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Jews And Power
Jews And Power
Author:Ruth Wisse

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Number of Pages:256

Hard Cover


Taking in everything from the kingdom of David to the Oslo accords, Ruth Wisse offers a radical new way to think about the Jewish relationship to power. It is Ruth Wisse’s bracing theory that the Jewish people have been corrupted—not by power but by powerlessness. An eminent professor of comparative literature at Harvard, Wisse argues that in displaying the resilience necessary to survive in exile, the Jews left too much to God. Not burdened by the weight of a military, they believed they could pursue their mission as a “light unto the nations” on a purely moral plane. Wisse demonstrates how their political weakness increased Jewish vulnerability to scapegoating and violence, as it unwittingly goaded power-seeking nations to cast them as perpetual targets. Although she sees hope in the State of Israel, Wisse questions the way the strategies of the Diaspora continue to drive the Jewish state, echoing Abba Eban’s observation that Israel was the only nation to win a war and then sue for peace. And she draws a persuasive parallel to the United States today, as it struggles to figure out how a liberal democracy can face off against enemies who view Western morality as weakness. This deeply provocative book is certain to stir debate both inside and outside the Jewish world. Wisse’s narrative offers a compelling argument that is rich with history and bristling with contemporary urgency.