For at least fifteen years, any keen observer of European society has been aware that antisemitism is no longer a matter of racial theory, nationalism, or exclusion of the “other.” While in the past antisemites saw Jews as all too modern “rootless cosmopolitans” (to use Stalin’s expression), today’s European antisemitism construes them as obsolete precisely because they are attached to their roots, their land, their community, their origin. The Jews are now perceived as a reactionary force that hinders the progress of humankind toward multiculturalism, understood as the peaceful, infinitely enriching coexistence of ethnicities, races, religions, and cultures within the same territory.
The antisemite of yore viewed the Jews as an inferior race; today he views them as racist.
By looking back to the emergence of a postwar theoretical discourse on trauma, memory, victims, suffering, the Holocaust and the Jews, Is Theory Good for the Jews? explores how “French thought” is implicated in intellectual, literary and ideological components of the global and local upsurge of antisemitism. The author probes the legacy of Heidegger in France and exposes the shortcomings of radical social critique and postcolonial theory confronted with the challenge of Islamic terrorism and Jew hatred.
This book is the first effort to analyze French responses that have regrettably played their part in generating the new antisemitism.
Bruno Chaouat is Professor of French at the University of Minnesota
"In this startlingly lucid book, Bruno Chaouat asks why so many of the important theorists of our time, from Alain Badiou to Judith Butler, have failed to confront the problem of the 'new antisemitism.' A must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of contemporary politics and critical theory."
Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French and Director, Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism, Yale University
Professor Maurice Samuels, Director, Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism, Yale University
'The reader will be fascinated by the deftness with which Chaouat
triangulates such opppositions as Sephardic/Ashkenazi, Israélite/Juif, Jew of
the flesh/Jew of the spirit, infinitely expanding Europe/infinitely expanding
Jihad. This is a remarkable book. ' Professor Jeffrey Mehlman, Boston University
234 x 156 mm
December 16, 2016
Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 43