Remembering Tony Judt: 1948-2010

“The problem with Israel, in short, is not — as is sometimes suggested — that it is a European ‘enclave’ in the Arab world; but rather that it arrived too late. It has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a ‘Jewish state’ — a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded — is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism.”

Israel: The Alternative by Tony Judt, New York Review of Books, September, 2003

A tribute on Democracy Now!

Still Life: A short film about Tony Judt

Clips from “The Israel Lobby” (Marije Meerman, VPRO Backlight 2007)

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6 thoughts on “Remembering Tony Judt: 1948-2010

  1. Barney.

    Yes, I can see that Judt was a good man and all that — but what is *more suprising* to many of us is just how few ‘enlightened Jews’ like him are coming forward to say what we all know is true. I mean, how many Jews are saying and doing the right thing like him — and how many hundreds of thousands are either just staying silent, or actively supporting a corrupt and unequal status quo, a polic state and a settler apartheid state? How many?

    Count the forthright and challenging Jewish figures on one hand — Finkelstein, Pappe, Sand, Atzmon, Goodman, and a few more…..but it’s still not that many is it?

    If we compare it to a very similar historical precedent, South African apartheid/Rhodesian minority rule etc, there were hundred and hundreds of vocal academics against it, with all their force — but with Israel, people are still afraid to say what they think….

    I don’t wish to detract from Judt — but I am just not sure that we should all be in awe of his honesty — he’s only saying what millions of us know to be true and saying what we long for the powerful and influential to admit.

  2. Barney.

    I should add that Chomsky, who is certainly a great intellectual who has done so much for the Palestinian cause — is also now confused, hesitant, ambiguous and compromised regarding his stance on Israel and Zionism. On to other intellectuals, Avi Shlaim, another great historian working for an accurate historical record, is, even so, still a fervent and proud Zionist, and other academics who have done so much good like Zeev Sternhell — are still strong supporters of Israeli Zionism.

    So, I repeat — the list of Jewish writers telling the truth is still a fairly short list.

    Why are they staying silent ?

  3. scott

    Hey Barney, the US is at least as bad as Israel. How many Americans have stood up to decry what we are doing? How many Americans are pointing at the utter hypocrisy of our ideals relative to our actions? Very few indeed. I’d suggest Glenn Greenwald, and Jim Lobe are two of the best at this. Chomsky is as boring as paint drying for most people; though I find him riveting myself. I suspect if we weren’t more ideologically aligned I might not find him so compelling.

  4. Barney.

    Scott, I agree entirely, really — and most Americans I meet on a day to day level seem similarly blinkered.

    I suppose the only thing we can say in their defence is that it’s the arrogance of power and empire : The British were surely just as arrogant, probably until the 1970’s when they finally understood ‘it was all gone’. I’d wager the French and Italians were equally arrogant in previous eras too.

    I don’t think Americans have realised exactly how myopic, arrogant and deluded they are.

    Does the whole world actually have “US of A” ( Dude ) painted on it , and Dollar signs?

    That’s what Americans clearly think, sad to say.

  5. Barney.

    Scott, is it also likely that American dissenters are marginalised and/or discredited/kept out of the mainstream, and that is why they are so ‘invisible’ ?

    What’s your view? I am not American, so I can’t say on that point . However, I do know that Norman Finkelstein has clearly been blocked from the mainstream — I don’t think he’s ever been on mainstream TV shows, and he told me he is blocked from mainstream bookstores.

    Talking of UK now, I know that Illan Pappe has been totally blocked from mainstream stations, even though his contemporary ‘revisionist’ historian Shlaim has had slightly more exposure — Shlaim is a proud Zionist though remember, even though he’s a critical one.

    And Gilad Atzmon seems to lead a double life in the UK — he is regulalry praised for his music, in all the mainstream news outlets — but is totally and utterly silenced on political issues.

    Funnily enough, George Galloway gets a LOT of airtime in UK, and he’s certainly a radical and won’t compromise.

    Anyway, It’d be good to hear your views on subtle and not so subtle censorship of dissenting voices in the US. It’s something I know little about.

  6. Renfro

    Can’t say how much I admire Judt. And some others like him who know they have a lot to lose and do lose something when they come out with the truth and go against ‘their (supposed) own.’

    As for American ignorance, it’s here, but a lot of it is attributable to the controlled media and dumbing down of America in general.

    But it’s changing. I have, in the 9 years I have followed I/P seen the public becoming more informed ‘on the facts’ and critical and even downright ‘ rid the US of our Israeli congress” thanks to the net.

    The zionistas can’t get ‘everyone’, they can’t get people like me, they can’t take my money or ruin any career I might have or shut me up, they can’t ‘get’ most Americans , they have no leverage over us…so we can say whatever we please or believe. I say the same things in public I say on this blog. I find more people agree with me than don’t.

    AIPAC can’t shut up John Doe from Main Street USA…their power ends with congress and the MSM and is only effective in the media,journalist and political circles it operates in.

    Tune in c-span when the subject touches on Israel and listen to the comments. C-span is the only place in the cable news world you can hear unscripted voices. You can tell by how they say what they say 99.99% of the people negative on Israel aren’t anti semites or bigots. They’ve seen, sensed, sniffed out “something wrong” and are against it ,EVEN when they don’t even know the all the dirty details on the US-Isr and Isr-I/P scheme. They ‘feel’ something is off, out of kilter in the Israeli taking points repeated over and over like rote.
    People will eventually believe their own lying eyes…if you can get it in front of their eyes.

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