Exploring issues related to Israel, Israeli society & global Jewry
In this article Prof. Ran Greenstein explores how Isaac Deutscher's concept of 'the non-Jewish Jew' can be used to help better understand the political orientation of Jewish South African & Israeli activists -- both historically & in the present.
"Liberal Zionists are Jews but not ‘non-Jewish’ as they proudly are part of the Jewish-Israeli mainstream. Anti-Zionists are ‘non-Jewish’ (in a political sense) but are not usually motivated by a specific Jewish sensibility."
In a speech delivered sixty years ago, writer and activist Isaac Deutscher coined the phrase ‘the non-Jewish Jew’. This term referred to a group of intellectuals of Jewish background – Baruch Spinoza, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, and Sigmund Freud – who, according to Deutscher, “found Jewry too narrow, too archaic, and too constricting. They all looked for ideals and fulfilment beyond it, and they represent the sum and substance of much that is greatest in modern thought.”
What was specifically Jewish about them? Deutscher argued that
… as Jews they dwelt on the borderlines of various civilizations, religions, and national cultures. They were born and brought up on the borderlines of various epochs ... They were each in society and yet not in it, of it and yet not of it. It was this that enabled them to rise in thought above their societies, above their nations, above their times and generations.
Israel & global jewry [trends & prospects]: exploring issues related to israel, israeli society & global jewry
In this article Rolene Marks explores how South Africa, in particular its attitudes and positions towards Israel, Zionism and the South African Jewish community, is represented in the Israeli (print) media.
"Whilst there has been much written on how Israel is covered in South African media there is very little on how relations between the two states is covered in the Israeli media"
WHEN Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, was asked his opinion about the United Nations’ propensity to castigate his country, he shrugged and answered, “Um, Shmum” (signifying dismissal or contempt). This term is an apt description of how Israelis currently feel about South Africa. Once a country that fascinated the Israeli media and public, South Africa is still widely covered in the Israeli media – but for the wrong reasons.
exploring issues related to Israel, israeli society & global Jewry
In this article, Bev Goldman suggests that the current political and social climate in South Africa has left the Jewish community feeling vulnerable. She explores what a Ramaphosa presidency might mean for South Africa-Israel relations and the future of the South African Jewish community.
AS we enter a Ramaphosa-presidency, there is little doubt that “we live in interesting times.” Tumultuous and tempestuous, yes, but riveting too. What will the future bring? How imminent and dramatic will change be? And, considering the ANC’s stance on Israel, will these changes include a dramatic reconfiguration of relations between South Africa and Israel?
"Local businesses that continue to seek alliances with Israeli enterprises seemingly pay little, if any, attention – on the surface at least – to the political noises emanating from those who hold power."
Our Jewish community is an intriguing one. Our public utterances present an outward picture that we are a united community, that we strive for the same goals and aims, that we traverse the same beat. For the disinterested, the uninformed and those who still have hope, there is some sort of safety in trotting out the tried and tested axiom that South Africa and Israel, for all the media hype, are in reality still good friends away from the glare of the public spotlight. To think otherwise would suggest that the Jewish community’s relationship with the national government is soon to enter a turbulent period.
Jewish communal leaders – and some members of the Jewish community – have been quick to label these moves as mortal threats to the relationship between the states, and to the local Jewish community. The evidence suggests otherwise.