My colleague, Maria, sent me this: "I think this is one of the strongest and best-articulated statements I have ever read: It is from E. Hobsbawm in his memoirs "Interesting Times" in reference to what he referred to as "the burden imposed by his mother" when he asked him to "never do anything, or seem to do anything that might suggest that you are ashamed of being a Jew":
"... It has been enough to define my Judaism ever since, and left me free to live as what my friend the late Isaac Deutscher called a 'non-Jewish Jew', but not what the miscellaneous regiment of religious or nationalist publicists call 'self-hating Jew'. I have no emotional obligation to the practices of an ancestral religion and even less to the small, militarist, culturally disappointing and politically aggressive nation-state which asks for my solidarity on racial grounds. I do not even have to fit in with the most fashionable posture of the turn of the new century, that of 'the victim', the Jew who, on the strength of the Shoah (and in the era of unique and unprecedented Jewish world achievement, success and public acceptance), asserts unique claims on the world's conscience as a victim of persecution. Right and wrong, justice and injustice, do not wear ethnic badges or wave national flags. And as a historian I observe that, if there is any justification for the claim that the 0.25 per cent of the global population in the year 2000 which constitute the tribe into which I was born are a 'chosen' or special people, it rests not on what it has done within the ghettos or special territories.... it rests on its quite disproportionate and remarkable contribution to humanity in the wider world, mainly in the two centuries or so since the Jews were allowed to leave the ghettos, and chose to do so. .... We are ... 'un people en diaspora'. We shall, in all probability, remain so. And if we make the thought experiment of supposing that Herzl's dream came true and all Jews ended up in a small independent territorial state which excluded form full citizenship all who were not the sons of Jewish mothers, it would be a bad day for the rest of humanity-- and for the Jews themselves." (24-25)"