Tony Judt’s ‘Thinking the Twentieth Century,’ reminds us that we have lost a thinker who insisted on making sense of his ties to his own past, Robert Zaretsky writes.
My last two “Good Fences” columns on Oliver Stone and Tony Judt kicked up an unusual volume of reader feedback, most of it hostile, much of it downright vitriolic and occasionally incoherent. And some of it was instructive and chastening.
For some critics, Tony Judt will always be remembered, and reviled, for the 2003 essay he published in the New York Review of Books titled “Israel: The Alternative,” in which he called for a one-state solution. “The very idea of a ‘Jewish state’ — a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded — is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism,” he wrote.
For anyone interested in issues of social and economic justice in the current economy: There’s a brilliant, must-read essay in the current issue of the New York Review of Books on the past and future of social democracy. It’s written by a former general secretary of British Dror Labor Zionist youth whom you might have heard of, by the name of Tony Judt.