: Spain’s anti-Israel extremism is not based in fancy international political analyses, but instead reflects both the extreme views of hard-left parties in the governing coalition and a very traditional Spanish anti-Semitism. Spain’s government lacks the moral standing to lecture the state of Israel on how to defend itself against terrorist murderers. Its effort to deprive Israel of the means of defense is deeply immoral. Every effort should be made to prevent these views from further infecting the politics and foreign policy of the European Union and its member states.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, Palestinian statehood, Spain