Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz - Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry (Hardback)
  • Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz - Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry (Hardback)
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Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz - Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry (Hardback)

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£34.50
Hardback 320 Pages / Published: 15/01/2009
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This book offers an exploration of the fascinating Jewish thinker Simon Rawidowicz and his provocative views on Arab refugees and the fate of Israel.This book brings new attention to Simon Rawidowicz (1896-1957), the wide-ranging Jewish thinker and scholar who taught at Brandeis University in the 1950s. At the heart of Myers' book is a chapter that Rawidowicz wrote as a coda to his Hebrew tome Babylon and Jerusalem (1957) but never published. In it, Rawidowicz shifted his decades-long preoccupation with the "Jewish Question" to what he called the "Arab Question." Asserting that the "Arab Question" had become a most urgent political and moral matter for Jews after 1948, Rawidowicz called for an end to discrimination against Arabs resident in Israel - and more provocatively, for the repatriation of Arab refugees from 1948.Myers' book is divided into two main sections. Part I introduces the life and intellectual development of Rawidowicz. It traces the evolution of his thinking about the "Jewish Question," namely, the status of Jews as a national minority in the Diaspora. Part II concentrates on the shift occasioned by the creation of the State of Israel, when Jews assumed political sovereignty and entered into a new relationship with the native Arab population. Myers analyzes the structure, content, and context of Rawidowicz's unpublished chapter on the "Arab Question," paying particular attention to Rawidowicz's calls for an end to discrimination against Arabs in Israel, on the one hand, and for the repatriation of those refugees who left Palestine in 1948, on the other.The volume also includes a full English translation of "Between Jew and Arab," a timeline of significant events, and an appendix of official legal documents from Israel and the international community pertaining to the conflict.

Publisher: University Press of New England
ISBN: 9781584657361
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 612 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Simon Rawidowicz was a Polish-born scholar who studied in Berlin, and lived in London during World War II. Those who cherish his memory say he was one of the most important Hebrew writers of the 20th century, and they believe his name has been forgotten because he believed in the future of Jewish life all over the world, alongside the central place of the State of Israel. He developed this belief in his book "Babylon and Jerusalem," ... ... an entire chapter that Rawidowicz had omitted from the book - "Between Jew and Arab" - was found. It calls on the State of Israel to permit the return of the Palestinian refugees. Alongside political and ethical reasons, this demand reflected Rawidowicz's belief in the rights of national minorities: Jews among the nations of the world, Arabs in the Jewish state. Despite the esoteric nature of both Rawidowicz and his shelved proposal, they still manage to fire the imagination with the thought of how history would have changed, how the State of Israel would have looked and how the entire Middle East would have looked had Israel permitted the refugees' return. It is a thought that is relevant this week as well." --Haaretz --Haaretz
"Myers demonstrates his virtuosity at intellectual history as he creates a marvelous context for us to understand this major thinker. He traces Rawidowicz's birth in Grayewo, Poland, the son of Rabbi Chayin Yitzhak Rawidowicz -- a merchant scholar, ardent Hebraist and Zionist -- and young Simon's early education and the impact of his father in shaping the mind of this most promising of students. He follows the family in their migration to Bialystok in 1914 and then journeys with Simon to Berlin, which, before the rise of Nazism was the cultural destination of brilliant Jews who had left the world of the yeshiva to be trained in universities and seminaries. . . . Anyone who has read Myers' earlier work will be rewarded by the intelligibility, the lucidity of his writing. He clarifies even the most complex ideas and finds no need to demonstrate the subtlety of his learning and intellectual talent by obfuscation."--The Jewish Journal
"Myers has unearthed and celebrated the unpublished work of an obscure and lonely thinker whose ethical thought was, as he himself acknowledges, both lacking in solid foundations and rather unrealistic. He nevertheless believes that Rawidowicz's writings can serve as a wake-up call reminding the supporters of the Jewish state of their moral duties"--Jewish Review of Books
"In David Myers's compelling book, Between Jew and Arab, he probingly and refreshingly asks us to confront [these questions]: Is Israel a democratic state? Is it a Jewish state? Can it be both Jewish and democratic? . . . For presenting and elaborating on [Rawidowicz's conclusions], and the ensuing conception it articulates of the task of Jewish studies, David Myers -- one of the most distinguished Jewish historians writing today, and an institutional force to be reckoned with -- is to be lauded and commended." --AJS Review
"This book is important not only because it gives voice to a Jewish scholar steeped in tradition whose jeremiad against Israel and 'statist' Zionism was unheard; it is arresting because one can perhaps too easily draw a line connecting Rawidowicz's critique and his fears in the early 1950s to the reality of the conflict in 2009. That is, from reading Rawidowicz, and Myers's excellent assessment of him, one can surmise that the moral crisis in Israel is not the result of the war in 1967 or the intifadas in 1987 and 2000. Instead, the crisis begins in 1948, with Israel refusing to offer protection to the Arab refugees, most of whom were innocent victims of a bloody war, and then making it unreasonably difficult for those who remained to acquire citizenship in a new Jewish state that was envisioned by its architects as a model for tolerance. "True, today an open-door policy of repatriating Arab refugees and their families might threaten the 'Jewish' character of the state (which Rawidowicz wanted to protect). But in 1948 that was not the case, and many at that time knew it. And now, when historians such as Benny Morris have provided evidence to undermine the Israeli myth that Arabs left Palestine primarily on the advice of their leaders (Rawidowicz and others knew this myth was untrue in the early 1950s), we Jews have much to account for...We owe David Myers a debt of gratitude for giving us Simon Rawidowicz's lost voice: a voice of reason, of tradition, of morality, especially at a time when we need to be brought back to our collective senses."--The Forward

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