James Bond 007's Jewish History
James Bond is about as un-Jewish a hero as one could imagine. Yet Jews have played essential creative roles in the 007 film series, right up to the forthcoming ‘Skyfall.’
It’s hard to imagine anyone less Jewish — or more goyish — than James Bond: He of the shaken-not-stirred-martinis; he who serially beds the blond, buxom “Bond girls”; he who drives the latest, fastest, gadget-equipped sports car. He may be the hero, but he’s no mensch.
In fact, Bond was the literary creation of novelist Ian Fleming, a notorious right-winger who, like many Englishmen of his generation, wore his anti-Semitism on his sleeve. Fleming’s books, unlike the much more popular films they spawned, occasionally trade in vulgar and hateful Jewish stereotypes, and whenever a character does seem Jewish, he is always a villain.
Yet from its beginning a half-century ago, from the 1962 “Dr. No” up through the most recent entry in the series, “Skyfall” — the 23rd Bond film — Jews have played an essentially creative role in the James Bond film series.