One of the strongest sections of the book is its discussion of the complex reception of Arendt's own problematic relationship to Zionism (distinguishing Theodor Herzl and Bernard Lazare's definitions of Zionism and gently clashing with Gershom Scholem) and nationalism (p. 137ff ) especially given her "calls for the active pursuit of peaceful coexistence with Palestinian Arabs" (p. 147) and her opposition, shared as Maier-Katkin reminds us with Sidney Hook and Albert Einstein, to "acts of terrorism by Jewish groups," as Arendt writes in a letter to Jaspers: "If the Jews insist on becoming a nation like every other nation, why for God's sake do they insist on becoming like the Germans?" (pp. 149150). Maier-Katkin tells us that this is said half-jokingly, but it is serious enough, given Jacob Taubes's account of the role played by the Nazi Catholic jurist Carl Schmitt'sVerfassungslehre or Constitutional Theory, brought into Israel in 1952 for the use of Pinchas Rosen, the then Israeli Minister of Justice, in drafting the constitution of the new state of Israel. Given the subtlety of what the book sets out to do, it succeeds. Maier-Katkin also illuminates academic life in Germany before and while the Nazis came to
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Jun 1, 2011
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