Faculty Writing: On the Arendt Prize Controversy, and a Palestine Reading List from Dilettante Army

Writing in The Guardian, Samantha Hill explains why, in contemporary Germany, not even Hannah Arendt would have won the Arendt Prize—an honor nearly not awarded to journalist Masha Gessen for her analysis of the situation in Gaza. Not only would “Arendt’s writing on Germany … be more controversial than Gessen’s own,” given the former’s forceful condemnation of the Israeli treatment of Arabs, writes Hill, but the Arendt Prize debacle is symptomatic of contemporary Germany’s ironic propulsion of “anti-anti-Semitism”—a contorted logic “used to justify the mass slaughter of Palestinian people, while having the effect of actually increasing antisemitism and making Jewish people less safe everywhere.”

And, relatedly, the editors of Dilettante Army—among them BISR’s Rebecca Ariel Porte—have assembled a helpful, thoughtful, and wide-ranging Palestine Reading List, featuring writing by, and writing recommended by, among others, BISR faculty Danielle Drori, Suzanne Schneider, and Sophie Lewis—with BISR’s own Catastrophe in Context Teach-In reading list as an appendix. On the list, Drori excavates the “political unconsciousness” of contemporary Israeli literature and recommends +972 Magazine, an online platform for independent journalism in Israel and Palestine. Schenider, then, investigates Yoram Hazony’s role in providing intellectual cover for Israel’s illiberal policy and recommends Arthur Herzberg’s book The Zionist Idea, a study of early Zionist thinking. Lewis, for her part, directs readers to the work of Writers Against the War on Gaza, a coalition modeled on American Writers Against the Vietnam War.

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