On the return of the Jewish question

Universalism has acted as a stimulus for Jewish emancipation, that is, for civil, political and social inclusion. It has also been a source of anti-Jewish prejudice up to and beyond the classic antisemitism of the modern period. While the experience of Jews is by no means unique in this respect, one of the peculiarities of the 'anti-Judaic' tradition has been to represent Jews in some important regard as the 'other' of the universal: as the personification either of a particularism opposed to the universal, or of a false universalism concealing Jewish self-interest. The former contrasts the particularism of the Jews to the universality of bourgeois civil society. The latter contrasts the bad universalism of the 'rootless cosmopolitan Jew' to the good universalism of whatever universal is advanced: nation, race or class. This book explores debates over Jewish emancipation within the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, contrasting the work of two leading protagonists of Jewish emancipation: Christian von Dohm and Moses Mendelssohn. It discusses the emancipatory power of Karl Marx's critique of Bruno Bauer's opposition to Jewish emancipation and endorsement of The Jewish Question. Marxist debates over the growth of anti-Semitism; Hannah Arendt's critique of three types of Jewish responsiveness--assimilationism, Zionism and cosmopolitanism-- to anti-Semitism; and the endeavours of a leading postwar critical theorist, Jurgen Habermas are also discussed. Finally, the book focuses its critique on left antizionists who threaten to reinstate the Jewish question when they identify Israel and Zionism as the enemies of universalism.

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Universalism and the Jewish question
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

Moses Mendelssohn. The former justified Jewish emancipation from within the Jewish question; the latter looked for ways of countering the prejudice that Jews were in special need of regeneration. In Chapter 2 we revisit debates between supporters and opponents of Jewish emancipation within nineteenth-century revolutionary thought, in particular the emancipatory power of Karl Marx’s critique of Bruno Bauer’s opposition to Jewish emancipation and endorsement of The Jewish

in Antisemitism and the left
Jewish emancipation and the Jewish question
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

at the hands of European colonialism: second thoughts, we may speculate, provoked in part by learning about the actual revolts waged against the existing state of injustice (like that of the Black Jacobins in San Domingue), in part by engaging in dialogue with those who actually belonged to the groups suffering from prejudice (as Kant did with the Jewish Enlightenment figure, Moses Mendelssohn), and in part by embarking on new intellectual voyages (like his

in Antisemitism and the left
S.J. Barnett

usually discussed, such as the Germans Herman Reimarus, G. Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn. The approximate totals of deist protagonists commonly cited by historians are, therefore, five French, ten English, 18 The myth of Enlightenment deism one Italian and three German. Given that deism is usually given by historians as a movement crossing most of Europe for most of the eighteenth century, these sparse aggregate figures scarcely amount to a movement in any meaningful sense of the term. Equally interesting is the History of British Deism (1995), edited by J. V. Price.34

in The Enlightenment and religion