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Is Theory Good for the Jews?French Thought and the Challenge of the New Antisemitism$
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Bruno Chaouat

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781383346

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781383346.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Theory’s Operation Shylock

Theory’s Operation Shylock

(p.164) Chapter Four Theory’s Operation Shylock
Is Theory Good for the Jews?

Bruno Chaouat

Liverpool University Press

Chapter 4 comes as a critique of what I call, as a tribute to Philip Roth’s novel, “theory’s Operation Shylock,” i.e., recent celebrations of Diasporic Jewry, irrational demonization of Zionism and of the Jewish state, and, more seriously, ungrounded condemnation of a contemporary Jewry supposedly turned reactionary due to its support for the U.S. and Israel. Influenced by postcolonial studies and deconstruction, oblivious of the new modalities of antisemitism, theorists actively delegitimize Zionism as a mere product of the European colonial mindset and as a perversion of the Jewish spirit. I suggest that in recent publications, historian Enzo Traverso and philosopher Judith Butler resort to distortion of history and to a betrayal of the most basic principles of hermeneutics to justify their belief in the political and intellectual superiority of Diasporic Judaism (hypostatized as ethical) over Zionism (construed as particularist, imperialistic, and racist).

Keywords:   Diasporic Jew, Anti- and post-Zionism, Jewish turn to the right, Deconstruction of Jewishness, Jewishness as Deconstruction

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