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Book Reviews 133 provides a concordance with Corpus Inscripttonum Judaicarum and 52 plates of mostly clear photographs of the inscriptions. This reviewer's only quibble is that the plates show photographs of only 30 of the 228 inscriptions discussed in volume one, plus a paltry 20 ofthe 629 in volume two. In certain instances, a photograph that is lacking might haveĀ· illuminated opposing readings of a given inscriptions (e.g., I, 99, no. 75). This work has advanced far beyond its predecessors in many ways, and therefore is indispensable for research in this era, whether in Jewish history, ancient Western European history, or inscriptional study. All who use this primary source material are now very heavily indebted to David Noy's superb research and illuminating presentation. Lawrence J. Mykytiuk History Bibliographer Purdue University The Marxists and theJewish Question: The History ofa Debate (18431943 ), by Enzo Traverso, translated from the French by Bernard Gibbons. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities PressĀ· International, 1994. 276 pp. $49.95 (c); $18.50 (p). When the United Nations General Assembly repealed the notorious resolution that equated Zionism with racism on December 16, 1991, the timing could not have been more symbolic. The Soviet Union, the world's first workers' state and theoretical fountainhead of Marxism, was in its death throes, just nine days away from being thrust into that dustbin of history to which it had, at least rhetorically, consigned so many other social systems. Introduced in 1975 with Moscow's support, Resolution 3379 had been more than an exercise in Machiavellian realpolitik and Israel-bashing designed to recruit Arab and Third World allies. Its ideological roots predated the establishment of the state of Israel; indeed, its simple. pronouncement that the very basis of Jewish nationhood in Israel was illegitimate was the distilled essence of Marxist-Leninist dogma regarding the Jewish right to self-determination. In his book The Marxists and the Jewish Question, originally published in French in 1990, Enzo Traverso leads us through this familiar terrain, though his narrative ends in 1943, the year that the doomed uprisings in Jewish ghettos in Hitler-occupied Europe signalled, for most Marxist Jews, an end to illusions and hope. We meet in these pages familiar names-among others, Otto Bauer, Ber Borokhov, Karl Kautsky, 134 SHOFAR Summer 1996 Vol. 14, No.4 Rosa Luxemburg, Vladimir Medem, Leon Trotsky, and Chaim Zhitlovsky. We listen again to the familiar quarrels between Austro-Marxists, Bundists, Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, and labor and socialist Zionists, arguments which would in the end be settled not through disputation and pilpul but by armed might. Marxists faced some perplexing questions: What was the nature of antisemitism? Were the Jews a nation, a caste, or a religion? Did they have an historical future or were they destined to assimilate? While there were various answers, Traverso reminds us that, by and large, "Marxist culture remained the prisoner ofa single interpretation ofJewish history, inherited to a large extent from the Enlightenment, which identified emancipation with assimilation and could conceive the end ofJewish oppression only in terms of the overcoming ofJewish otherness" (p. 2). Judaism was, if not a curse or stigma, then certainly a social anomaly. Marx had stated that the Jews had survived because they served as a socio-economic "middleman minority" necessary for the functioning of commerce in medieval Europe. Yet, while Jews were castigated as a "remnant" offeudalism, the Christian basis of antisemitism "was hardly ever mentioned" by most Marxists. In much of their literature, Jew-hatred was reduced to little more than "a tactic employed by the dominant classes to divide the mass ofworkers and exploit the prejudices ofthe petty bourgeoisie" (p. 9). Traverso notes that, perhaps as a result of this shallow analytical framework, socialists and Communists in Germany completely misunderstood and underestimated the danger posed by Nazism after World War I. Ofcourse in the eastern European lands, millions ofYiddish-speaking Jews neither desired assimilation, nor could easily be incorporated as "citizens," even if the various laws restricting their civil rights were to be removed. By the end of the 19th century, they also included a sizable proletariat. Thus, in opposition to the almost monolithic assimilationism of the German Marxists (and Bolsheviks like Lenin...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 133-135
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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