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on September 19, 2013
A remarkably well researched and written with depths seldom found. Wisdom supported with evidence utilyzing the full spectrum of disciplines and presented with a unique writers style that allows for an informed insertion of the personal with the objective. This is a difficult book to read because it examines the full human history of this specie's evident need to refuse acceptance of personal responsibility for their painful emotions and to project these unbearable feelings onto the most vulnerable group available. I can only stand in awe of both the scholarship and the author's courage.
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VINE VOICEon December 21, 2006
Andrea Dworkin first opened my eyes in 1978 in the pages of Woman Hating, and she can still stretch my mind until it hurts!

Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel and Women's Liberation would have been better titled The Holocaust of the Jews and Violence Against Women: A Study of Comparisons.

There is no liberation for the women in this book, nor is women's liberation even defined - but violence against women certainly is, and nobody can put violence against women in context like Andrea Dworkin. The sad part is that her writing has become so academic that the very women who could benefit from this book couldn't possibly follow it - it's mind bending, as we used to say in the sixties. Poor, oppressed, exploited women don't have the time or the energy to untangle the philosophy and the logic Dworkin has taken such pains to evolve - only college professors do. They thrive on it.

Andrea Dworkin changed my life by showing me the nature of my own oppression, so that I could find my way out of it. The nature of oppression and exploitation is also known, in psychiatrist's terms, as projection. The perpetrator blames the victim for their own suffering even as he cracks the whip. So do survivors take on the role of perpetrator if they manage to avoid any effort at healing their own wounds. So does Israel take on the role of Fascist in the ever present PTSD of the history of their own suffering.

How do we end the violence? By breaking the cycle. How do we break the cycle? Certainly not by invasion, colonialization, and war. Dworkin names the violence no one dares to name, i.e. the use of prostitution in Nazi concentration camps by both Nazis and Jews alike. And yet, no matter how horrific the stories of suffering may be, only Dworkin had the courage to tell that one, which even the most articulate Jew would rather remained invisible, hidden in shame, those women and their courage and their suffering never counted.

This book should be mandatory reading in all upper level women's studies courses, with much food for thought, discussion and hopefully, action.

It appears Dworkin never learned about Project Monarch. One wonders what she would have said about that.
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on August 8, 2000
_Scapegoat_, Andrea Dworkin's first book of the twenty-first century, is a work which raises, once again, the question of what it is to be human.
The question is implicit in any discussion of _dehumanization_. Were the Jews in Germany dehumanized by the anti-semitic propaganda of the Nazis, or can the acceptance of the images of Jews presented in anti-semitic propaganda be compatible with the recognition of Jews as human beings? Are the women in pornography dehumanized by what Dworkin sees as the misogynistic propaganda of pornographers, or can the acceptance of the images of women presented in pornography be compatible with the recognition of women as human beings?
Dworkin's answers - "no" to both questions - stem from the conviction that there is something that it is to be human which is not compatible with being the stigmatized, objectified target of legitimized violence. One cannot be a human being and simultaneously be the kind of being whom it is just, reasonable and perhaps even erotically satisfying for another human being to rape, torture and kill. The willingness - to borrow a phrase - of Hitler's executioners to rape, torture and kill millions of Jews strongly implies that they did not and could not regard the Jews as human beings. According to Dworkin, the banality and ubiquity of rape and prostitution in male-dominated societies indicate a similar "willingness" among men, and a similar refusal or inability to perceive the humanity of their victims.
_Scapegoat_ asks what it is to be human, and rejects the answer that it is to be Aryan, or middle class, or male in a world in which non-Aryans, the poor and women are contrastingly less than human. Dworkin sees this answer as one of the underpinnings of the modern state, be it US or Israeli, where accession to full humanity and citizenship means casting off the stigma of dehumanization *and transferring it to others*. The scapegoat is made to be the bearer of one's own past humiliation and dishonour. Hence the astonishing malice of many of those who have escaped from poverty towards those who remain poor, the immense rage of the newly affluent against the "idle, immoral, irresponsible" underclass from whom they must struggle to distinguish themselves. Becoming "respectable" often means taking on the values and attitudes of those who formerly treated you like dirt.
Dworkin argues for a conception of the state the humanity and citizenship of whose members is not predicated on the scapegoating and dehumanization of the poor and stateless. She demands sovereignty for women, and predicts that organised, concerted and possibly violent struggle will be necessary to obtain it. Note that sovereignty does not mean social domination: Dworkin is not arguing for a substitution of female supremacism for male supremacism, but for a non-supremacist notion of sovereignty, a concept of the human which would not be merely a metaphysical transliteration of the social self-image of slavers and aristocrats.
The questions posed by _Scapegoat_ - and it is, substantially, a book of questions - are in my view fundamental; whether or not one agrees with Dworkin (for instance about deconstruction: here let me register an anguished squeak of dissent at her acceptance of David Lehman's ignorant characterisation of postmodern thought as the ingenious dissimulation of its own politically tainted origins. She could have read Lyotard, or Lacoue-Labarthe, or Derrida on the holocaust and learned otherwise. No doubt other matters seemed more urgent at the time), one must recognise that her writing and analysis strike at the nerve of many of the most difficult and painful issues of our political and personal lives.
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on September 30, 2000
Just as Orwell was roundly attacked by the liberal left for daring to suggest that Stalin was as bad as Hitler, so Dworkin seems to arouse the ire of the left as thoroughly as the right! I have never seen such vitriolic reviews as those she receives. Yet her analyses of social problems -- femininist or otherwise -- are breathtaking in that you find yourself constantly saying -- Of course! That's why -- And in this she has the same effect as Tom Paine when he wrote Common Sense and The Rights of Man. Yet we live in very different times, when any form of criticism of the status quo is repressed, minimalized or mocked and Dworkin has received a barrage of heavy duty artillery. Powerful people have said how much they hate her. Newspaper proprietors insist that their papers carry no mention of her unless it is to attack her. People are fired (I know this from experience) for daring to suggest her analysis of pornography, for instance, is about the most coherent understanding of the problem we all face, especially those of us who are parents of young children. She also provides a constitutional means of dealing with pornography, and that is why people find her so dangerous -- she doesn't moralise about 'filth' and violence. She suggests the deep causes and she proposes solutions. Apparently, this makes people very angry, especially, I suspect, those with vested interest in pornography. Dworkin supports the First Amendment and knows how to attack pornography. What's wrong with that ? This new book is almost light reading compared with Intercourse, say, or even the relentless Mercy, but it asks a question we should all be asking -- how does a gun culture develop from an idealistic republic overthrowing oppression and the power of the gun ? Her answer is weary in a way -- if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Just as dedicated internationalists supported Zionism, so does Dworkin the feminist suggest that women should take up the gun and fight for their own nation state. It's a visionary text, like many of her books, but it is extraordinarily stimulating in the questions it raises and the answers it proposes. A large percentage of this book is source reference and as usual Dworkin has quoted chapter and verse for every statement she makes. People were shocked of her reports of obscenities performed by Israeli soldiers before disgusted Palestinian women, to disperse a demonstration. Exactly the same tactics were described by the women of Greenham Common, England, when they were part of the Peace Camp trying to stop American nuclear missiles being sited in the UK. The British soldiers behaved identically. This has a lot to do with male confusion between aggression and sexuality and maybe that's why nobody wants to debate the issues Dworkin raises. Thank goodness for the internet, Amazon books, and a chance for ordinary readers to voice their enthusiasm and support for one of the grand, eloquent voices of our age. Mary Morris, Austin, Texas
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on June 15, 2000
In "Scapegoat," Andrea Dworkin comes clean. For the better part of her career, she has been dropping hints about the connections, or parallels, or metaphorical affinities between the Holocaust and violence against women. These hints have always had a meretricious quality in the absence of a detailed argument. "Scapegoat" comes as a true surprise. This book is not "Intercourse" plus the well-worn Holocaust analogy as an indicator of oppression: it is a serious monograph on the comparative lot of stateless peoples, including women. Dworkin's quotes from Jewish and non-Jewish writers are respectful and attentive, though self-indulgent in sheer number. Her analysis of Jewish religion and culture is critical but fair and reflective of great pride. The apocalyptic kitsch which the reader has a right to expect from Dworkin is less often on display here, and though men don't come off too well, there is relatively little time spent on deconstructions of "male" sexuality as the root of violence. Dworkin here is far more pragmatic: she blames any form of entrenched power and its abuses. This book is the closest Dworkin has ever come to mainstream cultural studies. If there is any justice in same, she will receive the readership "Scapegoat" deserves: people who sit through 600 pages a throw of Lacan, Foucault or Donna Haraway ought to be able to stomach this book with no trouble at all. In a perfect world.
But though this is Dworkin's best, most lucid and readable nonfiction book, it finally suffers by promoting just that which it argues to defeat, and what its existence calls into question almost by definition: presumptions of the ontological "uniqueness" of the Holocaust. The comparison to the abuse of women is not meant to relativize either, though the book's anthology of quotes offers a good deal of evidence for doing so. It is, instead, meant to assign to women an ontological specialness equivalent to being Jewish. Quite apart from the morally problematic nature of any such specialness, Dworkin falters badly on the necessary follow-through. The specialness of suffering results from a landless status which Dworkin is right in assuming not to be uniquely Jewish. By her own admission, there is no equivalent in specific female experience to the Jewish religion, which she correctly identifies as the unifying factor that has allowed even secular Jews to experience themselves as "chosen." Her alternative may be feminist ethical consciousness, but the analogy suffers from the fact that this is by definition a consciousness meant to transcend national boundaries. Like many other Jewish feminists, she identifies with Zionism and offers a severe yet forgiving analysis of its treatment of the Palestinians. She makes a fascinating parallel between Jewish ghettoization of Palestinians and feminist disdain for sexually abused women. Yet this analogy finally does not wash either. After four hundred pages devoted to the concept of both women and Jews as stateless people, the reader must be skeptical about prostitutes as an ethnicity, or "Zionism for women." Dworkin wants the possibility to exist and her understanding of the uniquely pained Israeli consciousness earns respect; all the same, she is too invested in the idea of nationalism as masculine and statelessness as female to propose a feminist separatist nationalism in credible terms.
"Scapegoat," then, tries hard to break new ground, both for feminists and for diasporan peoples, but finally ends up exposing the author's terrible and very Jewish dilemma: unable to choose either nationalism or statelessness in good conscience and yet left with the inescapable sense of chosenness and its burdens. All the same, it is a memorable summa by this country's best-known Jewish feminist, sacrificing her often tendentious originality for a reiteration of the Jewish question that honors its often-ignored sexual politics. Whether it does justice to them is a whole other question. "Scapegoat" can be read as a tissue of cliches on the subject; but people do think in cliches, and Dworkin does an adequate, sometimes uncanny job of describing how people tend to think about things. She will tell us that it is up to us to decide if that is how they are--with deeds as well as words. And words, as she has so often said, are deeds. It is in its reflection of the power of words about crimes and their victims that "Scapegoat" is most valuable as word and deed.
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VINE VOICEon August 6, 2012
Never have I read such a complete hash of a book as this one.

This book is more of a personal psychological drama exposing the utter ignorance of the writer --- regarding history, faith, the motives for Arab hatred of Jews --- in fact, on most every subject she touches.

And then, to add insult to injury, she strings a vast array of historical anecdotes together with badly misconstrued ideas and personal perceptions that resemble the hallucinations of a person overdosed on heroin, angel dust or L.S.D. ---- or a combination of all of the above.

Obviously, the Nazi regime was an evil force, and those who resisted it took life-threatening risks at every turn. And many succumbed in the effort, including (for example) siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, the leaders of the White Rose German resistance movement executed in 1943 (p. 131).

Also obviously, the Turkish genocide of 1.5 to 2 million or more Armenians (pp. 113-114) preceded and encouraged the Nazi genocide of Jews by virtue of the silence that greeted the late 19th and early 20th century Islamic jihad against the Ottoman empire's Armenian Christians.

But just as Dworkin fails to identify the Turkish genocide as jihad, she also fails miserably to identify Islam's imperialistic and supremacist nature, from its beginnings. Dworkin relies heavily on the infamous Karen Armstrong (pp. 278), well-known both for her contempt for Israel and the Jewish people, and a hagiographic rendition of Mohammed's life totally ignoring his 627 atrocity against Medina's last major Jewish tribe, the Qurayza, with the slaughter of all their men and pubescent boys and enslavement of their women and children.

Apart from men, at whom Dworkin directs extreme venom, she reserves a great deal of ire for Jewish Israelis who do not like her bemoan all the "injustices" she perceives everywhere in Israeli life. And she quotes only the far-left Israel-bashing ideologues to sustain what she fashions into a personal, quite unique genre of Jew-hatred.

I shall echo another reviewer who noted Dworkin's preoccupation with "bad scholarship," by which I presume he meant her tendency to quote the lamest of the lame and the worst of the worst to make her "most important" points.

About the only important thing that can be taken from this book is pulp. It is best suited for the recycling plant, which is exactly where my copy is now headed.

--- Alyssa A. Lappen
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on March 20, 2006
This work took Dworkin NINE years to complete. And it really shows when one sits down to read it. It is incredibly well researched; indeed, most of the book is quotes from others and then Andrea's questions--tough questions--regarding them. Make no mistake however, you will not get the same information simply by reading the works of others; Andrea only picks the best of the best sources to quote, and the questions she asks are brilliant.

I absolutely cannot say enough good things about this book. It was the first Andrea Dworkin book I completed. Now, I can't wait to get my hands (or rather, eyes) on another one. :-)
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on March 6, 2001
I've been a fan of Dworkin ever since I read her "Letters from a Warzone". She's a brilliant polemicist. "Scapegoat", though, was a little too bland. There is nothing truly radical or revelatory about it, unless the reader is an extremist already. She dealed a little with the issue of the Palestinian becoming the "new scapegoat", but didn't go as far as many other authors have. For someone that has critiqued the construction of gender, I find it odd that she hasn't critiqued the construction of race. Instead, she embraces the idea of race and, in my mind, just reinforces racial divisions.
All of this aside, it still had a number of enjoyable parts. It was not, however, as interesting and important as previous books she has written.
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on June 9, 2000
I loved this book! Dworkin writes to provoke, elucidate and to inspire-not to entertain. This is a truthful book, and the truth is dangerous. Dworkin's deftly crafted comparative analysis of women's and the Jews' plight powerfully illustrates male oppression. The Kirkus reviewer never read Scapegoat-or did so with half an eye. For a reviewer to claim that historical facts are due to "Dworkin's own bitter personal feelings (rooted in her experience as a battered woman)" is pitiful. The comments in the Kirkus review are willfully misleading. This book is a definitive piece on human oppression should not be missed!
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on September 17, 2014
Andrea Dworkin would have been MARKED by old supreme haters of Jews and of women because a nonhysterical, nonunkempt Andrea Dworkin could have effectively delivered solid insights and research on THIS:

I want the rapes documented, the brothels delineated, the summary murders of pregnant women discussed. I want the medical experiments--excision of genitals, injections into the uterus--explained, exposed. I want the humiliation rituals--forced nakedness, cutting and shaving of hair, punishments of hundreds or thousands of women standing naked in the cold for 12 hours at a time--articulated. I want the beatings, the whippings, the forced hard labor and slave labor, narrated. I need to know about those who resisted and those who escaped; there were some. I need a heritage on the female side. I want this museum changed so that remembrance is not male. I want to know the story of women in the Holocaust.

Copyright © 1994 by Andrea Dworkin.

____

She said she was drugged and raped at a Paris hotel right before this book was released.

Was she ever closer to discussing what Germans did instead of a general easily dismissed men are bad, blah blah position BEFORE this book?

I didn't know anything about her other than she was famous amongst feminists when I read that she claimed she had been raped and it was something that later happened frequently to tourists in Thailand and recently in Dubai by hotel staff so I was not prejudiced by her persona, by her appearance or by disagreeing or agreeing with her beliefs and I felt it was just a horror story that had happend to a woman traveling alone.

That's all.

But if she's so insightful and accurate - if she was a respected phd or groomed like Catherine MacKinnon - but making these points about the system of violence by the Germans - would that somehow endanger the postwar German position. Would she have been a threat to them?

What if Naomi Wolf's name was on this book instead? Would she be sitting across from Stephen Colbert at his table?

_____

Selfishly, I wish Andrea Dworkin wasn't really dead because I have a lot of questions about the Holocaust for her and she sounds like someone who wouldn't have been mean about being asked.
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