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Jews and Power (Jewish Encounters Series) Hardcover – August 28, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Wisse argues that the uniqueness of the Jewish community exists in a relentless self criticism going back at least to Roman times. Unlike other cultures which faced with powerlessness tended to blame the other, Jews through their first and second exile sought to affix the blame neither to their neighbors nor their stars, but to themselves. Moreover, Wisse shows no shyness about asking tough questions, such as those who imagine prefer being powerless and in danger to being strong. This will make some uncomfortable, but still she pulls no punches.
Another interesting topic covered is the contradiction in anti-Judaism, despising Jews for being both too weak (stateless, poor) and too strong (seizing control of the world, too smart, too rich, and though she gives it insufficient coverage, killing god). As it happens the same paradigm exists today.Read more ›
Wisse is quick to point out that while Jews had been confined to ghettos for centuries, emancipation led to a different type of problem: modern anti-Semitism. The accusations by anti-Semites were intended to show that Jews "were unworthy of the legal and social position conferred upon them." And even when anti-Semitism reached epidemic proportions, the carriers of this malady saw no reason to stop: it appeared to put them at no disadvantage. Meanwhile, the Jews themselves were powerless to stop it, as they were the prey.
As Wisse explains, while some anti-liberal political parties were not "originally or innately anti-Semitic," there were "no anti-Semitic parties that were not innately anti-liberal."
We then get to Zionism, and Wisse explains some of its origins. But, as Wisse tells us, Zionism lacked one ingredient, namely "the military planning force that every nation assumes it needs in order to regain, gain, or maintain its land." Although Wisse traces the start of Jewish defence forces back to 1920, I think that only after years of even more calamities, topped by the 1939 British White Paper, did the majority of Jews realize the need for an independent state, including armed forces.Read more ›
She takes us on a discussion from the loss of Jewish sovereignty in 70 CE, when Roman emperor Titus crushed the Jewish revolt against Roman rule in Israel, burning the Temple in Jerusalem and sending many Jews into Exile, up until the failure of the doomed Oslo Accords leading to the war of terror against the Israeli people launched by Yasser Arafat in 2000,
On note of hope and courage she notes that to her the re-establishment of Israel only three years after the destruction of European Jewry is an even more hopeful augury than the dove's appearance before Noah with an olive leaf after the flood. She rightly pours scorn on modern day would be Hitler, Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
who branded Israel as ' a rotten dried tree that will eliminated by one storm', reminding us that Jews have lived to see the downfall of every Haman and Hitler.
In fact most likely Ahmadinejad is foretelling the fate of his own decayed society.
The basis of her essay is the dual discussion on Jewish survival and the realization that no other people developed a similar long-term culture of accommodation to defeat.
In response to Russian pogroms of 1881 one of the early modern Zionist thinkers Leon Pinkser issued a call for Jewish self-emancipation, arguing that exile had turned the Jews into a nation of zombies. Hebrew poet Haim Nahman Bialik rebuked has fellow Jews for passively allowing themselves to be slaughtered urging self-liberation for Jews to determine their own future.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Incredibly detailed and clear. Helped me to understand the self-destructive tendencies of contemporary Jewish political attitudes.Published 17 months ago by Richard
The book correlates with the article in the Boston newspaper.
The Map Tells the Story
Ruth Wisse’s article in the Jewish Advocate
Dec 17, 2010
Vol. Read more
I am very interested in the present plight with the Jewish people and Israel being continually attacked by jew haters. Read morePublished on December 22, 2013 by high standards
This is an important book to read and would be even better to study with a small group. Initially I bought it because I thought I would have the opportunity to study with Professor... Read morePublished on December 16, 2013 by Eclectic Reader
I just finished this marvelous small book of 184 pages of powerful thoughts about the history of Jews and how they got to re-establish Israel once again. Read morePublished on February 4, 2013 by Nadene Goldfoot
As the saying goes: Two Jews, three opinions. Jewish politics has a long history, as Wisse explains in her thought-provoking analysis and reflection on the Jewish relationship to... Read morePublished on December 26, 2012 by Jordan
As a black man who has read a great deal of Jewish history, both as a potential idealized theoretical model for how blacks might someday finally get their act together and... Read morePublished on April 29, 2011 by Herbert L Calhoun
Wisse's erudite and highly readable survey of Jewish history covers the entire period between the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. and the present day. Read morePublished on October 6, 2009 by Jonathan Groner
The book I started to read , and after 15 pages left it for 8 months to cool down. With author's classification of her views ,I digested that I am not what she would like me to be... Read morePublished on October 3, 2009 by Z. Hanzlik