Steven E. Aschheim, The Modern Jewish Experience and the Entangled Web of Orientalism.
Menasseh ben Israel Instituut Studies iv (ISBN 978-90-806570-9-0; 42 pp., Amsterdam 2010)
Steven Aschheim discusses the crucial role perceptions of ‘East’ and ‘West’ played in shaping the modern Jewish experience. He examinesthe manyways in whichnotions ofOrientalismandOccidentalism were usedagainst Jews, but also how they were employed by Jews themselves. Presenting a colorful paradeof characters from Jewish history,includingYehudaHaLevi, GershomScholem, TheodorHerzl andJacobIsraelde Haan, Aschheim showshownotions of East and West were acommon threadthroughout modernJewishEuropean historyand demonstratestheironicways in whichthese oppositesexerted influence onZionismand on the conflict in the MiddleEast, leading toreflectionsonthe‘clash ofcivilizations’and the workof EdwardSaid, but also to existentialquestionswhich remain relevant until this day and which sometimes seem to shape global politics.