HBO’s “The Plot Against America”

HBO’s “The Plot Against America”

 • APRIL 29, 2020

“….Roth cites Charles Lindbergh’s Des Moines radio speech at an America First rally; in fact, he gives the entire speech in an appendix to the book. This is a mistake, at least from the point of view of what Roth wants to achieve, because it says the opposite of what Roth wants Lindbergh to say. In the speech we read, among other things, Lindbergh’s statement; “No person with a sense of dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany,” This does not sound like the raving of an anti-Semite. Lindbergh’s point was that three groups were trying to get America into the War at the time—the Roosevelt administration, the English, and the Jews—and that the Jews “would be the first to feel its consequences” because “tolerance cannot survive war and devastation.” It was the last time that anyone in public life in America singled out Jews as a group for criticism. Lindbergh and America First were silenced after the Roosevelt administration entered the war, and they have been demonized ever since. Roth’s book is one more contribution to that demonization.”


“If Lindbergh was talking about Europe, however, he was profoundly right in a way that no one could have understood at the time. War provided the cover for the annihilation of large numbers of Jews in Europe. If Lindbergh was talking about America, he was wrong because—pace, Mr. Roth—there were no pogroms in America. So which Lindbergh is Philip Roth talking about? He is talking about the Lindbergh in his mind, a fictional prop that is dragged out to justify Roth’s hatred of the goyim and his deep ambivalence toward an America that, even more than Renaissance Poland, has been the paradisus Judaeorum. …”




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