JEWISH TOUGHNESS BEFORE ZIONISM
IN ADDITION to putting the Jewish present and future on a radically new footing, the recent proliferation of tough Jewish imagery has also altered perceptions of the Jewish past. Previously, Jews generally tended to ignore, mute, or repress historical examples of Jewish toughness. Today, one is more likely to see this twig bent in the other direction: Jewish publicists are so fervently in search of progenitors of the new toughness that they are often inclined to deny the very existence of examples of Jewish timidity, gentleness, resignation, or frailty. As part 3 indicates, the post-1967 wave of tough Jewish novels constitutes a vivid example of this sort of overextended historical revisionism. In its own way, so does the present chapter, which offers a historical sketch of pre-1967 tough Jewish imagery, but from a non-Zionist viewpoint.
Most contributors to the larger revisionist effort uphold one