Essays on Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism, and the Left
Published by: Indiana University Press
In April 1945, Jean Améry was liberated from the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. A Jewish and political prisoner, he had been brutally tortured by the Nazis, and had also survived both Auschwitz and other infamous camps. His experiences during the Holocaust were made famous by his book At the Mind's Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor of Auschwitz and Its Realities.
Essays on Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism, and the Left features a collection of essays by Améry translated into English for the first time. Although written between 1966 and 1978, Améry's insights remain fresh and contemporary, and showcase the power of his thought.
Originally written when leftwing antisemitism was first on the rise, Améry's searing prose interrogates the relationship between anti-Zionism and antisemitism and challenges the international left to confront its failure to think critically and reflectively.
1. On the Impossible Obligation to Be a Jew
2. Between Vietnam and Israel
3. Virtuous Antisemitism
4. The New Left's Approach to "Zionism"
5. Jews, Leftists, Leftist Jews
6. The New Antisemitism
7. Shylock, Kitsch, and Its Hazards
8. Virtuous Antisemitism
9. The Limits of Solidarity
10. My Jewishness
Note on Sources
Amery's searing and indispensable reflection on the Nazi death camps, At the Mind's Limits, has now been supplemented by this prescient collection that foresaw the rise of leftwing antisemitism and described its motivations and impact with exceptional clarity. The result is a book that interrogates the present moment from the moral and philosophical perspective of the Shoah. This is a compelling book that everyone concerned with our destiny should read.~Cary Nelson, author of Dreams Deferred and Not in Kansas Anymore
Remove the dates and historical markers on some of the essays, and you will think you are reading a contemporary critique of the left vis-à-vis the Jews and Israel. Jean Améry, for that reason, was, as much a major witness to the catastrophe, as a visionary intellectual who admonished those who had perverted the progressive project into the infamous "socialism of the fools." This collection of elegant translations prefaced by Alvin Rosenfeld shows an intellectual and a witness immune to all dogmas and whose heart and reason constitute the only measure of his ethical judgement.~Bruno Chaouat, author of Is Theory Good for the Jews? French Thought and the Challenge of the New Antisemitism
If there's a cure for today's woke antisemitism, this is it. Camouflaged as anti-Zionism, the world's oldest hatred runs amok on the left in new forms after World War II (which stigmatized old-fashioned, rightwing Jew-hatred for a time), as Améry saw ahead of the rest. Anti-Zionism is antisemitism, he recognized unflinchingly. In sum, there is no discussion worth having of campus antisemitism, the movement to boycott Israel, the upsurge in attacks on Jews around the world or Israeli-diaspora relations that ignores this prescient and piercing, achingly lucid volume~Gabriel Noah Brahm, Northern Michigan University