Episode

2/5 Good Jew Bad Jew: Racism, Anti-Semitism and the Assault On Meaning. w/ Steven Friedman

February 5, 2024

Happy Monday! Sam and Emma speak with Steven Friedman, director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Johannesburg, to discuss his recent book Good Jew Bad Jew: Racism, anti-Semitism and the assault on meaning. First, Sam and Emma run through updates on Biden’s strikes on Iraq and Syria, environmental disaster in Los Angeles and Chile, Israel’s assault on Gaza, the DOA US border deal, Biden’s dismal polling, US labor action, Mike Johnson’s Israel aid, and issues in Boeing and Tesla production, before parsing through the Democrats once again choosing to capitulate to far-right policy despite no electoral benefit, with little to no pushback from the US media. Steven Friedman then joins, parsing through the birth of his recent work from the severe backlash to anti-Zionist and anti-racist Jews as “self-hating,” alongside a severe perversion of the concept of anti-Semitism from the hatred of Jews as a people, to a narrow opposition to the apartheid state of Israel, also touching on the growing union between the state of Israel and the biggest celebrity symbols of anti-Semitism. Stepping back, Friedman explores the evolution of Zionism in relation to a largely Europe-based Jewry, with OG Zionists like Theodor Herzl and A.D. Gordon seeing the exclusion of the Jewish people from the European elite as a cultural failing of their people – one that can be solved via the establishment of a Zionist state and thus a Zionist elite. Expanding on this, Friedman walks Sam and Emma through Europe’s perspective on Zionism, with German and British elites highlighting the roles Israel could play in both acting as a European-aligned outpost in the Middle East and as a way to encourage the expulsion of Jews from Europe. Next, Steven back to the establishment of Israel as an attempt by certain people to Europeanize the Jewish people, through a complete embrace of Europe’s fashionable ideologies of nationalism and colonialism, particularly as Jewish discrimination in Europe largely excluded them from these developing regimes, and touches on the nature of the Holocaust as exemplary of the spectrum of humanity with which the West viewed the rest of the world. Wrapping up, Friedman, Sam, and Emma explore the history of the relationship between South Africa and Palestine and what the relationship between democracy and apartheid tells us about Western ideology.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma discuss the impending end of Kyrsten Sinema, watch Jack Posobiec connect the strings on Taylor Swift’s DNC ties, and discuss Connecticut’s new debt cancellation plan. Thomas Friedman returns to the New York Times to remind us of his extraordinary bigotry, John Kirby struggles not to say the obvious regarding US military action in the Middle East, and the MR Crew dives into the “why” of Biden’s attempted immigration deal, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Steven’s book here: https://nyupress.org/9781776148493/good-jew-bad-jew/

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