Will T.S. Eliot’s Anti-Semitism Diminish His Aura?

Reviewing the newly released second volume of a biography of T.S. Eliot, Philip Hensher finds himself asking if the dean of modernist poetry really deserved the prominence that he attained in his own lifetime, and has held onto after his death. One of the “cracks” that Hensher finds appearing in Eliot’s “once unassailable reputation” involves his anti-Semitism, which showed up occasionally in his verse.

In [the poet’s] lifetime, challenges were made to some directly anti-Semitic lines in the poetry (“The rats are underneath the piles/ The Jew is underneath the lot”) and the essays: “Reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable [in society].” Private statements that have since emerged are worse still: “Why is there something diabolic about so many Jews?” “There are enough Jews in the English universities as it is.”

Many similar statements can be found in other writers, but what puts Eliot on another level was his continuing to make them and, even in the face of the Third Reich, commending an article talking of “so-called anti-Semitism,” or expressing a concern about the arrival of refugees: “Jews in the mass are antipathetic.” When one refugee child was adopted by a friend, Eliot was happy to note that “it” was “not at all objectionably Jewish to look at.”

His was the worst kind of anti-Semitism, being elevated to an idiotic sort of principle. Of the Holocaust he suavely observed: “To suggest that the Jewish problem may be simplified because so many will have been killed off is trifling: a few generations of security, and they will be as numerous as ever.” His own view of this was clear: his writing would only seem “anti-Semitic” to “the Semite.”

I don’t see how this horrible accumulation of evidence can do anything but close the long debate. We can accept the mastery of the poetry and the immense good that it and Eliot himself did in the world, but the ugly stain is not going to go away. Wagner, who took care to exclude explicit anti-Semitic statements from his artistic productions, has survived. Eliot, who did not, may in time be downgraded.

Read more at Spectator

More about: Anti-Semitism, Poetry, T.S. Eliot

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security