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.

Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

3 Antisemitism, critical theory and the ambivalences of Marxism Citizens, let us think of the basic principle of the International: Solidarity. Only when we have established this life-giving principle on a sound basis among the numerous workers of all countries will we attain the great final goal which we have set ourselves. (Karl Marx – a speech given following a congress of the First International, 8

in Antisemitism and the left
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Undoing the Past in Jean Améry and James Baldwin
Joseph Weiss

This article compares the works of James Baldwin and Jean Améry, a survivor of the Jewish Holocaust. It attempts to unpack the ethical and political implications of their shared conception of the temporality of trauma. The experiences of the victim of anti-Semitism and the victim of anti-Black racism not only parallel one another, but their mutual incapacity to let go of the injustice of the past also generates a unique ethico-political response. The backward glance of the victim, the avowed incapacity to heal, as well as the phantasmatic desire to reverse time all guide this unique response. Instead of seeking forgiveness for the wrong done and declaring that all forms of resentment are illegitimate, Baldwin and Améry show us that channeling the revenge fantasy that so often attends the temporality of trauma is the material precondition of actually ending that trauma. This ultimately suggests that, for both thinkers, anything less than a new, revolutionary humanism equipped with an internationalist political project would betray the victims’ attempt to win back their dignity.

James Baldwin Review
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Universalism and the Jewish question
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

, in this sense, deeply and mutually imbricated. Jewish experiences of universalism have been correspondingly equivocal. Universalism has acted as a stimulus for Jewish emancipation, that is, for civil, political and social inclusion; it has also been a source (though by no means the only 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

in Antisemitism and the left
Jürgen Habermas and the European left
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

the Holocaust, European antisemitism did not simply vanish like a puff of smoke. On her return to Germany in 1950 Hannah Arendt wrote of the resentment some ‘ordinary Germans’ felt for being blamed for Auschwitz. It was as if the real culprits were Jews who exploited the Holocaust for their own benefit, made money out of their suffering, denied the right of Germans to express their own suffering, and accused the Germans of being uniquely evil in their

in Antisemitism and the left
Hannah Arendt’s Jewish writings
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

Jews, but we want to, too. (Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl ) 2 At the time that Horkheimer and Adorno were rethinking their approach to modern antisemitism, Hannah Arendt was also embarking on her own sustained efforts to understand the phenomenon. Initially, she had shown little interest in the question of antisemitism, which she professed had previously ‘bored’ her, but with the rise of Hitler, antisemitism

in Antisemitism and the left
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Philip Roth, antisemitism and the Holocaust
David Brauner

’s ambivalence towards and ultimate endorsement of Roth reflects his own struggles with how best to address his own Jewishness in his work. In a piece entitled ‘Jokes that save us from ourselves’, Jacobson made a rare reference to his personal experience of antisemitism growing up in Manchester: ‘I hated being called a Yid . . . But then I hated everything about being a child’ ( Jacobson 1999c : 13). The fact that he immediately follows his confession of having been a victim of racism with a self-satirical joke that seems designed to pre-empt any pity for his predicament and

in Howard Jacobson
Open Access (free)
Author: David Brauner

This is a comprehensive and definitive study of the Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson. It offers lucid, detailed and nuanced readings of each of Jacobson’s novels, and makes a powerful case for the importance of his work in the landscape of contemporary fiction. Focusing on the themes of comedy, masculinity and Jewishness, the book emphasises the richness and diversity of Jacobson’s work. Often described by others as ‘the English Philip Roth’ and by himself as ‘the Jewish Jane Austen’, Jacobson emerges here as a complex and often contradictory figure: a fearless novelist; a combative public intellectual; a polemical journalist; an unapologetic elitist and an irreverent outsider; an exuberant iconoclast and a sombre satirist. Never afraid of controversy, Jacobson tends to polarise readers; but, love him or hate him, he is difficult to ignore. This book gives him the thorough consideration and the balanced evaluation that he deserves.

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The Second World War and the Balkan Historikerstreit
David Bruce MacDonald

. At the same time, since Croats were mainly CCP supporters, their culpability was significantly reduced. Anti-Semitism in Croatia: Stepinac and the people How Jews were treated in Yugoslavia during the Second World War became another subject of heated debate. If each side was legitimately to claim to be the victims of genocide, of the type experienced by the Jews, then their own relationship with the Jews was crucial. For both Serbs and Croats, Jewish history during the war needed to be carefully revised, to highlight only the 143 2441Chapter5 16/10/02 8:05 am

in Balkan holocausts?
From universalisation to relativism
David Bruce MacDonald

continued presence of an ahistorical negative 40 2441Chapter2 16/10/02 8:03 am Page 41 Instrumentalising the Holocaust: universalisation to relativism agency, able to bind the Jews together, able to again place them within their historical teleology. For many nineteenth-century Zionists, the dangers posed by antiSemitism would prove of crucial importance in rallying co-nationals together to dream of a renewed Israel. While the reality of anti-Semitism arguably stemmed from Roman times, the term was first coined by Wilhelm Marr in 1879, and adopted into his

in Balkan holocausts?