JEWISH DESTINIES ~ Citizenship, State, and Community in Modern France

JEWISH DESTINIES  ~ Citizenship, State, and Community in Modern France

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Book review and technical detail JEWISH DESTINIES ~ Citizenship, State, and Community in Modern France Pierre Birnbaum

Technical detail of JEWISH DESTINIES ~ Citizenship, State, and Community in Modern France
Title
JEWISH DESTINIES ~ Citizenship, State, and Community in Modern France
author Pierre Birnbaum
ISBN 112944
Language English
Category Religion
Publisher Hill and Wang
Pages 288
Publishing Date 1st January, 1970

Book Reviews:

While France enters the abutting millennium as an active multicultural society, like abundant of the blow of the West, Birnbaum(Political Science/the Sorbonne; Anti-Semitism in France, not reviewed) ponders the nation's Jews as a weathervane for socialchange. Although the Jews of France were "emancipated" by the Revolution, and their position in an ambiguously civilian Frenchsociety avant-garde added by Napoleon, their abode in the nation has consistently been uncertain, generally troubled. Birnbaum begins hisseries of chain essays with an assay of the change of the "free" Franco-Jewish community. Just as the association itselfwas cryptic in its secularism—after all, the Jacobins had agape the Church from its advantaged abode alongside the Bourbonthrone—the cachet of addition religious association was accordingly ambiguous as well. Jews begin that they were able to acceleration asfull participants in French civilian society, but that abandon additionally fabricated them added arresting targets of baneful anti-Semitism. Birnbaumis best aboriginal and acknowledged in his bristles cardinal essays on the poisonous atmosphere surrounding the Dreyfus affair. His detailedanalysis of the anti-Dreyfusards, their action to the Republic, and their accessible and abandoned anti-Semitism presents a differentpicture of L'Affaire than the one best accustomed to Americans. Even added than the final essays on abreast France, thissection is advisedly evocative about contempo history. The Catholic Church's role in the anti-Dreyfus movements makes thepost-WWII efforts of some Catholic priests to absorber such enemies of France as Klaus Barbie and Marcel Papon beneath baffling. Regrettably, although his analyses are continued on acumen and intelligence, Birnbaum is a dry writer, and abundant of this importantvolume, admitting its abounding resonances for America’s own multicultural debates, is a adamantine slog.

A trenchant analysis of the place of minorities in a national culture.Can members of minority cultures be full and equal citizens of a democratic state? Or do community allegiances override loyalty to the state? And who defines a minority community-its members or the state? Pierre Birnbaum asks these crucial questions about France-a nation where 89 percent of the people feel that racism is widespread and 70 percent agree that there are "too many Arabs." Arabs are today's targets, but racism has also been directed at other groups, including Jews.Jews became full citizens of France only at the Revolution, and historians have traditionally held that the state, in thus emancipating Jews and allowing them to join French society as individuals, severed the ties that had once bound the Jewish community together. But Birnbaum shows that the history of Jews in France-and of attitudes toward them-is not so linear. Rather, he finds that anti-Semitism has risen and fallen along with other forms of racism and xenophobia, and he argues that Jews in France today are once again viewed as members of an isolated community-no matter what their degree of assimilation. Birnbaum's conclusions about state and community have broad-reaching implications for all societies that struggle to incorporate minority groups-including the United States.

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