Conversations with Robert: “Jews as Jews” and the Critique of the Critique
I first met Robert some twenty-five years ago. I had just begun my PhD. As time passed, it was evident that things were not working out between me and my then supervisor, and Robert, whom I had met earlier, stepped in and offered to take over. After a little hesitation (and for the very reasons Robert had identi- fied), I agreed. I think it would not be an over- statement to say that without that intervention, I would have simply given up.
Robert had an uncanny way of building up what was, by then, my shattered confidence. It was only after I had finished that I realized how Robert put me back together both emotionally and academically. Robert would respond to my work, first, by saying how good it was, how insightful, and then spend the rest of the time gently taking it (but not me) to pieces while at the same time moving me in directions and making connections I did not see myself.
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This essay is a version of a paper delivered on the occasion of the “In memoriam Robert Fine” plenary session at the “Global Perspectives on Racism, Antisemitism and Nationalism” conference, University of Ferrara, September 2018.
See also, David M. Seymour and Mercedes Camino, “Holocaust Memory: Between Universal and Particular,” in David M. Seymour and Mercedes Camino, eds., The Holocaust in the Twenty-First Century: Contesting/Contested
Memories (New York: Routledge, 2016), 15–32.
Published as Law, Antisemitism and the Holocaust (Routledge-Cavendish: London, 2007).
See, for example, Rebecca Vilkomerson and Richard Kuper, “As Jews, we reject the myth that it’s antisemitic to call
Israel racist,” The Independent, July 22, 2018.
Brian Klug, “What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Antisemitsm’? Echoes of shattering glass” Proceedings / International
conference. “Antisemitism in Europe Today: the Phenomena, the Conflicts,” November 8–9, 2013.
Robert Fine, Political Investigations: Hegel, Marx and Arendt (Routledge: London, 2001).
See Robert Fine’s “Ten Reasons Why I Oppose Boycotts Against Israeli Academics (And Why You Should Too” in the
current journal. Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism.
Ibid; Robert Fine, Cosmopolitanism (Routledge: London, 2007); Robert Fine and Philip Spencer, Antisemitism and
the Left: On the Return of the Jewish Question (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017).
Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment (London: Verso, 2016).
Jean-Francois Lyotard. Heidegger and “the Jews” (Minnesota: University Of Minnesota Press, 1990).
Sara Roy, “How can children of the Holocaust do such things? A Jewish Plea,” Counterpunch, April 7, 2007.
See Alain Badiou, Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil trans. Peter Hallward (London: Verso, 2013); Alain
Badiou, “Introduction: Uses of the Word ‘Jew,’” in Polemics, trans. Steve Corcoran (London: Verso, 2006); and Alain
Badiou, Eric Hazan, and Ivan Segre, Reflections on Anti-Semitism (London: Verso, 2013).
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1st ed. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1973).
See Fine and Spencer, Antisemitism and the Left, 73–77.
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