New Article: Ofengenden, Therapy and Satire in Contemporary Israeli Film and Literature

Ofengenden, Ari. “National Identity in Global Times: Therapy and Satire in Contemporary Israeli Film and Literature.” The Comparatist 39 (2015): 294-312.

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2015.1103877

 

Extract

To conclude let us step back and look at the effects of all of these transformation narratives together. These and other novels and films engage in a sustained reusing of the past and successfully transform the way people articulate their identity. They do this with an empathic retelling of the national story like Oz, with the German or Arab Israeli other as in the film Walk on Water and Arab Labor, or with a crazed narrator like Kaniuk’s and Castel-Bloom’s. Therapeutic interventions end with a working through of displacement and immigration, a heightened awareness of the effects of the Holocaust, and a new appreciation of the creative potential of Jewish identity and culture. Self-critical satire breaks open a monolithic national identity, exposing its constructed nature and calls for creative transformations. We can now ask why these two narratives are so central to the way literature and film re-imagine national identity in contemporary times. I think that the answer lies most prominently in globalization. International flows of culture, goods, and people help strengthen civil society in its critique and parody of state violence and state agents. Somewhat paradoxically, globalization also leads to a demand for specifically national narratives in the international market. In a recent talk, Salman Rushdie pointed out that contemporary writers are increasingly asked to mediate the story of a nation for an international audience. Indeed that is what his own Midnight’s Children did for India, what J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace did for South Africa, Toni Morrison’s novels for the U.S., and Oz and Grossman for Israel. Thus we get narratives that are called to represent the nation on an international market but heal, critique, or poke fun at it at the same time. The system in which Hebrew literature finds itself has radically changed. Previously this system or field was constructed as a national field; now the field is constituted as semi-global. Some actors achieve international success while others remain domestic. Some mediate and explain the national story on the global stage while others parody the nation in order to change it.

Israeli national-cultural discourse is not a sole expression of some underlying economic forces that determine its content. However, its expression is a result of creative adaptation to economical and political pressures and opportunities that have become more and more global. Mainstream literature and culture has responded by articulating narratives that simultaneously reflect feelings of lack of political agency and an empathic apologetic self-representation for the global other. Minor literature in Israel saw an opportunity in the weakening of the state to articulate a critique in the form of parody that attempts to reconfigure national identity.

 

 

 

New Article: Deichmann, Collaborations between Israel and Germany in Chemistry

Deichmann, Ute. “Collaborations between Israel and Germany in Chemistry and the Other Sciences – a Sign of Normalization?” Israel Journal of Chemistry (early view; online first).

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijch.201500074

 

Abstract

The scientific collaboration between Israel and Germany was not initiated, as commonly believed, by the Max Planck Society or by German scientists who wanted to revive collaboration with their former Jewish colleagues. Rather, it was initiated in the mid-1950s by two Israeli scientists from the Weizmann Institute and a German scientist at the time at CERN in violation of the widely accepted cultural boycott by Israel against Germany. The initiators succeeded in procuring political support; large-scale collaboration between the Weizmann Institute, German universities, and the Max Planck Society was developed. In the aftermath of the Second World War, German science suffered from the Nazi expulsion of Jewish scientists and partial international isolation; the collaboration with Israel enabled young German scientists to overcome this isolation and benefit from stimulating Israeli research environments. In times of economic hardship, the collaboration helped Israeli science materially, provided contacts to chemical industry, and strengthened the cooperation between Israeli and European science. The collaboration was built, in part, on postwar myths created by German scientists and the Max Planck Society about their former anti-Nazi attitudes. Despite the difficult beginnings and some hidden political agendas, the collaboration developed very successfully. Germany became Israel’s second most important partner in the scientific field, after the USA. Today, normalcy prevails in many – though not all – of the Israeli-German collaborative projects; the past is not forgotten, but science is in the fore.

 

 

 

New Article: de Vita, German–Israeli Ties in 2015 and 1965

de Vita, Lorena. “German–Israeli Ties in 2015 and 1965: The Difficult Special Relationship.” International Affairs 91.4 (2015): 835-49.

 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2346.12335
 
Abstract

This article marks the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Israel. It is divided into two parts, assessing the status of this unique relationship in 2015 and in 1965, respectively. Angela Merkel’s recent criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance on the peace process with the Palestinians and the heavy protests that took place in Germany in the wake of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in summer 2014 have cast doubt on the strength of the bilateral partnership fifty years after the first exchange of ambassadors between the two countries. However, by examining the state of German–Israeli cooperation in a number of areas (security, commerce and knowledge exchange, among others), the first part of the article challenges popular interpretations of contemporary German–Israeli relations as being ‘at a nadir’. Fifty years ago, Chancellor Ludwig Erhard proposed to his Israeli counterpart Levi Eshkol the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries amid a severe political crisis in Bonn, following a visit of the East German leader Walter Ulbricht to Gamal Abdel Nasser. While much has changed since then, the second part of the article argues that looking at the momentous events of 1965 can provide useful reference points for understanding the current state of relations between Germany and Israel.

 

 

 

ToC: Journal of Jewish Education 81.4 (2015)

Journal of Jewish Education 81.4 (2015)

 

Editor’s Note

 

Experiencing Jewish Education: Perspectives From Learners and Leaders
Michelle Lynn-Sachs
pages 345-347

Articles

Demystifying a Black Box: A Grounded Theory of How Travel Experiences Impact the Jewish Identity Development of Jewish Emerging Adults
Scott Aaron
pages 348-376

The Guide with the Tourist Gaze: Jewish Heritage Travel to Poland
Sharon Kangisser Cohen
pages 377-397

Parshanut Through Art: The High School Student as Biblical Commentator
Matt Reingold
pages 398-412

Book Review

Jordana Silverstein, Anxious Histories (Berghahn Books, New York, NY, 2015)
Joshua King
pages 413-417

 

Miscellaneous

Editorial Board EOV

ToC: Jewish Social Studies 21,1 (2015)

Jewish Social Studies 21.1 (2015)

Table of Contents

 Front Matter

JSS-Front

New Book: Baron, Obligation in Exile

Baron, Ilan Zvi. Obligation in Exile: The Jewish Diaspora, Israel and Critique. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 2015.

 

Obligation-in-exile

Combining political theory and sociological interviews spanning four countries, Israel, the USA, Canada and the UK, Ilan Zvi Baron explores the Jewish Diaspora/Israel relationship and suggests that instead of looking at Diaspora Jews’ relationship with Israel as a matter of loyalty, it is one of obligation.

Baron develops an outline for a theory of transnational political obligation and, in the process, provides an alternative way to understand and explore the Diaspora/Israel relationship than one mired in partisan debates about whether or not being a good Jew means supporting Israel. He concludes by arguing that critique of Israel is not just about Israeli policy, but about what it means to be a Diaspora Jew.

 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Preface

  • Introduction
  • 1. the Limits of Political Obligation
  • 2. Power and Obligation
  • 3.Between Zion and Diaspora: Internationalisms, Transnationalisms, Obligation and Security
  • 4. From Eating Hummus to the Sublime
  • 5. Obligation and Critique
  • Conclusion: Obligation in Exile, Critique and the Future of the Jewish Diaspora

Appendix
Notes
Bibliography
Index

 

 

New Article: Gallas, Restoration of Looted Cultural Property in Early Postwar Europe

Gallas, Elisabeth. “Locating the Jewish Future: The Restoration of Looted Cultural Property in Early Postwar Europe”. Naharaim 9.1-2 (2015): 25-47.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/naha-2015-0001

Abstract

At the end of World War II Allied soldiers found an unexpected amount of looted cultural property on German territory, property that had originally belonged to Jewish institutions and private owners from all over Europe. To take care of this precious booty the American Military Government for Germany organized an unprecedented initiative in cultural restitution. However, since most of the Jewish treasures found were heirless, traditional legislation based on bilateral intergovernmental regulations was insufficient for the task of finding just restitution solutions and meeting Jewish collective interests. In 1949, after complex legal negotiations, the New York based corporation Jewish Cultural Reconstruction (JCR) was officially installed to act as trustee for heirless Jewish cultural property found in the American Zone of Occupation. Not only was it extraordinary that the major Jewish organizations of the time – representing Palestine/Israel as well as the Diaspora – worked together via JCR, this was also the first time that international law recognized a legal representative of the Jewish collective. This paper explores the history of JCR, focusing, in particular, on the manifold and conflicting perceptions of the future of Jewish existence post-1945 that informed its work. On the one hand, the reestablished Jewish communities of Europe, especially the one in Germany, strongly contested JCR’s goal of distributing the rescued material to Jewish centers outside of Europe. Unlike JCR, they believed in a new Jewish beginning on the war-torn continent. On the other hand, Zionist- versus Diaspora-centered views also led to internal conflicts within JCR regarding the rightful ownership and appropriate relocation of European Jewish cultural heritage. JCR’s history reveals significant facets of Jewish agency and future planning in the early postwar years while reflecting the new topography of Jewish existence after the Holocaust.

 

 

 

New Article: Mahrer, The Schocken Library and its Rescue from Nazi Germany in 1935

Mahrer, Stefanie. “‘Much More than just another Private Collection’: The Schocken Library and its Rescue from Nazi Germany in 1935”. Naharaim 9.1-2 (2015): 4-24.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0044118X15606157/

Abstract

This article reconstructs for the first time the rescue of the Schocken Library, one of the largest privately owned book collections, from Nazi Germany. The library consisted of over 60,000 volumes of rare and precious ­Hebrew and German books, manuscripts, and incunabula. The books were shipped from Germany to Mandate Palestine in the years 1934–1937 and the library is one of the few collections that completely survived National Socialist destruction and looting. The case of the Schocken library can help us understand all of the many challenges involved in successfully relocating a library of its size. Without a network of professionals, experience dealing with authorities and unlimited funds, an operation like the shipment of the Schocken library would not have been possible. The second part of the paper focuses on how, once the library was in Jerusalem, the way in which it was perceived changed. From the contemporary perspective of the owner, the merchant and publisher Salman Schocken, and from the perspective of its users and visitors, the library was perceived as a place of continuity in exile rather than as a place of saved books. The micro-historical perspective not only allows us to understand how historical subjects interpret the world around them but also how they try to influence historical processes.

 

 

 

New Article: Oz-Salzberger, Israelis and Germany

Oz-Salzberger, Fania. “Israelis and Germany: A Personal Perspective.” In Being Jewish in 21st-Century Germany (ed. Olaf Glöckner and Haim Fireberg; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015): 117-28.

 

9783110350159
 

Abstract

This article deals with a phenomenon that for many Israelis (and maybe even to many “bio-Germans”) – not to speak of the Jewish communities in Germany – is difficult to digest. It means, the almost mystical attraction of Germany (and Berlin in particular) to Sabras, that pushes so many to visit, to live for different periods of times among Germans and even to emigrate to Germany. Oz-Salzberger studied the various social networks of Israelis in Berlin (either in real life or in virtual networks) in order to find the common characteristics that bond all Israelis in Germany in general and Berlin in particular. Although she found that “many of the current Hebrew-speaking residents of Berlin whom I have met in recent years, Jews as well as Arabs, are enchanted, fascinated, and sometimes even obsessed with the dark past.” Yet, “Berlin remains problematic for them, and they live their problematic life in it as a matter of choice; because life is not meant to be simple, and because this urban, highly cultured, intense global-polis is not offering its newcomers either harmony or simplicity. It is not part of the deal.”

 

 

New Book: Novak, Zionism and Judaism

Novak, David. Zionism and Judaism. A New Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

 

novak

Why should anyone be a Zionist, a supporter of a Jewish state in the land of Israel? Why should there be a Jewish state in the land of Israel? This book seeks to provide a philosophical answer to these questions. Although a Zionist need not be Jewish, nonetheless this book argues that Zionism is only a coherent political stance when it is intelligently rooted in Judaism, especially in the classical Jewish doctrine of God’s election of the people of Israel and the commandment to them to settle the land of Israel. The religious Zionism advocated here is contrasted with secular versions of Zionism that take Zionism to be a replacement of Judaism. It is also contrasted with versions of religious Zionism that ascribe messianic significance to the State of Israel, or which see the main task of religious Zionism to be the establishment of an Israeli theocracy.

 

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Why Zionism?
  • 2. Was Spinoza the first Zionist?
  • 3. Secular Zionism: political or cultural?
  • 4. Should Israel be a theocracy?
  • 5. Why the Jews and why the land of Israel?
  • 6. Can the state of Israel be both Jewish and democratic?
  • 7. What could be the status of non-Jews in a Jewish state?
  • 8. What is the connection between the Holocaust and the state of Israel?

 

DAVID NOVAK holds the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair in Jewish Studies as Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Academy for Jewish Research. He is President of the Union for Traditional Judaism, and Vice President of the Institute on Religion and Public Life. Novak also serves as a Consulting Scholar for the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and as a Project Scholar for the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.

 

Conference: Reinventing Israel. Transformations of Israeli Society in the 21st Century (American U, Washington, Oct 28-29, 2015)

reinventing

For full program [PDF], click here.

Please Join The Center for Israel Studies and Jewish Studies Program next week for our Reinventing Israel conference!
FREE WITH 
RSVP (by session).


Featured presentations include
:
“From BG to Bibi: The End of an Era in Israel-Diaspora Relations?” by David Ellenson
 
Wednesday, October 28, 7:30 PM
 
Keynote address to kick off “Reinventing Israel: Transformations of Israeli Society in the 21st Century” conference.  Ellenson is director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University and Chancellor Emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Location: SIS Building Abramson Family Founders Room.  (Free parking in SIS Building garage)   

“Reinventing Israel: Transformations of Israeli Society in the 21st Century” conference featuring international scholars and AU faculty
 
Thursday, October 29, all-day 

Sessions featuring History and Memory, Economy and Hi-Tech, Politics and Law, Religion and Ethnicity.  

Location: Butler Board Room (Floor 6 of Butler Pavilion).
Pre-paid parking by kiosk (on level P-1 by elevator – note parking space number) in Katzen Arts Center or SIS Building Garage (free after 5:00 PM).   

Imagining Israel in 2035 – Different Visions
 
Thursday, October 29 7:30 PM  
 
With Fania Oz-Salzberger (University of Haifa) Mohammed Wattad (Zefat College, UC Irvine) James Loeffler (University of Virginia) Moderator: Michael Brenner (AU). 

Location: Butler Board Room.  Free parking after 5:00 PM in all university parking garages.   

New Book: Gartman, Return to Zion

Gartman, Eric. Return to Zion. The History of Modern Israel. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

 

returnZion

 

The history of modern Israel is a story of ambition, violence, and survival. Return to Zion traces how a scattered and stateless¬ people reconstituted themselves in their traditional homeland, only to face threats by those who, during the many years of the dispersion, had come to regard the land as their home. This is a story of the “ingathering of the exiles” from Europe to an outpost on the fringes of the Ottoman Empire, of courage and perseverance, and of reinvention and tragedy.

Eric Gartman focuses on two main themes of modern Israel: reconstitution and survival. Even as new settlers built their state they faced constant challenges from hostile neighbors and divided support from foreign governments, as well as being attacked by larger armies no fewer than three times during the first twenty-five years of Israel’s history. Focusing on a land torn by turmoil, Return to Zion is the story of Israel—the fight for independence through the Israeli Independence War in 1948, the Six-Day War of 1967, and the near-collapse of the Israeli Army during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Gartman examines the roles of the leading figures of modern Israel—Theodor Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, Yitzchak Rabin, and Ariel Sharon—alongside popular perceptions of events as they unfolded in the post–World War II decades. He presents declassified CIA, White House, and U.S. State Department documents that detail America’s involvement in the 1967 and 1973 wars, as well as proof that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was a case of mistaken identity. Return to Zion pulls together the myriad threads of this history from inside and out to create a seamless look into modern Israel’s truest self.

Eric Gartman is an intelligence analyst for the United States Department of Defense who has lived and studied in Israel and traveled extensively throughout the Middle East.

New Article: Kemp, The West’s Relationship with Israel and the Palestinians

Kemp, Martin. “Collusion as a Defense against Guilt: Further Notes on the West’s Relationship with Israel and the Palestinians.” International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 12.3 (2015): 192-222.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aps.1466

 

Abstract

Returning to the theme of an earlier paper (Kemp 2011), the author explores the anxiety-ridden nature of debate about Israel-Palestine in the West. Rather than guilt per se, it is suggested that it is collective defences against guilt that are threatened when the issue is raised in public. The West’s dilemma has been to reconcile its commitment to universalist values with its support for Israel. Zionism’s objective of a Jewish state in an already inhabited country has led inevitably to repression and racism. The outcome has been collusion in a cover-up of the true nature of Israeli ideology and policy, akin to the collusion that takes place in a clinical relationship when a psychoanalyst fails to make a necessary interpretation to a patient in order to avoid discomfort or conflict. Among the many unfortunate consequences has been a failure to challenge the instrumentalization of the Holocaust, paradoxically now used to neutralize opposition to the subjugation of the Palestinians.

 

 

 

New Article: Giladi | Israel, the Genocide Convention, and the World Court 1950–1951

Giladi, Rotem. “Not Our Salvation: Israel, the Genocide Convention, and the World Court 1950–1951.” Diplomacy & Statecraft 26.3 (2015): 473-93.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09592296.2015.1067525

 

Abstract

Jewish individuals and organisations played a cardinal role in making and promoting the 1948 Genocide Convention. The early attitude of the Jewish state—established a few months before the Convention’s conclusion—has not hitherto been explored. This analysis reconstructs Israel’s involvement in the 1951 advisory proceedings at the International Court of Justice concerning the Convention. Based on Ministry of Foreign Affairs archives and Court records, it demonstrates that contrary to what scholarship on subsequent episodes assumes or implies, Israel had no particular attachment to, nor was it vested in, the Convention. Rather, its attitude ranged from indifference and disinterest to scepticism and hostility. It allowed Israeli diplomats to utilise the Convention as a means to affect other neither urgent nor imperative foreign policy ends.

 

 

Fellowship: 2016-17 Annual Competition United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (deadline: Nov 30, 2015)

[from: http://www.ushmm.org/research/competitive-academic-programs/fellowship-competition]

Annual Fellowship Competition — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

New Article: Steir-Livny, Holocaust Humor, Satire, and Parody on Israeli Television

Steir-Livny, Liat. “Holocaust Humor, Satire, and Parody on Israeli Television.” Jewish Film & New Media 3.2 (2015): 193-219.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jewish_film_new_media_an_international_journal/v003/3.2.steir-livny.html

 

Abstract
The politicization of the Holocaust has been reflected in Israeli culture from the late 1940s in cinema, literature, theater, and poetry; in the last several decades, it has also been depicted on Israeli television. Most of the representations of the Holocaust in the first decades of Israel’s existence were dramatic. But from the 1990s onward, Israelis also began to address the subject through satire. The case studies in this article focus on the satirical skits performed on episodes of The Chamber Quintet (Hahamishia Hakamerit; Matar Productions, Channel 2-Tela’ad, Channel 1, 1993–1997) and Wonderful Country (Eretz Nehederet; Keshet Productions, Channel 2-Keshet, 2003–2014). Diverging from arguments that these humorous skits addressing the Holocaust disrespect the Holocaust and its survivors, this article maintains that they instead articulate the powerful position the Holocaust holds as a constituting event in the consciousness and identity of younger generations in Israel.

 

 

New Article: Loeffler, The Invisibility of American Jewish Politics

Loeffler, James. “Nationalism without a Nation?: On the Invisibility of American Jewish Politics.” Jewish Quarterly Review 105.3 (2015): 367-98.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/jqr.2015.0019

 

Abstract
In this article, I launch a wholesale reexamination of the under-studied subject of American Jewish nationalism. With the focus on the road to Israeli statehood, scholars have ignored the complex, contradictory patterns of nationalist identification that marked American Zionist politics in the first half of the twentieth century. I explore this thesis through a re-reading of two key historical episodes: the American Jewish Congress movement of 1914–1920 and the American Jewish Conference, 1943–1949. In the process, I discuss the relationship between liberalism and nationalism in American Jewish political thought; the political conflicts between Jewish nationalism and anti-nationalism; and the nomenclature of Jewish nationhood in the United States. Ultimately, I conclude that the consensus position of American Jewish support for Israel after 1948 emerged only after statist Zionism had been separated from a more capacious form of American Jewish nationalism that existed before 1948. This helps us understand the origins and rise to significance of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), with implications for the current moment of American Jewish politics.

 

 

New Article: Lazar et al, Positive Weighing of the Other’s Collective Narrative among Jewish and Bedouin-Palestinian Teachers

Lazar, Alon, Orna Braun-Lewensohn, and Tal Litvak Hirsch. “Positive Weighing of the Other’s Collective Narrative among Jewish and Bedouin-Palestinian Teachers in Israel and Its Correlates.” International Journal of Psychology (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijop.12152

 

Abstract

Teachers play a pivotal role in the educational discourse around collective narratives, and especially the other’s narrative. The study assumed that members of groups entangled in a conflict approach the different modules of the other’s narrative distinctively. Jewish and Palestinian teachers, Israeli citizens, answered questionnaires dealing with the narrative of the other, readiness for interethnic contact, negative between-group emotions and preferences for resolutions of the Israeli–Palestinian (I–P) conflict. Positive weighing of the other’s narrative among Jewish teachers correlated with high levels of readiness for interethnic contact and low levels of negative between-group emotions, across the various modules of the Palestinian narrative. Preferences for a peaceful resolution of the I–P conflict and rejection of a violent one were noted in two of the modules. Among Palestinian teachers, positive weighing of the other’s collective narrative was exclusively noted for the Israeli narrative of the Holocaust, and this stance negatively related to negative between-group emotions and preference for a violent solution of the I–P conflict, and positively related to readiness for interethnic contact and preference of a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Practical implications of these findings for peace education are discussed.

New Article: Yair, The Germans: Cultural Trauma and the Israeli Habitus

Yair, Gad. “The Germans: Cultural Trauma and the Israeli Habitus.” American Journal of Cultural Sociology 3.2 (2015): 254-79.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/ajcs.2015.2

 

Abstract

This article reports results from a qualitative study of Israelis living in Germany, focusing on their traumatized national habitus. The study is based on 80 in-depth interviews and on replies of more than 100 respondents to an online questionnaire. The present article focuses on one specific aspect of the Israeli traumatized habitus: ‘the wounded eye and the scratched ear’. Specifically, it explores the ways by which the trauma of the Holocaust is inscribed in Israeli senses. It details how respondents’ eyes, ears and thoughts are activated by German mundane episodes, linking day-to-day experiences to the trauma of the Holocaust. Trains, suspect on-boarding Israelis, might end up in Auschwitz; snow brings up associations of the death marches; old people are perceived as Gestapo officers; and contemporary child-rearing practices ‘explain’ to Israelis the obedience and collaboration of ordinary Germans with the Third Reich. Using thick description from the interviews I expose the suspicious Israeli habitus – which always looks for ‘signs’ that might explain what happened in Germany 80 years ago.

 
 
 
 

New Book: Jockusch & Finder, eds. Jewish Honor Courts

Jockusch, Laura, and Gabriel N. Finder, eds. Jewish Honor Courts. Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2015.

 

jewish-honor-courts

 

In the aftermath of World War II, virtually all European countries struggled with the dilemma of citizens who had collaborated with Nazi occupiers. Jewish communities in particular faced the difficult task of confronting collaborators among their own ranks—those who had served on Jewish councils, worked as ghetto police, or acted as informants. European Jews established their own tribunals—honor courts—for dealing with these crimes, while Israel held dozens of court cases against alleged collaborators under a law passed two years after its founding. In Jewish Honor Courts: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust, editors Laura Jockusch and Gabriel N. Finder bring together scholars of Jewish social, cultural, political, and legal history to examine this little-studied and fascinating postwar chapter of Jewish history.

The volume begins by presenting the rationale for punishing wartime collaborators and purging them from Jewish society. Contributors go on to examine specific honor court cases in Allied-occupied Germany and Austria, Poland, the Netherlands, and France. One essay also considers the absence of an honor court in Belgium. Additional chapters detail the process by which collaborators were accused and brought to trial, the treatment of women in honor courts, and the unique political and social place of honor courts in the nascent state of Israel. Taken as a whole, the essays in Jewish Honor Courts illustrate the great caution and integrity brought to the agonizing task of identifying and punishing collaborators, a process that helped survivors to reclaim their agency, reassert their dignity, and work through their traumatic experiences.

For many years, the honor courts have been viewed as a taboo subject, leaving their hundreds of cases unstudied. Jewish Honor Courts uncovers this forgotten chapter of Jewish history and shows it to be an integral part of postwar Jewish rebuilding. Scholars of Jewish, European, and Israeli history as well as readers interested in issues of legal and social justice will be grateful for this detailed volume.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in the Postwar Jewish World / Laura Jockusch and Gabriel N. Finder — Why Punish Collaborators? / David Engel — Rehabilitating the Past? Jewish Honor Courts in Allied-Occupied Germany / Laura Jockusch — Judenrat on Trial: Postwar Polish Jewry Sits in Judgment of its Wartime Leadership / Gabriel N. Finder — An Unresolved Controversy: The Jewish Honor Court in the Netherlands, 1946-1950 / Ido De Haan — Jurys d’honneur: The Stakes and Limits of Purges Among Jews in France After Liberation / Simon Perego — Viennese Jewish Functionaries on Trial: Accusations, Defense Strategies, and Hidden Agendas / Helga Embacher — “The Lesser Evil” of Jewish Collaboration? The Absence of a Jewish Honor Court in Postwar Belgium / Veerle Vanden Daelen and Nico Wouters — Jews Accusing Jews: Denunciations of Alleged Collaborations in Jewish Honor Courts / Katarzyna Person — “I’m Going to the Oven Because I wouldn’t Give Myself to Him”: The Role of Gender in the Polish Jewish Civic Court / Ewa Kozminska-Frejlak — Revenge and Reconciliation: Early Israeli Literature and the Dilemma of Jewish Collaborations with the Nazis / Gali Drucker Bar-Am — Changing Legal Perceptions of “Nazi Collaborators” in Israel, 1950-1972 / Dan Porat — The Gray Zone of Collaboration and the Israeli Courtroom / Rivka Brot.

Laura Jockusch is Martin Buber Society Fellow in Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the author of Collect and Record! Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe. She teaches in the International M.A. Program in Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa.

Gabriel N. Finder is Ida and Nathan Kolodiz Director of Jewish Studies and an associate professor in the Department of Germanic Literatures and Languages at the University of Virginia. He is coeditor of Making Holocaust Memory.