This chapter examines: (1) the Black Notebooks in the context of Heidegger's political engagement on behalf of the National Socialist regime and his ambivalence toward some but not all of its political beliefs and tactics; (2) his limited "critique" of vulgar National Socialism and its biologically based racism for the sake of his own ethnocentric vision of the historical uniqueness of the German people and Germany's central role in Europe as a contested site situated between West and East, technological modernity (...) and the Asiatic. Heidegger did not break with radical right-wing Germanist thought, as some scholars have argued. He at most placed National Socialism within his narrative of the history of being, metaphysics, and technology, and thereby relativized it without addressing either its uniqueness or its totalitarian structures and practices. Heidegger formulated his own metaphysical and ontological version of Antisemitism during the National Socialist period. This vision was deeply connected with his understanding of the "history of being" and was intensified during and immediately after the Second World War. Heidegger could perceive no difference between the Shoah and the Allied bombing, defeat, and occupation of Germany. Heidegger's post-war philosophy (of home, history and technology) is deeply shaped by, and remained complicit with, his thinking during this period. (shrink)
Unlike “Imperialism” and “Totalitarianism,” the last two chapters in Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism, written in the United States in the 1940s, the completion of the first chapter, “Antisemitism”, was preceded by more than two decades of writing in Europe and in the United States, during which Arendt found it increasingly necessary to address issues related to the Jews’ political and social situation. The chapter may be only one part of the book, but it is in fact the (...) “origin of The Origins” and its cornerstone. In order to trace several themes of this seminal chapter, we must analyze the contribution of the French Jewish thinker, Bernard Lazare, to Arendt’s thinking. Without him, “Antisemitism” would never have coalesced and seen the light of day as a political analysis of the phenomenon. Without the “Antisemitism” chapter, The Origins of Totalitarianism would not have become a canonical work of twentieth-century political thought. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on the resurgence of antisemitism. It argues that Hannah Arendt is a great prop and stay and comfort in dark times like these, because she was always very acute on the morbidly stupid element of totalitarianism. The absurdity of totalitarian thinking is related to its attack on the life of the mind, and Arendt was quite right to insist on confronting this anti-intellectual element of totalitarianism and the racist element in it.
Summary Despite his repudiation of antisemitism, Renan influenced the development of antisemitic ideologies in both France and Germany. His typology of ?Semite? and ?Aryan? was adopted especially in Germany and and combined with biological concepts of race to become the foundation of the concepts of ?Semitism? and ?Antisemitism?. Renan, however, always insisted on a linguistic/cultural definition of race and regarded the biological conception, while it might have had some primitive reality, as outmoded and immoral in European civilization. After (...) 1870 the growth of German racial antisemitism led Renan to elaborate repeatedly on race as a civilisational phenomenon that in modern Europe should have lost its biological origins. His argument that modern Jews were integral members of the French ?nation? and ?civilization? was profoundly influential on the emergence of the theory of the modern ?nation? as the liberal state. Gobineau's theory of race also lent itself to exploitation by racial antisemites, though it was not overtly antisemitic. Unlike Renan, however, Gobineau in his later years inclined to a vague personal antisemitism. The main difference was one of temperament as well as devotion on Renan's part to a liberal idea of the nation, as opposed to Gobineau's aversion to liberalism and modern civilization. (shrink)
The history of the Frankfurt School cannot be fully told without examining the relationships of Critical Theorists to their Jewish family backgrounds. Jewish matters had significant effects on key figures in the Frankfurt School, including Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Erich Fromm, Leo Lowenthal and Herbert Marcuse. At some points, their Jewish family backgrounds clarify their life paths; at others, these backgrounds help to explain why the leaders of the School stressed the significance of antisemitism. In the post-Second World (...) War era, the differing relationships of Critical Theorists to their Jewish origins illuminate their distinctive stances toward Israel. This book investigates how the Jewish backgrounds of major Critical Theorists, and the ways in which they related to their origins, impacted upon their work, the history of the Frankfurt School, and differences that emerged among them over time. (shrink)
_Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Interreligious Hermeneutics: Ways of Seeing the Religious Other_ examines the hermeneutics of interreligious encounter, investigating the implicit judgments of Judaism and Islam that often arise in contexts of conflict.
With the publication of Martin Heidegger’s Black Notebooks, it has become impossible to avoid Heidegger’s anti-Semitism. There has been the expected controversy with Heideggerians on the defensive and the philosopher’s detractors condemning his work outright. But there has been little serious exploration of the matter aside from several recent works. This article builds on this literature on Heidegger’s anti-Semitism and concludes that an anti-Semitic narrative lies at the heart of Heidegger’s history of the oblivion of Being as nihilism. Moreover, Heidegger (...) adopts the narrative framework set up by Friedrich Nietzsche in On the Genealogy of Morality. In the end, we assert that Heidegger advocates a kind of war against Judaism that seeks to eradicate the Jewish influence in the western tradition. Heidegger’s ‘metaphysical’ anti-Semitism aims to overcome the nihilism of the ‘Jewish Christian’ revenge [Rache] against death, a nihilism that has evolved into the technological effort to make everything secure. (shrink)
“Is X good for the Jews?” This is the formula Bruno Chaouat borrows for the title of his recent book. It’s a cliché of a question, one that suggests notes of antisemitic caricature as well as Jewish self-parody. The formula may be imagined in the voice of the antisemite, whose perennial accusation against the Jews is that they are insular and parochial, exclusively concerned for their own, tribal welfare. Alternatively, it may be imagined in the voice of the shlemiehl, the (...) Jewish version of the fool archetype, scripted to say such things by a self-reflective and self-parodic Jewish comedy writer. So, it’s a question that antisemites may imagine Jews to ask, and one that Jews may imagine antisemites imagine Jews to... (shrink)
“Just for the record, however: I don't hate Communists.” So wrote Arcadius Rudolph Lang Gurland to his longtime friend, colleague, and collaborator Otto Kirchheimer in 1958.1 Behind this straightforward statement lay over thirty years of Gurland's experience as a passionate scholar, spokesperson, and advocate of that most dialectical of the many forms of socialist politics, revolutionary social democracy. Throughout his peripatetic life of near-constant exile in Russia, Germany, France, and the United States as student, journalist, theoretician, researcher, writer, teacher, and (...) translator in the service of political organizations, newspapers, research institutions, universities, governments, publishers, and his own political and scholarly.. (shrink)
A considerable number of workers interviewed have stated their belief that Jews have too much power. The notion of power in this context has a wide range. It covers the most diversified phenomena—from holding minor positions in administration or business to dominating everything and wielding unchecked power over the world. The idea of Jewish power as it fascinates our interviewees is vague and hazy. To establish its real contents, it seems advisable to discuss these statements first that refer to the (...) widest and most comprehensive concept of universal Jewish domination. In statements made by our interviewees, references to Jews as.. (shrink)
This article analyses a New Year’s revue from 1929 by Helsinki-born Jac Weinstein and the image of the Jewish merchant. Many stereotypes concerning ethnicity and gender are at play in the revue and the line between humour, Jewish self-deprecation and antisemitic depiction of the Jew becomes blurred. The questionable business ethics of Jewish merchants is one of the core themes of the revue.The article asks what role ethnic stereotypes played in Jewish humour before the height of National Socialist racial (...) class='Hi'>antisemitism, and what purpose such performances served. It examines the various stereotypes found in the couplets, sketches and one-act plays in Weinstein’s kleynkunst performance against the background of transnational Jewish performing arts and current research on Jewish entrepreneurship and antisemitism in Finland. (shrink)
This work traces the evolution of Jewish representation(s) of Europe since the Emancipation, focusing on the cultural image of Europe among the Eastern-European Jewish intelligentsia, in relation with the process of building a modern, national Jewish identity. The author mentions the idea of “abandoning” Europe which occured in the Zionist ideology and in the post-Holocaust Israeli public discourse due to the impact of modern political antisemitism, and to the influence of the European national ideologies. This study discusses the new (...) tendencies of the Israeli society and culture to “rediscover” Europe and to re-build the cultural and spiritual bridges between Israel and the postcommunist Eastern Europe. Outlined in their recent books, the perspectives of two outstanding Israeli writers, such as Amos Oz and Aharon Appelfeld, are used, here, to exemplify this new approach. (shrink)
The present study is an ideography applied to the work and intellectual activity of the Romanian-born Jewish scholar Leon Volovici. A careful analysis of his writings reveals a series of essential directions - landmarks and recurrent themes of his work - that Volovici himself followed without hesitation throughout his intellectual becoming. Succinctly, the case of Leon Volovici represents a remarkable model of practicing cultural dialogue and achieving intellectual histories from several perspectives. In addition to brief introductory considerations and concluding remarks, (...) this study focuses upon the following dimensions of his writings: i) the role of intellectual dialogue and the meaning of dialogic culture in Volovici's view; ii) the systematic presentation of the dimensions of Romanian antisemitism in the period between 1850 and 1940; iii) the presentation of the historical and sociological dimensions of the idea of writer in Romanian culture and iv) the remembrance of Volovici's identity in the context of his wanderings through distinct geographic spaces. Our conclusion is that all these dimensions are coherent with one another, making up the general image of Leon Volovici's work. (shrink)
Introduction -- A metaphysical necessity -- Maritain's Jewish question, 1921-1937 -- The evil fire that consumes peoples -- Apocalyptic antisemitism, 1938-1941 -- The passion of Israel -- Final solution and mass crucifixion, 1942-1944 -- Spiritually, the exile is not over -- Reflecting on the Holocaust, 1945-1970 -- Conclusion.
Jean-Claude Milner’s Le sage trompeur (2013), a controversial recent piece of French Spinoza literature, remains regrettably understudied in the English-speaking world. Adopting Leo Strauss’ esoteric reading method, Milner alleges that Spinoza dissimulates his genuine analysis of the causes of the persecution and survival of the Jewish people within a brief “manifesto” found at the end of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (TTP), Chapter 3. According to Milner, Spinoza holds that the Jewish people themselves are responsible for the hatred of the Jewish people, (...) and that the engine of their longevity is the hatred they engender. Additionally, claims Milner, Spinoza covertly insinuates that the solution to this persistent state of hatred consists in the mass apostasy of the Jewish people under the leadership of a Sabbatai Zevi-like figure. This article presents the Milner–Spinoza controversy to the English-speaking public along with the larger context of French-language scholarship on Spinoza’s relation to Judaism. While refuting Milner’s reading of Spinoza, I simultaneously clarify relevant elements of Spinoza’s discussions of Judaism in the TTP, such as Spinoza’s examination of Jewish identity and the nature of divine election, Spinoza’s understanding of the causes of national hatred, and Spinoza’s appeals to Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, and Turkish political history. (shrink)