Book Review: Stephan Grigat on Zionism, the Israeli Left, and Iran

Die Einsamkeit Israels: Zionismus, die israelische Linke und die iranische Bedrohung (Israel’s Solitude: Zionism, the Israeli Left, and the Iranian Threat), by the German political scientist Stephan Grigat, is an important contribution to the overall debate on the Middle East, and it was published just in time, given the background of the Lausanne negotiations with Iran. Grigat dispels the current euphoria about the “breakthrough in Lausanne” and illuminates the many existing darker sides of the Lausanne deal. The present reviewer is of the opinion that, particularly in view of the special historical responsibility of Continental Europe, a careful reconsideration of the realities created in Lausanne and the considerable role played by the EU foreign policy machinery is necessary and that the other side in the conflict—the side of Israel—is also being heard.

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Joel Kotkin and the Embattled Middle Class

In a recent issue of First Things, Naomi Schaefer Riley reviewed Joel Kotkin’s The New Class Conflict:

Ever since the 2000 election, we have talked about an America divided between red and blue. But in his new book, Joel Kotkin argues that we are experiencing more than a geographical divide. For the first time since its founding, he suggests, America is experiencing a potentially devastating class conflict—the kind of division between the elites and the rest of America that could all but break the country’s middle-class backbone.

It is striking that Kotkin, a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial pages, is making this claim. For years, the left has argued that class warfare is a fact of life in America, even encouraging class resentment to achieve its political aims.

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Call for Papers: The 2016 Telos Conference in New York

Beyond Nostalgia:
Ethics, Politics, and the Critique of Modernity

January 15–16, 2016
New York, NY

On January 15–16, 2016, the Telos-Paul Piccone Institute will hold its annual conference in New York City. The theme of the conference will be “Beyond Nostalgia: Ethics, Politics, and the Critique of Modernity.” If you wish to participate in the conference, please send an abstract (no more than 250 words) and short c.v. to telosnyc@telosinstitute.net by August 15, 2015, and place “The 2016 Telos Conference” in the email’s subject line.

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Jeffrey Herf on Günter Grass and Matthias Küntzel: Two Views of Iran

Writing at the Times of Israel website, Jeffrey Herf discusses what Günter Grass refused to see about Iran—and why Matthias Küntzel, in his new book Germany and Iran, gets it right.

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The Failure of the Body Politic

In her exploration of Wittgenstein’s elusive and scattered commentary on community, Chantal Bax notes the absence of an explicit understanding of community in the philosopher’s work. Though Wittgenstein often invokes communal concepts, he rarely provides any details regarding the exact nature of a proper community, or the maintenance and governance a just society requires. Bax highlights the one place where Wittgenstein succumbs to the “unfortunate metaphor” of the body politic: he suggests the Jews, marginalized by European society, resemble a “‘kind of disease, anomaly,'” a “‘swelling'” which can “‘only be considered to be a proper part of the body when the whole feeling for the body is changed'” (105). Bax reads this as a tragic and empathetic lament: Wittgenstein doubts the possibility of a renewed, welcoming society that nonetheless adheres to this same vocabulary of the political body. And it is this prophetic doubt that intensifies the crisis of community that reiterates the necessity of Wittgenstein’s rethinking of life together.

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Joel Kotkin: California Is So Over

Writing at the Daily Beast, Joel Kotkin examines how the drought in California reflects the broader social and economic transformation of the state—and why current political policies that inhibit growth are to blame. Kotkin is the author The New Class Conflict, published by Telos Press Publishing and available for purchase in our store.

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