The pages and pages [authoress Ingeborg] Day [who wrote Nine and A Half Weeks, under the pseudonym Elizabeth McNeill] — devotes to her unexpressed-in-public anti-Semitism are deeply uncomfortable to read now, and must have been more so at the time. There is a strong sense of self-flagellation to the point of pleasure, as if she revels in the shock of revealing anti-Jewish sentiments despite once sleeping with a Jewish man: “It felt like defiant slumming, exotic and perilous, more perverse than anything involving the mere manipulation of bodies.”
But not new:-
When Ingeborg Day, who lives in New York, had finished the manuscript of this book, she showed it to a Jewish friend. The point of the book is the statement—startling, and in the circumstances courageous—that she has “a thing about Jews.” She has discovered in herself, deeply buried and for many years unnoticed, a visceral revulsion. The discovery appalls her, and it puzzles her too. She was born in Austria, but she was only four when the Nazi regime collapsed, and her parents never uttered a word about its doctrines afterward. All the same, the gut feeling has turned out to be there, like a hereditary disorder of the blood which makes itself felt only in early middle age. Ingeborg Day wants to find out how this happened, and why.
It was not a popular project. The Jewish friend said uneasily that he didn’t like the parts of the book about anti-Semitism. That was “a strong word…you are not an anti-Semite.” It might all be a matter of language, he suggested hopefully. They argued. Ingeborg Day asked what you called somebody prejudiced against Jews if you did not call him an anti-Semite. Finally the friend lost his cool and shouted, “But Ingeborg, don’t you understand, an anti-Semite is a terrible person!”