Sunday, August 08, 2010

Tony Judt, 1948 - 2010

Only a few years ago did I learn that Tony Judt was one of Israel's fiercest critics. I never really followed what he said and wrote about the country which he once loved very much ( if I understand this article correctly ). I 'knew' him as a historian, though, that is, I read three of his books, and used them for my PhD thesis ( Past Imperfect: French Intellectuals, 1944 - 1956; The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and the French Twentieth Century; and Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945 ). All three books are very, very well written and based on a convincing use of good, relevant and interesting sources. So I will mainly remember and continue to remember Judt the historian. As for his criticism of Israel and Zionism, that does not seem really relevant for me right now. I absolutely disagree with his preference for a binational state, although I do believe that Israel's current non-policies will eventually lead to just that. Still, I am afraid that I cannot deny that Tony Judt's two criticism-related quotes that I read in the aforementioned article contain at least some truth. In 1983 ( 27 years ago ) he labeled Israel a " belligerently intolerant, faith-driven ethno state ", something which I think in a way is more true or at least less untrue today than it was then ( on Wikipedia, this quote is dated in 2003; according to the Wikipedia-entry he wrote that Israel is on its way to become...., a point which I in more than one way find it hard to argue with today ). Also, he said a few years ago that " the line you take on Israel trumps everything else in life ". Look at the comments on the article about his passing away, and you will see that he was totally right about that. I doubt if any of those who express joy or satisfaction at his death ever read any of his historical works. May his memories be a blessing.

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