Talal Ansari focuses on foreign policy and affairs, international conflict and human rights issues abroad.
“Israel’s One-State Reality,” by David Remnick. The New Yorker, November 17, 2014 Issue.
“It’s not just Jews against Arabs. It’s the Orthodox versus those who don’t think they can keep all six hundred and thirteen commandments of the Bible. It’s rich people versus poor people. At some point, something came over Israel so that everyone has his own ideas—and everyone else is an enemy,” said Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s president and member of the right-wing Likud party. “It’s a dialogue among deaf people and it is getting more and more serious.”
What’s most troubling about these quotes is not just the pervasive intolerable politics that are occurring inside the Knesset, it’s that these words are coming from a right-wing politician about his peers and nation who have veered even further right than once imaginable. This is the state of affairs in Israel, and this is the climate in which a solution seems even more unattainable.
“I’m not asking if we’ve forgotten how to be Jewish,” he said, “but if we’ve forgotten how to be human.”
Aaron Braun focuses on the psychology and politics of work, histories of socialism, and critiques of Israeli exceptionalism.
“Shlomo Sand is not Jewish Any More,” by Phillip Kleinfeld. Vice, November 10, 2014.
There is a long history of Jewish writers and intellectuals who have been controversially critical of their own cultural ties. Karl Marx is a famous example, and others include Hannah Arendt, though I think her received rebellion against the Jewish community was more of a scapegoating than an active repudiation. In his recent book How I Stopped Being a Jew, Shlomo Sand has joined the ranks of thinkers who have repudiated their Jewish identity, conceivably in an attempt to do justice to the memory of it as something worth fighting for. This approach differs from those of other so-called “post-Zionists” (see Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism) who attempt to rebuild a Jewish identity (sometimes secular, sometimes religious) that is detached from nationalisms, chauvinisms, jingoisms and other related isms.