Continuity and Discontinuity: From Antisemitism to Antizionism and the Reconfiguration of the Jewish Question
This paper argues that antizionism must be understood, like the antisemitism that came before it, as an ideology. Here I draw upon Arendt’s definition of ideology as a radical distortion of social and political relations. I draw also upon Fine and Spencer’s understanding of the Jewish question as the antisemitic reaction to Jewish emancipation. I argue that antizionism is a reconfiguration of that reaction in the context of Jews’ modern emancipation in the form of national self-determination in the State of Israel. While that modern reaction, antizionism, displays both continuity and discontinuity with the antisemitism that came before it, it remains a manifestation of the Jewish question.
Keywords: Jewish question, Ideology, Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism, Antizionism, Hannah Arendt
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer, Antisemitism and the Left: On the Return of the Jewish Question (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017), 17.
Hannah Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Schocken, 2004), 19.
Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019), x.
See, David Nirenberg, Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition (New York: Norton, 2013), 1-13; Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, 11-20.
Rosenfeld, Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism, ix-xv.
The idea that non-genocidal expressions of antisemitism ended with the end of the Holocaust is implicit in this view. See David Seymour, “Holocaust Memory: Between Universal and Particular,” in The Holocaust in the Twenty-First Century: Contesting/Contested Memories, ed. David Seymour and Mercedes Camino (London: Routledge, 2017), 15-31.
Daniel Kalick, “Israel and the Left: Three Studies of the Crisis: (1) IfNotNow and The Dyke March Controversy,” fathom, 2019, http://fathomjournal.org/israel-and-the-left-three-studies-of-the-crisis-1-ifnot-now-and-the-dykemarch-controversy/.
Fine and Spencer, Antisemitism and the Left, 15-29.
David M. Seymour, “Disavowal, Distinction, and Repetition: Alain Badiou and the Radical Tradition of Antisemitism,” in Unity and Diversity in Contemporary Antisemitism: The Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Colloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism, ed. Jonathan G. Campbell and Lesley D. Klaff (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2019), 203-218.
Always self-perceived as “defeat.”
Willhelm Marr, The Victory of Judaism over Germanism, http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/Marr-Text-English.pdf. See especially, pages 6 and 10.
Alain Badiou, “Uses of the Word ‘Jew’,” in Polemics, trans. Steve Corcoran (London: Verso, 2006), 158-160. For further discussion, see Seymour, “Disavowal, Distinction, and Repetition.”
Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, 3-10.
Indeed, on this issue of legal responsibility in the context of the Holocaust, see David M. Seymour, “‘Good Nations’ and ‘Bad Nations’: Critical Theory, Judgement and the Naturalisation of Memory,” International Journal for the Semiotics of Law 25, no. 3 (2012): 339–354.
Nirenberg, Anti-Judaism, 10.
Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, 604.
Hannah Arendt, “Zionism Reconsidered,” in The Jewish Writings (Schocken: New York, 2008), 345.
Arendt, “Zionism Reconsidered,” 345.
See Susan Linfield, The Lions’ Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt to Noam Chomsky (New Haven: Yale, 2019), 17-79.
Fine and Spencer, Antisemitism and the Left, 76.
For Bauer’s framing of the Jewish question and Marx’s opposition to it, see “On the Jewish Question,” in Marx’s Early Writings (London: Penguin, 2000), 211-242.
Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, 8.
Alan Johnson, “The Left and the Jews: Time for a Rethink,” fathom, Autumn, 2015, http://fathomjournal.org/theleft-and-the-jews-time-for-a-rethink/.
IHRA speaks of “a” and not “the.”
Huda Elmi, “Accepting The full IHRA definition is not the answer to Labour’s antisemitism crisis—here’s what the party should do next,” The Independent, August 15, 2015.
Izabella Tabarovsky, “Soviet Anti-Zionism and Contemporary Left Antisemitism,” fathom, May, 2019, http://fathomjournal.org/soviet-anti-zionism-and-contemporary-left-antisemitism/.
David M. Seymour, “From Auschwitz to Gaza: Ethics for the Want of Law, Journal of Global Ethics 6, no. 2 (2010): 205.
Seymour, “Disavowal, Distinction, and Repetition.”
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