zionism

Electionpocalypse, Part II: The Mythical Jewish Vote

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There is no “Jewish vote.” Jews vote. A small number of them vote for Republicans. Most of them vote for Democrats. Every cycle the Republicans try to improve on their last performance, but Jews are overwhelmingly liberal. So Republicans try to draw them in by talking about Israel, an issue very few of them vote on, but an issue that has the added benefit of helping Republicans shore up their evangelical base.

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How to Separate Jewishness from Zionism

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Parting Ways is Butler’s attempt to construct a Jewish narrative that coheres with her philosophical and political sensibilities as well as her allegiance to her Jewish heritage and lineage. As a Jew for whom religious practice and the Jewish textual tradition do not constitute her Jewish core, hers is a secular narrative of Jewishness outside the orbit of Zionism. Butler’s concern for Israel is that she believes its present construction is “Jewishly” indefensible (in the terms she develops in her book) and the muscularity with which Zionism is proffered squashes any alternative narrative of diasporic Jewish identity.

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The Redemptive Power of Jewish Self-Hatred

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“Jewish self-hatred” is an epithet that Jews fling at other Jews—for not being religious enough, or for daring to criticize Israel. As Paul Reitter puts it in his book, On the Origins of Jewish Self-Hatred, the term is an “an instrument of censure,” a “smear.” Reitter’s title is slightly misleading—the book doesn’t explain why some Jews hate themselves. Instead he explains the origin of the term. Reitter argues that many historians have wrongly assumed that the term has always been censorious, but careful study reveals that Jewish self-hatred was first put forward for a salutary, even messianic purpose.

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