Ginsberg Benjamin - The Fatal embrace

Author : Ginsberg Benjamin
Title : The Fatal embrace Jews and the State The politics of Anti-Semitism in the United States
Year : 1999

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Anti-Semitism has started to surface again in American political life. Only recently, the President and Presidential candidate questioned the loyalty of American Jews; a State Governor pointedly deleted the “Judeo” from America’s “Judeo-Christian” heritage: and a Jewish bystander was brutally murdered during violent conflicts between Hasidic Jews and African Americans in New York. What explains the apparent resurgence of a phenomenon many Americans thought could never happen here? In this provocative book, Benjamin Ginsberg examines the cycle of Jewish success and anti Semitic attack throughout the history of the Diaspora, with a concentrated focus on the special case of America. For Ginsberg the central issue is not anti-Jewish feeling, but the conditions under which such sentiment is likely to be used in the political arena. He book identifies the political dynamics that historically have set the stage for the persecution of the Jews. Wherever Jews have settled, Ginsberg shows their literacy, commercial skills, and even their social marginality that have made them useful to King’s, princes, and sultan’s - to say nothing of prime ministers, commissars, and presidents. Ambitious rulers have found in the Jews the source of talent not tied to the status quo, and given them protection and opportunity in exchange for their services as administrators, financiers, and diplomats. Jews have played major roles in building States - including the United States of America. In this embrace of the state of the, Jews have risen to positions of great wealth and power. Time and again, however, the influence has proved to be temporary as Jews become the touchstones of opposition to the regime that they helped build. The embrace of the state has proved to be fatal. Is America, as many argue, the exception to this pattern? Does America’s liberal tradition preclude the possibility of mobilised anti Jewish hostility? Surveying the political history of Jews from the Civil War to the 1992 presidential elections, Ginsberg masterfully traces the ebb and flow of political anti-Semitism in the U.S. In America as elsewhere, opposing political forces have used anti-Semitic appeals to attack regime’s with which Jews were allied. Because the embrace of the state has been so problematic for the Jews, Ginsberg is cautionary about the future, even in light of the extraordinary visibility of Jews in the Clinton Administration. Benjamin Ginsberg is director of the Washington centre for the study of American Government and the David Bernstein professor of political science at the Johns Hopkins University. Among his other books are The Captive Public, American Government: Freedom and Power, and Politics by Other Means. ...

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