Where Hannah Arendt Went Wrong

Posted: 2 Jan 2001

See all articles by David Abraham

David Abraham

University of Miami - School of Law

Abstract

This is a contribution to a Symposium on historical investigation commissions, law, and politics in Israel. Part of the "new Israeli historiography," the Symposium examines law and critical junctures in the formation of Israeli state consciousness and ideology. This essay examines the place of law in the construction of two different types of truth: the historical and the political. Specifically, this piece contends that significant parts of Hannah Arendt's *Eichmann in Jerusalem,* those dealing with the cowardice and perfidy of East European Jewish leaders, are constructed on the basis of a political truth that is historically false. Arendt, perhaps unwittingly, accepted the right-wing Zionist effort to outbid mainstream Zionism on the matter of creating a strong, post-diaspora Jewish identity. The instrumentalized, political resolution of a state-building libel trial in Israel provided the basis for the denunciation of European Jewish leaders that is central to Arendt's famous and influential treatment of the holocaust.

Suggested Citation

Abraham, David, Where Hannah Arendt Went Wrong. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=252569

David Abraham (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

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