The Lions' Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt to Noam Chomsky

The Lions' Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt to Noam Chomsky

by Susie Linfield


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A lively intellectual history that explores how prominent midcentury public intellectuals approached Zionism and then the State of Israel itself and its conflicts with the Arab world

In this lively intellectual history of the political Left, cultural critic Susie Linfield investigates how eight prominent twentieth-century intellectuals struggled with the philosophy of Zionism, and then with Israel and its conflicts with the Arab world. Constructed as a series of interrelated portraits that combine the personal and the political, the book includes philosophers, historians, journalists, and activists such as Hannah Arendt, Arthur Koestler, I. F. Stone, and Noam Chomsky. In their engagement with Zionism, these influential thinkers also wrestled with the twentieth century’s most crucial political dilemmas: socialism, nationalism, democracy, colonialism, terrorism, and anti‑Semitism. In other words, in probing Zionism, they confronted the very nature of modernity and the often catastrophic histories of our time. By examining these leftist intellectuals, Linfield also seeks to understand how the contemporary Left has become focused on anti‑Zionism and how Israel itself has moved rightward.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300222982
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 03/26/2019
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Susie Linfield teaches cultural journalism at New York University. A former editor at the Washington Post and the Village Voice, she has written for a wide variety of publications including the New York Times,The Nation,Dissent, and the New Republic. Her previous book, The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Double Grief, and a Hope 1

Part 1 Europeans

1 Hannah Arendt: Left, Right, or Wrong? 17

2 Arthur Koestler: The Zionist as Anti-Semite 80

Part 2 Socialists

3 Maxime Rodinson: Marxism, Zionism, and the Arab World 113

4 Isaac Deutscher: A Very Jewish Jew 140

5 Albert Memmi: Zionism as National Liberation 165

6 Fred Halliday: The Journey of a '68er 197

Part 3 Americans

7 I. F. Stone: The Limits of Isaiah 229

8 Noam Chomsky: The Responsibility of Intellectuals 262

Conclusion: The Genius for Failure 299

Notes 319

Bibliography 355

Acknowledgments 371

Index 373

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