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Loren Ringer

Alain Finkelkraut has interrogated contemporary Jewish identity in terms of how a Jew reckons with the heavy impact of the Holocaust and in fact with the entire history of the Jewish people. Finkelkraut takes issue with Sartre’s 1947 essay, Anti-Semite and Jew, not for its content but the effect that it has had on him. “Let there be no misunderstanding: I am not attacking the book that Sartre wrote on the Jewish problem,” asserts the author in a footnote (JI 17, my translation). Instead, he shows how the philosopher aids in the creation of what Finkelkraut terms “the imaginary Jew.”