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Michael Chabon: Bad for the Jews?

Page Six was up to its usual antics over the weekend, writing about a HarperCollins book without disclosing the newspaper’s corporate connections to the publishing company, but this time there’s a twist: Kyle Smith becomes the first commentator (as far as I know) to play the “Bad Jew” card against Michael Chabon for making the antagonists in his new novel, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, “a gangsterish extreme sect of Hasidim” who commit violence against other Jews to fulfill their ultra-Zionist agenda.

At its core, Smith’s broadside against the novel is of a piece with Wendy Shalit‘s 2005 attack on Jewish writers who failed, in her eyes, to depict the Orthodox with sufficient admiration. The Post being a far cry from the NYTBR, though, the tone isn’t quite so elevated, as in a comment upon the film rights: “With Chabon’s take on Jews as the central element in endless struggle, maybe Mel Gibson would like to direct.” Har de har har. (Of course, I’m biased, as I think the novel in question is pegged to be one of this year’s strongest award contenders.)

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