Good Jew, Bad Jew is a critique by one of South Africa’s foremost political theorists of mainstream understandings of Jewishness. Steven Friedman offers a searing analysis of the weaponisation of anti-Semitism in service of political objectives that support the Israeli state and global white supremacy.
Good Jew, Bad Jew
Looking specifically at the way in which language is used to shape identities, Friedman uses many examples to illustrate how anti-Semitism and anti-Semites are increasingly defined as anything and anyone that opposes the interests and policies of the Israeli state.
The use of anti-racist language to defend racial domination distorts not only the meaning of what it is to be Jewish, but sheds light on how all dogmatic nationalisms function. Friedman uses India and South Africa as examples, but the analysis applies across the world too.
Good Jew, Bad Jew does not offer a simplistic binary understanding of Jewishness and the actions of the Israeli state and ideology. It is a detailed, deeply researched and critical work that will appeal to both specialists and general readers looking for a considered view on how language shapes belief systems and how the powerful forces of racism and nationalism – and their opponents – are being misrepresented.