Why would anyone pretend to be Jewish? Because Jews dominate certain parts of American cultural life, such as publishing. Jews occupy the high ground. Someone who wants to make it has an incentive to pass as Jewish or even to convert formally to Judaism.
In 2000, the New York Magazine revealed that Carter for years had pretended to be Jewish during the 1970s.
A friend of Carter’s, Craig Walls, recalled one time when Carter told other journalists and writers at a party that his mother “would kill” him for eating pork. Asked why, he said: “Because I’m Jewish,” Walls recalled. Carter confirmed to the New York Magazine that he had pretended to be Jewish.
“I was reading a lot of Kerouac and a lot of Ginsberg,” Carter told New York Magazine. ”And I thought, If you’re going to be an intellectual in New York, you’ve got to be Jewish. It wasn’t some experiment, like Gentleman’s Agreement, or anything like that. It was just … I thought … I just found it… I don’t know. It was so much more exotic than what I really was.”