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By Richard J. Bernstein

Hannah Arendt is more and more regarded as probably the most unique social and political thinkers of the 20 th century. during this vital publication, Richard Bernstein units out to teach that a few of the most vital subject matters in Arendt's pondering have their origins of their war of words with the Jewish query. through coming near near her mature paintings from this attitude, we will achieve a richer and extra refined take hold of of her major rules.

Bernstein discusses a few of the key reports and occasions in Arendt's existence tale so that it will express how they formed her considering. He examines her contrast among the Jewish parvenu and the pariah, and indicates how the unsleeping pariah turns into a foundation for realizing the self sufficient philosopher. Arendt's private insights approximately politics emerged from her reflections on statelessness, which have been in accordance with her personal reviews as a stateless individual. by means of confronting the horrors of totalitarianism and the focus camps, Arendt built her personal precise knowing of real politics - the politics required to precise our humanity and which totalitarianism sought to destroy.

Finally, Bernstein takes up Arendt's crisis with the phenomenon of the banality of evil. He follows her use of Eichmann so as to discover how the failure to imagine and to pass judgement on is the most important for greedy this new phenomenon.

Hannah Arendt and the Jewish Question bargains a brand new interpretation of Arendt and her paintings - one that situates her in her historic context as an engaged Jewish highbrow.

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Eichmann, who had an inherent ability for the melodramatic, provided to hold himself in public, and not using a trial. yet this used to be to not be. He will be attempted by way of an Israeli courtroom for “crimes opposed to humanity” and “crimes opposed to the Jews with the purpose to wreck the folk. ” Eichmann’s trial promised to be much more sensational and critical than the Nuremberg trials. recognition will be excited by the deeds of a unmarried person. There will be a chance to inform the total tale of what the Nazis had performed to the Jews and what the Jews had suffered. earlier than the trial, Ben-Gurion himself made it transparent that the trial used to be meant to serve numerous reasons. it is going to record intimately how “the ultimate resolution” used to be conducted; it'll function a lesson to the realm in regards to the effects of anti-Semitism; and it'll train Jews dwelling in Israel, in addition to these dwelling within the Diaspora. it can express the realm why Israel was once so important for the survival of the Jewish humans. while it grew to become transparent that Eichmann will be attempted in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt made up our minds to wait the trial. She acknowledged “to attend this trial is one way or the other, i believe, a duty I owe my prior” (YB, 329). And while Karl Jaspers expressed his apprehension concerning the trial, Arendt wrote to him: “I could by no means be capable of forgive myself if I didn’t cross and examine this jogging catastrophe head to head in all his strange vacuousness, with no the mediation of the published observe” (C, 409–10). Arendt approached William Shawn, editor of the hot Yorker, providing to put in writing a “report” of the trial. Shawn speedy approved. She used to be unfastened to write down no matter what she notion acceptable. within the decade ahead of the Eichmann trial, Arendt had no longer written publicly approximately Jewish, Zionist, or Israeli affairs. Her final significant article on those subject matters were “Peace or Armistice within the close to East? ” (1950), the thing that she had devoted to Magnes during which she defined his wish for a Jewish native land based on Arab–Jewish cooperation. This was once the item that signaled Arendt’s withdrawal from lively Zionist debate. For she knew that the reason she had fought for with Magnes was once already a defeated one. the last decade of the Nineteen Fifties used to be whilst Arendt used to be attaining prominence as a political philosopher. Her upward thrust to prominence all started with the ebook of Origins. In 1958, she released The Human . And whilst the statement of Eichmann’s trap was once made, she was once within the strategy of writing On Revolution. even if Arendt had now not released whatever approximately Jewish affairs for it slow, advancements in Israel have been by no means faraway from her concepts. this can be transparent from her correspondence, specially her letters to Jaspers and Blumenfeld. She had authorised the actual lifestyles of the nation of Israel, or even taken delight in its accomplishments. yet she had persisted to be serious of Israeli chauvinism, the successes of revisionist ideology, the distortions of Jewish historical past inspired by means of Israeli gurus, the inability of outrage for Palestinian Arabs by way of the Israeli political leaders, and the mess ups of Israelis to have interaction in direct Israeli–Arab discussions and negotiations.

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