Page 161 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

Basic HTML Version

YUDKIN / URI ZVI GREENBERG
155
cepted, Canaani suggests, all other doors are closed, and only
despair is left. This, he thinks, is what has happened to
Greenberg, producing his sense of the inchoate state of disaster in
the contemporary world.
It is difficult to come to terms with such a view of Greenberg’s
outlook, so remote from the actual text and situation of the
writing as to border on fantasy. But Canaani makes an additional
point, seeking to draw a logical conclusion from his analysis, in his
characterization of the writing as “Jewish Fascism.” This accusa­
tion is not based on a definition of the word or the phenomenon,
nor on an analysis of Greenberg’s work. There are certainly
plausible links between the sense of the poetry and some of the
qualities associated with Fascism. But Canaani tries to posit the
inevitability of such a product on the origin of the disease —
Nihilism: “This world of impurity, how easy it is to judge its
appearance: this is Fascism in its essence — loyalty to the kingdom
of the Devil, desecration of man, denial of everything sacred,
dressed as green hatred, death-greetings instead of hysterical
cheers, and thus find the solution of Greenberg’s way to Jewish
Fascism.” Nihilism, the belief in nothing, has, by definition, no
respect for man or human values, and so can lead to a doctrine
which reduces the dignity and rights of men, which we can then
designate as “Fascism.” This line of reasoning is understandable
as a theoretical construct but it has very little to do with the poetry
of Uri Zvi Greenberg.
POLITICAL CREDO
Greenberg also has admirers who praise his work for its politics.
Benjamin Margoliouth, in the series of periodical pamphlets de­
signed to present and interpret the work of the poet, exalts him
thus: “But a poet like Uri Zvi Greenberg destined to live in
constantly powerful conflict all his life, directs his glance straight
and transcends all guises, always sees the point of wonder which
was revealed before the separation.”8 This expression of total
admiration for the prophet with his visionary capacity is not for
the manner of its expression, but for its content. For such a poet as
8 Benjamin Margoliouth, “Meshorer Bi-Sefirat Ha-Ahdut Ha-Gedolah,” in
Be-
Ikve Ha-Shir,
Jerusalem, 1950, p. 3.