Book Review: The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays

The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays

Isaac Deutscher

Alyson Publications1982

Prescient, judicious, and deeply humane essays from Deutscher, the “Non-Jewish Jew,” who placed his internationalism, atheism, and Marxism within the tradition of other heretical Jewish figures in history—Spinoza, Marx, Luxemburg, and others. What binds these figures together is not a racial essence, but their shared location at the interstices of thought and culture, which gives them a critical vantage for interpreting and changing history. The deeply rooted themes of justice and human solidarity in their experience led them away from the narrow strictures of nationalism and religious obscurantism and toward the gleaming light of socialism.

The essays in the this book, movingly introduced and edited by Deutscher’s wife Tamara, range from reflections on European anti-Semitism to remembrances of revolutionary Yiddishkeit to analyses (from the 1950s and 60s) of the nascent and already problematic state of Israel. The totality is a critical and visionary testimony of a discerning thinker that is still hugely relevant at the cross section of left-wing politics and Jewish experience.