This paper tracks the shifting articulations of Judaism as it emerges in France in the latter half of the twentieth century—a France that is still contending with the Shoah and already deep within the throes of decolonization. This historical moment, I suggest, offers a particularly illuminating window through which to understand how the figure of the Jew is established, paradoxically, inside and outside of Europe, as many Jewish thinkers contended with their own unique position vis-à-vis France's colonial apparatus, the decolonial struggles that emerged across North Africa, and their support for the State of Israel. Through a historical and textual comparison of Albert Memmi and Emmanuel Levinas, the paper illuminates the theological-political paradigms in which they were theorizing the position of the Jew. Though very different thinkers in approach and idiom, it tracks how their work negotiates the particularities of Judaism in the colonial and postcolonial context and how that intersected with their approach to Zionism, to which they both maintained strong, if somewhat tendentious relationships. By situating their relationship to Zionism and colonialism within a broader set of questions concerning the position of Jewish difference in a postcolonial world, the paper highlights the complicated co-emergence of Zionism and decolonization and the particular tensions they exerted on their thought.


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pp. 293-321
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