What Is Jewish Literature, Anyway?

When asked what makes a work of fiction qualify as Jewish literature, Philip Roth famously replied that a book is Jewish “if it doesn’t shut up.” Regardless of whether they accept this answer, many readers believe that Jewish literature exists as a meaningful category. Adam Kirsch, in conversation with Abraham Socher, explores the question of what could possibly unite such disparate authors as Susan Sontag, Amos Oz, Franz Kafka, and Cynthia Ozick. Drawing on his recent book on the subject, Kirsch takes a literary tour through time that begins with Kafka and his fellow Hapsburg subject Arthur Schnitzler, through the golden age of American Jewish writers—exemplified by Saul Bellow, Roth, and Ozick—and beyond. (Video, 64 minutes.)


Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Cynthia Ozick, Franz Kafka, Jewish literature, Saul Bellow

Using the Power of the Law to Fight Anti-Semitism

Examining carefully the problem of anti-Semitism, and sympathy with jihadists, at American universities, Danielle Pletka addresses the very difficult problem of what can be done about it. Pletka avoids such simplistic answers as calling for more education and turns instead to a more promising tool: law. The complex networks of organizations funding and helping to organize campus protests are often connected to malicious states like Qatar, and to U.S.-designated terrorist groups. Thus, without broaching complex questions of freedom of speech, state and federal governments already have ample justifications to crack down. Pletka also suggests various ways existing legal frameworks can be strengthened.

And that’s not all:

What is Congress’s ultimate leverage? Federal funding. Institutions of higher education in the United States will receive north of $200 billion from the federal government in 2024.

[In addition], it is critical to understand that foreign funders have been allowed, more or less, to turn U.S. institutions of higher education into political fiefdoms, with their leaders and faculty serving as spokesmen for foreign interests. Under U.S. law currently, those who enter into contracts or receive funding to advocate for the interest of a foreign government are required to register with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This requirement is embedded in a criminal statute, and a violation risks jail time. There is no reason compliance by American educational institutions with disclosure laws should not be subject to similar criminal penalties.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American law, Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus