Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
The Schmooze

Amir Gutfreund, Jonathan Safran Foer and Bruno Schultz

Amir Gutfreund and Jonathan Safran Foer hadn’t met before Wednesday afternoon, May 5. As Gutfreund pointed out, you wouldn’t necessarily put two firemen onstage and expect them to immediately extinguish flames! Foer for his part, was probably unaware of Gutfreund’s public persona, certainly when speaking English, of a somewhat comic victim of cosmic injustice.

So when Gutfreund’s first question for the young American was a longer version of: “I’m still waiting for the glory, but how have you dealt with all the glory you received so early on in your career?” Foer wasn’t quite sure how to deal with it. So he told a story about poop, and everything was fine thereafter!

Noting that on a normal day he would clean up after one or both sons and a dog, plus perhaps himself, Foer explained how grounded he was and was amusingly persuasive. Gutfreund and Foer expressed deep admiration for (and indebtedness to) writer Bruno Schultz (best known for “Street of Crocodiles”) and in between more serious comments about the status of literature and Schultz, made some excellent observations about the nature of a state that would kidnap a wall to save it from oppression.

The wall in question was the one upon which Schultz had been painting murals for one SS officer when another shot him in the street. Israeli secret services snuck in and stole the wall while its ownership was being contested, in what Gutfreund referred to as Israel’s “Entebbe Instinct.” Foer confessed that he was named “Jonathan” after the leader of the raid on Entebbe, Jonathan Netanyahu — Benjamin Netanyahu’s older brother.

Watch Amir Gutfreund explain himself on the video below:

Amir Gutfreund from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.