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The Imaginary Jew
The Holocaust changed what it means to be a Jew, for Jew and non-Jew alike. Much of the discussion about this new meaning is a storm of contradictions. In The Imaginary Jew, Alain Finkielkraut describes with passion and acuity his own passage through that storm. Finkielkraut decodes the shifts in anti-Semitism at the end of the Cold War, chronicles the impact of Israel’s p ...more
Paperback, 201 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by University of Nebraska Press
(first published 1980)
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Very french. This book is difficult to summarize, since it contains so many ideas and fragments of ideas. The premise that the author - a jewish philosopher from France - works from is that the Holocaust was basically successful as a program for annihilating the culture of European Jewry (the yiddishkayt), even though it failed to physically eliminate the Jewish people. Perversely, the creation of Israel had the effect of actually accelerating this destruction, since the Israelis self-consciousl ...more
I found this book problematic and self-contradictory. At first, it was mesmerizing, but part three shut down any possible dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nevertheless, the book presented often thought about issues in new and interesting ways, and for the most part made a great deal of sense. It was only near the end Finkielkraut forced me to be skeptical through his own contradictions.