Tuesday, 3 April 2012

US academic Ali Abunimah on history and culture

From Gilad Atzmon:

In the above clip I elaborate on US academic Ali Abunimah’s attitude towards history and culture.

I contend that since Israel defines itself as the Jewish state and its tanks are decorated with Jewish symbols, we are entitled to ask ourselves who are the Jews and what is Judaism and Jewishness? In my work I try to understand the role and the impact of Jewish culture on Israeli and Jewish politics – something I believe is necessary to bring peace to the region and beyond.

But Ali Abunimah doesn’t agree. In reference to a talk I gave at the Stuttgart One State Conference in Decemebr 2010, he suggested that history and politics are detached from culture – an unusual approach which contradicts all recognized, intellectual and philosophical understandings of humanity, history, politics as well as culture.

Abunimah says “Talking about Jewish culture is wrong because such arguments can be made about anyone. We could blame German culture for the history of Germany...”

Someone should tell Abunimah that this is exactly what intellectuals, historian and political scientists do. They search for the origins of political thoughts in culture, ideology, religion and heritage. For instance, those who study the Nazi era try to comprehend the impact of Wagner, the German symphony, Protestant culture, German philosophy, Martin Luther’s The Jews and their lies, Hegel and the German spirit, German early romanticism, Lebensphilosophie, Heine, Athens versus Jerusalem, and so on. It is obvious to me that, Abunimah hasn’t thought it through. However, it is never too late to admit a mistake and put it right.

To view Atzmon’s Stuttgart presentation click here.

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