Having worked for several major British newspapers in her time, it is not her columns that are gaining Julie Burchill recognition in the UK - it's her undying love for Israel that's making headlines.
Israel is “the perfect country in every way. My only criticism is that it could stand to be quite a bit bigger,” Burchill told the Times of Israel this week.
Gushing pro-Israeli statements from non-Jewish journalists are uncommon and Burchill's case is more surprising considering her five-year stint at left-wing British newspaper The Guardian.
"The flamboyant writer has for many years been a passionate philosemite, writing extensively about her love for both the Jewish state and the Jewish people. At one stage she even briefly contemplated conversion", the Times of Israel wrote in their recent feature on Burchill.
She is currently completing a memoir, to be titled 'Unchosen', about her obsession with Israel and the Jewish people. Spilling the beans about what is to be expected in her work, Burchill says it will include a chapter on philosemitism, an account of her trip to Israel whilst drunk (“off my face in the Promised Land”, she calls it) and a segment explaining why she was “too cool for shul” (“In which I am driven out of my local synagogue by the lesbian rabbi for being ‘too’ pro-Israel”), the Times reported.
In order to print her book, Burchill has been raising money through donations. According to the Times, more than 80 percent of the donations she has recieved have come from British Jews.
Burchill says her philosemite tendencies arose when she was a teenager in Bristol, learning about the Holocaust. She pretended to be a Jew in her first job, for a music magazine, when she was 17.
She married and then divorced an American Jew. Regarding Jewish culture, Burchill says she is “not super-keen” on the humor, the food or the family structure. (Nor, she adds, was she “over-fond of the way middle-aged Jewish ladies tended to dress when I was younger and more mis[erable]. But now that I’m middle-aged myself, I like a bit of sequin.”)
Aside from her hangups with Jewish culture, the journalist says she finds Judaism “endlessly fascinating” and adores Israel, which she calls a “miraculous” state.
Speaking of the many electic people she has met at pro-Palestinian rallies, where she is often found on the opposite side of the picket line, Burchill says "[Jews] start to think they are as undeserving of praise as they have historically been told they are,” she says. “This type [of Jew] can often be found prancing around in favor of Palestine. The half-wits seem blithely unaware that their pet terrorists won’t be happy till every Jew in the world is gone. There aren’t many dumb Jews around, but the pro-Palestine mob definitely qualify.”
Although rampantly pro-Israeli, Burchill has come under criticism herself for how her philosemitism presents itself.
One Guardian columnist, Anne Karpf, wrote in 2010 that “Burchill’s philosemitism is a form of anti-Semitism, I’d suggest, because it bunches all Jews together, as though we were a single, uniform entity. The idea that all Jews are wonderful is little different from all Jews being hateful: in both cases Jews are stripped of individual characteristics, and are nothing except Jewish — a view to which most racists happily subscribe.”
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