Brian Klug: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave”. Unasking Europe’s Jewish Question

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Online-Lecture and Talk with Dr. Brian Klug, London (in English)

The recording you find here:

Jewish Museum Hohenems in collaboration with the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue, Vienna, an event in the series Borders and Identities and the program of The Last Europeans.

The idea of a post-war Europe, founded on universal values of human rights, justice and peace, goes by the name ‘Project Europe’ (or: ‘New Europe’). In a Jewish perspective Brian Klug offers, Jews, as Jews, are woven into the crisis of New Europe, which simultaneously is a crisis in Judaism. For New Europe is still haunted by Old Europe’s ‘Jewish Question’; and Jews are too. The general sense of this toxic question (whose roots lie in antiquity) is this: “What should Europe do with its Jews?” With the change from Old to New, Jews have gone from foil to model: from internal alien to “the first, the oldest Europeans” (Romano Prodi). The hyphen in ‘Judeo-Christian’ writes Judaism into the European self. At the same time, Europe is written into the Jewish state: “Europe ends in Israel. East of Israel, there is no more Europe” (Benjamin Netanyahu). This entwining of New Europe and the Jews entails the othering of both Islam and Palestinians. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave” (Walter Scott). The lecture will argue that, for the sake of the future, we need to take the web apart at the seams: unweaving it: unravelling Europe’s Jewish Question.

Brian Klug is Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford; member of the faculty of philosophy at the University of Oxford; Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton; and Fellow of the College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Xavier University, Chicago. He is Associate Editor of the journal Patterns of Prejudice, and a member of the International Advisory Boards for Islamophobia Studies Yearbook; ReOrient: The Journal of Critical Muslim Studies; and ‘Negotiating Jewish Identity: Jewish Life in 21st Century Norway’ (a project of The Norwegian Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities). He has published extensively on Judaism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism and related topics. His books on Jewish subjects include: Being Jewish and Doing Justice: Bringing Argument to Life; Offence: The Jewish Case; A Time To Speak Out: Independent Jewish Voices on Israel, Zionism and Jewish Identity (co-editor).

On October 20, 2020, we interviewed Brian Klug for our exhibition: About the crisis of Europe and its production of “others”.