Sunday, April 13, 2003

I agree with a lot of this, but not all. Firstly, it vastly overrates the extent of Jewish influence in Europe in the post-Emancipation, pre-Holocaust era. Secondly, he doesn't talk about Arab anti-Semitism, which in many ways can be largely traced to the same source. Which is odd, because his thesis is a great deal more accurate in referring to the Arab world. In Iraq, for instance, the pre-1948 Jewish population was among the most productive, creative minority groups in the world. They gave an immense amount to Iraqi society and culture and their expulsion to Britain and Israel was a disaster for Iraqi society. The same holds true for Iran, and many other countries. Finally, anti-Semitism wasn't something that developed over time due to anti-modernist trends. It was present right from the beginnings of Emancipation. Theodore Herzl writes The Jewish State, in which he proclaims that Jewish life in Europe is doomed and the only answer is Jewish nationhood, in 1890. Fifty years before the Holocaust. I think the trends Bennet is talking about are much bigger and more widespread then he lets on, they are based in the heart of European culture, and I'm not sure that Europe can divest itself of anti-Semitism and continue to be Europe in its own eyes.


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