Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts - Volume 18, Numbers 1-2 (Spring 5766/2006)
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts

Volume 18, Numbers 1-2 (Spring 5766/2006)

Teaching Morality in Armed Conflict: The Israel Defense Forces Model (At issue)
Amos Guiora

Teaching morality and ethics during armed conflict to combat units presents unique challenges to both military educators and commanders. Aspects of this complex issue include the prevailing military culture, the character of the military training, and the nontraditional combat zone. Armies regard the video as the most developed model for training soldiers about morality in armed conflict. The Israel Defense Forces created a video program by using two- to three-minute clips from relevant Hollywood movies that would be familiar to most of the target audience and presenting eleven "codes of conduct." Following each simulation with its attendant dilemmas, the soldier is given a battery of questions involving legal and moral issues. Although the video was prepared by the IDF School of Military Law, the issue of morality in armed conflict is ultimately the responsibility of the commander.

John Paul II and the Jews: An Evaluation
Sergio Minerbi

Many Jews admired the late Pope John Paul II but paid little attention to the content of his message. A deeper analysis of his statements offers a better understanding. In his encyclical "Dominum et Vivificantem" of 1986, he seemed to revive the accusation of deicide. Visiting Auschwitz in 1979, he called it "the Golgotha of the modern world" and spoke of "six million Poles who lost their lives during the war." He beatified and later canonized Edith Stein, killed at Auschwitz for being Jewish, claiming she was at the same time a "daughter of the Jewish people" and a "believing Christian." Seemingly he aimed to "Christianize" the Shoah. Following the Rabin-Arafat meeting at the White House in 1993, John Paul II accepted normal diplomatic relations with Israel but maintained a fairly hostile political stance. Many of his statements on Jews were ambiguous at best.

A Psychoanalytic View of Contemporary Anti-Semitism
Avner Falk

Racism and anti-Semitism are highly complex human phenomena, having multiple causes including psychological ones. The latter are of paramount importance for understanding anti-Semitism. Over the past few decades, the focus of the psychoanalytic study of anti-Semitism has gradually shifted from the individual to the group. The earlier emphasis on unconscious individual defensive processes has been augmented by a new emphasis on the large group's psychological processes - example, its conscious and unconscious needs for identity, boundaries, allies - enemies. Although, like social-science and human-science theories in general, psychoanalytic theories cannot be tested with the same rigor as natural-science theories, they can help illuminate such crucial human issues as war and peace, politics, racism, anti-Semitism, and genocide.

A New (or Perhaps Revived) "Uninhibitedness" toward Jews in Germany
Andrei Markovits

The post-Holocaust pattern of muted anti-Semitism in accepted European discourse has all but dissolved. For obvious reasons, this pattern probably remained most intact in Germany. But there, too, a new "uninhibitedness" has emerged that fuses old tropes of antipathy toward Jews and Israel with the current Europe-wide hostilities toward America, Israel, and Jews. Although the situation for Jews in Germany and Europe is in no way comparable to that in the 1920s and 1930s, a new tone informs the music.

The Politics of "Transmigration": Why Jewish Refugees Had to Leave Switzerland from 1944 to 1954
Simon Erlanger

The effort to prevent Jewish immigration was central to the Swiss authorities long before the rise of Nazism in Germany and the resultant waves of refugees who reached the Swiss borders in the 1930s and 1940s. Special regulations were enacted to prevent "foreign infiltration," making it increasingly difficult for Jews to settle in Switzerland. Instead, the aim of Swiss policy was "transmigration" or onward migration; permanent asylum was to be denied.

The transmigration policy was suspended during the war. However, most of the Jews who managed to reach Switzerland were interned to prevent them from striking roots in the country. Transmigration was resumed in 1944, and subsequent improvements in Switzerland's treatment of the refugees were made in this context. By 1954, Switzerland had succeeded in compelling almost all the Jewish refugees to leave.

Deconstructing Memory and History: The Jewish Military Union (ZZW) and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Laurence Weinbaum and Dariusz Libionka

The Warsaw Ghetto uprising remains one of the best-known chapters of the Shoah, and the heroism of the insurgents continues to inspire. However, scholarly treatment of the Zydowski Zwiazek Wojskowy or Jewish Military Union, which was founded in the ghetto by elements of the Zionist Revisionist Movement, is still incomplete. Revisionist circles especially have long claimed that the ideological rivals of the ZZW have deliberately prevented its enshrinement in the national pantheon. Although there is validity to that charge, the reality is more complex and nuanced. Establishing the ZZW's rightful place in the historical narrative will require a thorough deconstruction of the existing historiography and, in particular, the shadowy Polish sources that have figured so prominently in its evolution.

The Improvement in Israeli-South Korean Relations
Yaacov Cohen

After a brief period of nonalignment following its establishment in 1948, Israel supported the United States, the United Nations, and South Korea during the 1950-1953 Korean War. In 1962 Israel and South Korea established full diplomatic relations, but in 1978 Israel closed its embassy in Seoul for budgetary reasons. In 1992 Israel reopened the embassy, and since then relations in all fields have improved considerably. The two countries' economies became complementary, and in the 1990s Israel became South Korea's main Middle Eastern market. South Korean structural reforms following its economic and financial crisis of 1997-1998 and the priority it gave to high tech and information technology have enabled the further expansion of bilateral relations.

Technology and Jewish Life
Manfred Gerstenfeld and Avraham Wyler

Technology continues to have a strong and specific impact on Jewish life. It has caused major social changes in various areas, such as the suburbanization of Jews, women's increased learning, and the possibility of participating in worldwide community activities. From a socio-halakhic viewpoint, technology influences Jews' choice of residence, has socialized and politicized kashrut certification, and has changed modes of Jewish study. The development of new technologies has brought with it many halakhic challenges and decisions, on Shabbat observance among other things. Technology may also stimulate better observance of the commandments. It influences Jewish thinking and is leading to new ways of presenting ancient concepts. From a philosophical viewpoint, Judaism proposes a way of life that is not subordinated to technology, unlike life in general society. This is mainly expressed in the domain of holiness. Developing a more detailed analysis of the interaction between technology and Jewish life will open new horizons for learning, studying, thinking, research, determining halakha, and making practical decisions.

The Columbia University Report on Its Middle Eastern Department's Problems: A Methodological Paradigm for Obscuring Structural Flaws (At issue)
Noah Liben

  • Over a number of years, significant structural problems had developed in Columbia University's Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures department (MEALAC). These concerned biased teaching, intimidation of pro-Israeli students, and inadequate grievance procedures.

  • Dozens of cases of faculty misbehavior were finally exposed in the documentary Columbia Unbecoming, which was released in October 2004 by the David Project. This led to the appointment by the administration of an ad hoc faculty committee. None of the five members was unconnected to the matter they had to judge objectively. The issue of biased teaching was a priori excluded from their investigation.

  • The committee's report focused on the one point where Columbia's administration had admitted its fault: handling student grievances. On the intimidation issue, only three cases were seemingly investigated of which one was dismissed. The faculty member found to be at fault, Professor Joseph Massad, was not punished. The report, immediately accepted by the administration, was only partially published.

  • The behavior of Columbia's administration continues to raise many questions as to universities' capability - and Columbia's in particular - to reform themselves.