Tough Jews: Political Fantasies and the Moral Dilemma of American Jewry

By Paul Breines | Go to book overview

I
JEWISH TOUGHNESS BEFORE ZIONISM

IN ADDITION to putting the Jewish present and future on a radically new footing, the recent proliferation of tough Jewish imagery has also altered perceptions of the Jewish past. Previously, Jews generally tended to ignore, mute, or repress historical examples of Jewish toughness. Today, one is more likely to see this twig bent in the other direction: Jewish publicists are so fervently in search of progenitors of the new toughness that they are often inclined to deny the very existence of examples of Jewish timidity, gentleness, resignation, or frailty. As part 3 indicates, the post-1967 wave of tough Jewish novels constitutes a vivid example of this sort of overextended historical revisionism. In its own way, so does the present chapter, which offers a historical sketch of pre-1967 tough Jewish imagery, but from a non-Zionist viewpoint.

Most contributors to the larger revisionist effort uphold one

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Tough Jews: Political Fantasies and the Moral Dilemma of American Jewry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface i
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Part One - Sigmund Freud's Tough Jewish Fantasy, Philip Roth'S, and Mine *
  • Part Two - From Masada to Mossad: a Historical Sketch of Tough Jewish Imagery *
  • I - Jewish Toughness before Zionism 77
  • II - Zionist Tough Jews 122
  • Part Three - The "Rambowitz" Novels *
  • Part Four - Toward a Conclusion *
  • Notes 241
  • Bibliography of Tough Jewish Novels 265
  • Index 269
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