Judaism, which provokes anti-Semitism,ncan also overcome it.nThis paradoxical claim needs elaboration.nThe two basic principles of ethicalnmonotheism are that “ethics neednGod”—that is, no ethical system cannsurvive without a metaphysical foundation—andnthat “God’s major demand isnethics.” Ethics without God yieldsnrelativism, which yields defenselessnessnagainst the secular fanaticisms of left andnright. “God without ethics” yields justnsuch fanaticisms, and religious ones asnwell—“crusades and Qaddafi.” Allegedlyndivine or substitute-divine prerogativen(“God” or “History”) inflame ambition,ndenigrate moderation, invite carnage.n1 o distinguish between “universalnmoral law” and Judaism while callingnboth variations of “ethical monotheism”nrequires a careful definition of bothnethics and God. The doctrine of chosenness,nthe third of the three plausiblenJewish provocations to anti-Semitism,nbecomes crucial here. The authorsnquote Yakov Malik, Soviet ambassador tonthe United Nations in October 1973,nwho cited this doctrine as “proof” thatnZionism is racism. If public opinion pollsnare accurate, they show that Americansnalso dislike the claim of chosennessnmore than any other Jewish doctrine.nThe authors contend that chosennessndoes not entail superiority or privilegenbut obligation and suffering, that anyonenwho converts becomes a Jew andnthereby becomes chosen. One may findna resemblance here to the Christianndoctrine of grace or even, much morenremotely, to the Marxist doctrine of classnconsciousness.nChosenness is where Judaism andn”universal moral law” can collide. Anti-nSemitism “is ultimately a hatred of highernstandards,” the authors write, a vaguenformulation that comports well withn”universal moral law.” If Jew-hatred isnhatred of people insofar as they partakenof Judaism, and if Judaism teaches thatnsome people choose God and that Godnchooses some people, impersonal lawsnor “standards” do not constitute abso­nlute reality. Chosenness means not just anGod-as-standard, a Platonic or neo-nPlatonic god, but a God who chooses.nThis is the only possible basis of thenclaims that “ethics need God” and thatn”God’s major demand is ethics”; choicenand ethics are inseparable. Not anynchoice, but the right choice: Judaismnrequires the God and the chosen peoplenof Judaism. Upon reflection, then, thenauthors’ rejection of “missionizing”nturns out to be less than convincing—nunless they prefer “universal moral law”nto Judaism. If so, it is difficult to see whatnthey mean.nFor law does not necessarily imply anlawgiver in the traditional sense. Modemnscientists, who act on principle as ifnatheism were true, seek “laws of nature,”na nature without purpose. In a book thatncontains a discussion of anti-Semitismnranging from antiquity to the present, itnis astonishing that there is not a singlenmention of Spinoza. A philosopher hasndescribed Spinoza as “the greatest mannof Jewish origin who had openly deniednthe truth of Judaism and had ceased tonbelong to the Jewish people withoutnbecoming a Christian.” What Spinozanbecame, of course, was a proponent ofnuniversal natural law. He is the firstnmodem anti-Semite of Jewish origin. Henleads political philosophers farthernalong the road that leads to Marx’s classnconsciousness as a replacement fornchosenness and grace. As with so muchnanti-Semitism, this has been ftitile.nWhy the Jews? does not finally answernits own question. To do so would be tonaccount for God and for rebellion againstnGod. Judaism itself does not “accountnfor” these. It praises and condemns; itnasserts, refusing to suggest that humannbeings can explain the fiindamental. Wencan explain some things partly, however,nand these authors do better in thatnthan most of their contemporaries. Theyndo so by trying to take Judaism seriouslynin terms resembling its own termsninstead of terms imposed by its enemies.nWe begin to understand anti-Semitismnonly if we rediscover the terms ofnJudaism. QnnnotablesnASfyDognMost people, undoubtedly first encounterednLuis Bunuel (1900-1983) on ancollege campus, perhaps on a weeknightnin an auditorium where earth science wasntaught during daylight hours. Who cannforget sitting in the semidarkness andnseeing the scene in Un Chien Andalou,nthe film that Bunuel made with SalvadornDali, that shows a razor slicing into anneyeball? That scene (and, to a lessernextent, the ones with the hundreds ofnants) launched a filmmaking career.nWhen Buiiuel published the scenario tonthe film in 1928, he commented in anheadnote:n’A successful film’ is what the majoritynof people who saw it thought. But whatncan I do alSout people who arc crazy fornanything new, even if the noveltynoutrages their inmost convictions, ornabout a venal or insincere press, ornabout that pack of imbeciles who foundnbeauty or poetry in what is, in essence,nnothing less than a passionate appeal tonmurder.nNote that it is a statement, not a question,nfor he knew the answer and made itntangible during his career; he gave suchnpeople what they wanted, Henry MiUer,nfor example, a man who thought with anlower portion of his anatomy, wrote inn1931: “They call Buiiuel everything:ntraitor, anarchist, pervert, defamer,niconoclast. But lunatic they do not callnhim.” For Miller and his ilk, lunatic was anpositive sobriquetnBuiiuel, as a man in his twenties, took ankey, put it in a lock, and heard it click Hennever removed it; it served him well. Henfound a pat formula. This can be readnbetween the lines oiMy Last Sigh: ThenAutobiogn^hy of Luis Bunuel ( Alfted A.nKnopf; New York). Certainly, he madensome interesting films—Virdiana, Losnoltddaclos. The CHscreet Charm of thenBourgeoisie—but they are, after all,nproducts of a career that was based on thenbacks of imbeciles. Dn^•^19nJune 1984n