<p>abstract:</p><p>This article considers how Jean-Paul Sartreâs 1944 essay on âthe Jewish question,â <i>Anti-Semite and Jew</i>, sheds light on contemporary politics. Trumpâs manipulation of fear and fabrication of narratives of hatred reenact the phenomenological âsituationâ of anti-Semitism that Sartre describedâa bad faith perception of others. For Sartre, existence and sociality create discomfort and instability. Acting in good faith requires transcending the ontological conditions into which one is born and acknowledging the alienating gaze of others. But instead of engaging in these struggles, anti-Semites direct their anger and discomfort onto a scapegoat, the Jew. To convince themselves of their existential solidity, social privilege, and economic stability, anti-Semites create a âsituationâ of fear for others. Like the anti-Semite, Trump ignites fear to construct âsituationsâ of hatred against multiple targetsâimmigrants, the LGBTQ community, people of color, Muslims, and women who threaten his power, as well as the Jews who refuse to pay him allegiance. In such âsituations,â people who find themselves in the position of the Jew, the hated other, have reason to fear the attacks and violence that ensue.</p>
Studies in American Jewish Literature – Penn State University Press
Published: Mar 17, 2020
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