Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Guardian loves Tony Judt

Or Gaby Wood, the author of this piece, does anyway:
[...] Tony Judt is, in the words of a fellow historian, 'one of our most dazzling public intellectuals'. As a prominent professor at New York University and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, the New York Times and The Nation, he has a strong and widely heard voice. His latest book, Postwar - a magnificent, opinionated and vast history of Europe since 1945 - was voted one of the 10 best books of last year by the New York Times. A talented forger of links between thinkers from countries all over the world, Judt worked tirelessly after 1989 to bring together eastern European and American intellectuals, and he solidified these efforts by founding the Remarque Institute at NYU in 1995 to promote the study and discussion of Europe in America. A natural polemicist, he brought with him to New York an Oxbridge tradition more pugnacious than is generally characteristic of American academic life, and found himself - after years spent concentrating on European history - drawn back into an engagement with the Middle East.

In 2003, Judt wrote an articulately provocative piece for the New York Review of Books entitled 'Israel: The Alternative', in which he argued, among other things, that Israel was 'an anachronism' that was 'bad for the Jews' and should be converted into a binational state. The offices of the New York Review were inundated with letters as a result. Last year, Judt wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times in which he argued that America's fear of anti-Semitism when discussing Israel wrought tremendous damage. As the page was about to go to press, the editor rang him up. 'Just one thing,' he said, 'You are Jewish, aren't you?' [...]
The Guardian's title is "The new Jewish question." You should find the rest interesting.

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