In the Arena

Who is What

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According to the Guardian, Ahmadinejad is not Jewish. Oh well, it would have been nice to think so. Why? Because those who demonize The Other deserve to be exposed as the imperfect, mongrel individuals they are. In the end, as DNA testing inevitably shows, we are all everyone, we are all The Other. Certainly, we’re all Africans. Which is why I had to laugh when a humorless commenter to my previous post on this subject suggested that I might be part Persian. Actually, I had similar thoughts when I was in Iran earlier in the year–Persians kept saying that I looked like one of them. A high compliment, I thought, since they are very good looking people. And an awful lot of Jews lived in or passed through Aryanland (which is what Iran means–land of the Aryans).

I once pissed off a Rabbi by saying that I hoped my children would continue the mongrelization of the Klein family. “Oh, you’re an American!” He said, meaning that my national identity was more important than my religious one–as if the two were mutually exclusive. But, in any case, guilty as charged! One of the things I love most about this country is that we’re all here, mixing and matching, creating this master race of mongrels. (Irony alert: that was a joke.)

So I’m disappointed if Ahmadi-nejad turns out not to be a Jew. He could have used the confusion; it would have been…a teachable moment. We all could have used the reminder that we are we.

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