The Jewish Ambassador Goes to Germany
Today on Tablet
The piece today in Tablet Magazine by Abigail Pogrebin is actually an excerpt from her book, Stars of David, which features dozens of “prominent Jews talking about being Jewish.” While the late Richard Holbrooke professes uncertainty on the extent to which his Jewishness defined him, he is quite sure that his parents’ related status as refugees was the sine qua non of his ambitions, values, and career.
After President Clinton was elected, Holbrooke expected and hoped to be named ambassador to Japan. Instead, he got Germany.
“I called my mother and I said, ‘I’ve got bad news and good news. The bad news is I’m not going to Japan; the good news is I’m going to be the American ambassador to Germany.’ And there was this kind of long pause,” he recalls. “She had not set foot in Germany since 1933.” Trudi Kearl escaped Nazi Germany when she was a young girl. “And here I was, 60 years later to the year, going to Germany. I think she was completely stunned. But she ended up visiting me three times.”
Beyond that, he is, endearingly, someone who loves ideas and knows their importance. Was he above all a journalist? “’Hello?’ He starts chatting with someone on the line, deconstructing what sounds like the latest issue of Foreign Affairs. ‘I also thought Les’s piece was very good,’ Holbrooke says. ‘I thought Paula’s defense was pathetic and Judith’s piece was really good. The Milosevic piece said nothing. That was a lost opportunity.’”
Group confirms official association with Israel Shamir
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.