Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism: Cosmopolitan Reflections

A Cossack is pointing a gun at a Jew. The Jew, waving his arms around frantically,
says, ‘What’s the matter with you? Don’t you see this is a human being in front
of you?’ The old joke suggests both some of the strengths and weaknesses of
today’s ‘cosmopolitanism.’ The academic movement (set of concerns, themes and
family resemblances, rather than a single unified theory) sailing under that flag
(launched from various social science and humanities disciplines over the past few
decades) appeals to those looking for a way forward – beyond both the fixations
of the left, on anti-imperialism and identity politics, and the right, on nationalism
and neoliberalism, to the exclusion of concern for our shared humanity in either
case. But it could leave those still living outside the ‘Davos culture’ of jet-setting
academics, world leaders and hustling entrepreneurs, wondering exactly who the
cosmopolitan constituency is ‘on the ground.’

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