Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin as Nobel Prize Laureates in Oslo, 1994 © Saar Yaacov/Government Press Office | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Twenty Years after Rabin’s Death: The Oslo Illusion

Looking back in the midst of the Third Intifada

Mahmoud Abbas made headlines last month when he announced in the U.N’s General Assembly that the Palestinians would no longer “continue to be bound” by the Oslo Agreements. He had warned that he was going to drop a “bombshell,” but given that Oslo has been dead for several years already, the significance of …

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Head of Martin Heidegger, 1889-1976, sculpture by Otto Wesendonck, Martin Heidegger museum, castle Messkirch, Baden-Württemberg, Germany © Renaud Camus | Flickr
EducationEssays

The German Geist Dwells Nowhere

The turmoil surrounding Heidegger’s Black Notebooks achieved new heights recently, with Freiburg University’s announcement that its legendary Heidegger Lehrstuhl would be abolished and converted to a junior professorship in logic (!) and analytic philosophy, as if to deliberately obliterate Heidegger’s legacy. Apparently, the Lehrstuhl has become too controversial. This decision may well be scandalous, as Markus Gabriel argued on March 3rd in Süddeutsche Zeitung, but the reasons he marshals in defense of a Heidegger Lehrstuhl in his essay — “Where Does German Spirit Dwell?” — seem to us to create needless confusion. A collegial response is in order.

 

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House destroyed by IDF in Gaza, 2009 ©  Marius Arnesen | Flickr
Essays

Terrorist Rule of Law in Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to the kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem — apparently, in retaliation for the recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank — was a public call to Israelis to “refrain from taking the law into their own hands.” This message, delivered by the Prime Minister both personally and through his spokesmen, is very revealing.

On a first look, it is nothing but a laconic statement — a sober appeal to the nation in a moment of escalating violence that’s alarming even by Israeli standards.

On a second look, it contains an embarrassing mistake. Kidnapping and murdering an innocent Palestinian teenager has nothing to do with “taking the law into one’s own hands.” …

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Danger sign © Mary Crandall | Flickr
CapitalismEssaysThe Left

On the Heilbroner Center’s Manifesto

Explanation and Critique

In our opinion, the document drafted by Julia Ott and Will Milberg for the new Robert L. Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies should be the beginning of a debate among NSSR faculty about the Center’s mission rather than a final manifesto. There are many claims in the document with which we wholeheartedly agree: the pressing necessity to return to discussing and analyzing large structures, long processes, and big questions; the idea that capitalism must be a central object of study and concern; the interpretation of capitalism as a social process; the identification of various power relations as critical determinants of economic outcomes; and the acknowledgment that economic theories operate as political ideologies. Further, we agree with Ott and Milberg that capitalism “should not be assumed.” However, we think that it should not be only “explained,” as the present document suggests, but also, by the same token, criticized. Critique, indeed, is a constitutive part of the explanation of social phenomena and processes, and explaining capitalism without criticizing it does amount to assuming it. …

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Caravaggio's "The Binding of Isaac," oil on canvas. [Public Domain]
Arts & DesignEssays

The Binding of Isaac – Roundtable

The Binding of Isaac, Akedat Yitzhak, continues to serve as a background for discussions of religion, politics, art and philosophy. This concise Biblical narrative, only 19 verses in length, has managed to set a model for thinking about obedience and sacrifice, secularism and politics, art and philosophy—and more.

In the recording below, Yael Feldman (Literary Criticism/Hebrew Studies, NYU), James Goodman (History/Writing, Rutgers), Jay Bernstein and I meet to discuss our different perspectives on the story.

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Caravaggio's "The Binding of Isaac," oil on canvas. [Public Domain]
Multi MediaVideo

The Binding of Isaac – Roundtable

The Binding of Isaac, Akedat Yitzhak, continues to serve as a background for discussions of religion, politics, art and philosophy. This concise Biblical narrative, only 19 verses in length, has managed to set a model for thinking about obedience and sacrifice, secularism and politics, art and philosophy—and more.

In this recording, Yael Feldman (Literary Criticism/Hebrew Studies, NYU), James Goodman (History/Writing, Rutgers), Jay Bernstein (Philosophy, NSSR) and Omri Boehm (Philosophy, NSSR) meet to discuss their different perspectives on the story.

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