The Arty Semite

Amir Gutfreund, Jonathan Safran Foer and Bruno Schultz

By Dan Friedman

  • Print
  • Share Share

Amir Gutfreund and Jonathan Safran Foer hadn’t met before Wednesday afternoon, May 5. As Gutfreund pointed out, you wouldn’t necessarily put two firemen onstage and expect them to immediately extinguish flames! Foer for his part, was probably unaware of Gutfreund’s public persona, certainly when speaking English, of a somewhat comic victim of cosmic injustice.

So when Gutfreund’s first question for the young American was a longer version of: “I’m still waiting for the glory, but how have you dealt with all the glory you received so early on in your career?” Foer wasn’t quite sure how to deal with it. So he told a story about poop, and everything was fine thereafter!

Noting that on a normal day he would clean up after one or both sons and a dog, plus perhaps himself, Foer explained how grounded he was and was amusingly persuasive. Gutfreund and Foer expressed deep admiration for (and indebtedness to) writer Bruno Schultz (best known for “Street of Crocodiles”) and in between more serious comments about the status of literature and Schultz, made some excellent observations about the nature of a state that would kidnap a wall to save it from oppression.

The wall in question was the one upon which Schultz had been painting murals for one SS officer when another shot him in the street. Israeli secret services snuck in and stole the wall while its ownership was being contested, in what Gutfreund referred to as Israel’s “Entebbe Instinct.” Foer confessed that he was named “Jonathan” after the leader of the raid on Entebbe, Jonathan Netanyahu — Benjamin Netanyahu’s older brother.

Watch Amir Gutfreund explain himself on the video below:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Amir Gutfreund, Jonathan Safran Foer

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.