Jews and Power(amazon)
Ruth R. Wisse (View Bio)
Hardcover: Schocken, 2007.
"In an era of deepening political and moral confusion, Ruth Wisse supplies a voice that is both clarion and courageous. Hers is a vital message for anyone who cares about Irael's fate and the future of the Jewish people." — Michael Oren
"This survey of Jewish history highlights the political aspect of Jewish experience, beginning with the observation that in the Hebrew Bible, Jewish power came through military heroics. By the time of the Roman conquest in A.D. 70, the Talmudic rabbis changed the narrative, blaming defeat on internal dissension, thus elevating the need for political discipline above military power. A Harvard professor of Yiddish and comparative literature, Wisse is keen to study how the politics of Jews occasions the politics of what she terms anti-Jews. For instance, she asserts that Allied leaders entered WWII not to save Europe's Jews but in order to defeat the Nazis, who were also anti-Jews. Similarly, the author says, President Bush was provoked to fight anti-Jewish terrorists by 9/11. Yet in both cases, isolationists accused the administration of caving in to Jewish demands that damaged American interests. Even the founding of Israel, she implies, has not normalized Jews' political position in the world. Palestinians, she says, have forged a national identity in obsessive opposition to Israel, and other nations have exploited Israel for their own political ends.... Wisse is in fine form with well-reasoned, self-assured arguments bound to provoke heated debate among interested intellectuals." — Publishers Weekly
"An erudite, polemical essay that attempts to encapsulate the entire political history of diaspora Jewry in just 184 pages of text.... Wisse is a brilliant scholar of enviable narrative gifts." — Susan Jacoby, Washington Post Book World