Originally published in 1990, this book focuses on the challenge to Jewish identity posed by the conflicting forces of enlightenment, emancipation, modern political antisemitism, and secular ideologies like Zionism, nationalism, and socialism. At the heart of his discussion stands the intense, tortured, and ultimately tragic encounter of Jews with Germans and Austrians. He also deals at length with the new problems of Jewish cultural and political identity posed by the existence of the state of Israel and its embattled position among the nations. In the course of the analysis the book looks at the tragedy of assimilation in central Europe, with the optimistic dream of Enlightenment and Bildung coming to a climax in the nightmare of racial antisemitism and the Holocaust. He explores the ambivalent relationship of the Jews with the European Left, showing how many Jewish intellectuals found a new political home in radical and socialist movements, though these movements often retained negative stereotypes of Jews and Judaism and exhibited a fierce opposition to the maintenance of any separate Jewish identity. The role of Zionism is discussed and the more recent challenges to its legitimacy examined.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: Nemesis in Central Europe 1. Karl Marx and the Enlightenment 2. The Internationalism of Rosa Luxemburg 3. Antisemitism as a Radical Ideology 4. Karl Lueger in Historical Perspective 5. Hitler and National Socialism: The Austrian Connection Part 2: Culture, Marginality, And Identity 6. The Jewishness of Sigmund Freud 7. Dilemmas of Assimilation in Central Europe 8. Walter Benjamin: A Borderline Tragedy 9. The Strange Case of Bruno Kreisky 10. The Fassbinder Controversy Part 3: Jews, The Left, and Zionism 11. French Socialism and the Dreyfus Affair 12. A Parisian Patricide 13. The Ghost of Leon Trotsky 14. Vladimir Jabotinsky: A Reassessment 15. Between Prophecy and Politics 16. Zionism as a Jewish Revolution Part 4: From Antisemitism To Anti-Zionism 17. Antisemitism and the Origins of Zionism 18. The Myth of the Jew In Contemporary France 19. Global Anti-Zionism In the 1980s 20. The New War Against the Jews 21. Under the Sign of Glasnost 22. The Politics of Perdition 23. Soundings in the Gulf 24. The Fundamentalist Challenge
Robert S. Wistrich was Professor of Modern European and Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.