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If I am not for myself- : the liberal betrayal of the Jews

Author: Ruth R Wisse
Publisher: New York : Free Press, ©1992.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
For over a century, Jews have been identified with liberalism. Not only have they been a driving force behind the spread of liberal politics; they have also been steadfastly loyal to a doctrine that promised them both safety and political acceptance. Recent evidence suggests that their commitment has not waned. But while Jews continue to stand up for other groups and "vote their conscience," contends Ruth Wisse, the  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Wisse, Ruth R.
If I am not for myself-
New York : Free Press, ©1992
(OCoLC)614837766
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ruth R Wisse
ISBN: 002935434X 9780029354346
OCLC Number: 26129105
Description: xiv, 225 pages ; 22 cm
Responsibility: Ruth R. Wisse.

Abstract:

Wisse argues that liberals must re-examine their attitude towards the Jewish question and extend their own principles of tolerance to the Jews by condemning those who seek to persecute or annihilate  Read more...

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schema:description"For over a century, Jews have been identified with liberalism. Not only have they been a driving force behind the spread of liberal politics; they have also been steadfastly loyal to a doctrine that promised them both safety and political acceptance. Recent evidence suggests that their commitment has not waned. But while Jews continue to stand up for other groups and "vote their conscience," contends Ruth Wisse, the liberal commitment to the Jews is not nearly so strong. Whenever Jews have been attacked - from the trial of Captain Dreyfus to the sustained military and political war against Israel - liberals have been slow to defend Jewish rights and have preferred instead to hold the Jews responsible for the persistence of their enemies. The explanation for this liberal default, Wisse argues, is the survival and success of anti-Semitism. This irrational idea continues to flourish throughout the world, despite the destruction of the fascist and communist regimes that were its deadliest twentieth-century allies. Wisse points out that anti-Semitism's astonishing resilience has put liberals - including liberal Jews - in an impossible position. The only reasonable response to such a doctrine, Wisse insists, is not appeasement or avoidance, but steadfast confrontation and rejection. Yet such opposition is alien to liberal ideas of open-mindedness and strikes many as intolerant. Unwilling to suspend their optimistic view of man as a benevolent and rational being in order to combat a mortal enemy, most liberals - including many Jews - conclude that Jews themselves must be responsible for the continuing wars against them - thus implicitly condoning their sacrifice. Wisse's book, inspired by a friend's emigration to Israel, traces the Jewish romance with liberalism from its discovery by Jewish integrationists and Zionists to the acceptance today by many Jews of a moral equivalence between Zionism and the war against it. She also explores, among the many contradictions of modern Jewish politics, the ambiguous question of Jewish "chosenness," and the Jewish longing for acceptance in a larger human family; the successful Arab war of ideas against Israel; and the dilemma of Jewish writers and intellectuals who wish to transcend their parochializing siege. Above all, she shows how and why anti-Semitism became the twentieth century's most successful ideology and reveals what people in liberal democracies would have to do to prevent it from once again achieving its goal."@en
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