I’m half Jewish on my father’s side, which means, hur hur hur, that I’m not really Jewish at all, that I wore a yarmulke one time for my family’s sake and will never do so again, and that I’m as perturbed by seeing Jews in really traditional clothing as I would be by seeing a woman in a full-length burka (as I did see once in that paradise of Islam known as Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, which was overrun by bejeweled princes and princesses from every corner of the Umma, from Mali to Bali).
So I’m a Jew, and I’m currently editing a novella about Adolph Hitler. It’s made me nervous for all kinds of obvious reasons, the most obvious being—what right do I have to profit in any way from one of the worst mass murderers in history? At the same time plenty of other artists have involved Hitler in their works—Steven Spielberg had him sign Indiana Jones’s notebook—so I suppose the most I can hope for is to involve this person who has possibly murdered members of my own extended family in such a way (who can say what way exactly?) that the survivors of that time and place in history would not feel offended if they read my novella.
Then I think about Salman Rushdie, who’s apparently regarded as some kind of mix of Osama bin Laden and James Bond in the Middle East (source and source*), and I’m like, if I write a novel which includes Adolph Hitler as a character, maybe people aren’t going to get it. But is that worse than if they don’t care at all?
*”Salman Rushdie, played by Afzaal Ahmad, is portrayed in the film as a sadistic criminal mastermind, working for an international organization devoted to destroying Islam (as the Muslim faith is an obstacle to his wishes of building casinos, nightclubs and brothels around the world). He is depicted as hiding in the Philippines, guarded by a private army led by an Israeli general. Saeed Khan Rangeela stars as “Chief Batu Batu”, Rushdie’s main Jewish henchman. Rushdie lives a life of hedonism and other excesses and routinely amuses himself by torturing and killing the mujaheddins who regularly try to hunt him down. He also enjoys torturing Muslims by making them listen to readings of The Satanic Verses.” [This movie sounds awesome]