Vol. 17 No. 1 1950 - page 95

sacrifice for service in the restored Temple, the real assassins of Berna–
dotte who will not be apprehended because "they are protected by a
power outside the reach of Israel's police"; the generally slipshod hand–
ling of facts.
There is a reference back to his own speculative work
Insight and
in his classification of history as one of the "neutral arts"; and
a definition of the "psychosomatic" approach to history, that is, the
treating of historical events in terms, not of economic or social causes,
but rather as results of dim and irrational predispositions buried deep
in the psyche. The real success of the book arises, I think, out of
Koestler's realization of the role in the events he surveys of certain
myths: the King James Version vision of Zion that moved the framers of
the Balfour Declaration; the myth of the Moslem Holy War and the
British public servant's homosexual heroic image of the Arab out of T. E.
Lawrence; but above all the mythic figure of the Jew-"Mr. Abramo–
witz ... is folklore crystallized as a news item.
his image in the reader's
eye could be X-rayed, it would reveal a modern likeness superimposed
upon a faded portrait of Shylock; and underneath that would appear
some even more shadowy mythological contours. . . . Each time you
burn him alive, stick a knife into his stomach or pump gas into his
lungs, he pops up like a jack-in-the-box, with a more horribly ingratiating
smile, and offers you a second-hand suit or a share of real estate."
It is his special sensitivity to the archetypal response to the Jew,
that makes Koestler capable of reporting with astonishing impact the
senseless and ultimately brutal policy of the British in Palestine, without
falling into the simple-minded interpretation of it all in terms of oil and
Machiavellianism, with Bevin improbably cast as Machiavelli. Koestler
Bevin to his last quivering nerve because he shares the same
aboriginal antisemitic fury; but that empathy brings with it a com–
plementary distortion.
is not, finally, the lapses from history to
journalism that vitiate
Promise and Fulfilment,
but the passion, the
idee fixe,
the hatred of his own Jewishness, that tum Koestler hopelessly
from the subject he pretends to pursue to recrimination and self-justifica–
Koestler's ultimate position is (he uses the words of another cor–
respondent, in a typical oblique device) pro-Zionist and anti-Jewish;
pro-Zionist, indeed, just because he is anti-Jewish. He may find Palestine
gray and depressing, its architecture mean and drab, its officials hectoring
trade-union bureaucrats, its food impossible, its culture detestable, even
its remade people, despite their beautiful blonde hair, dull and incap–
able of drinking and making love; but he is driven to applaud the
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