The disrepute of Israeli intellectuals

Israeli intellectuals of yesteryear may have had differing political opinions, but they agreed on the fundamentals: that the Jews are a nation and deserve a state located in the historic homeland. Sadly, the actions of many modern Israeli intellectuals mark a departure from this view.

June 28, 2011 11:59
The Jerusalem Post

reading boycott 521. (photo credit: Bloomberg)

Writing in these pages last week, Emmanuel Navon dissected a lengthy lament by Israeli intellectuals that appeared in Haaretz earlier this month, in which they mourned “the decline in the intellectual’s public value” and sought to explain it. Some of their explanations were simply nonsensical: Far from needing to conform lest a “vengeful” public “hit him in the pocket,” for instance, the average tenured Israeli academic enjoys far more financial security than many great intellectuals of previous centuries. Others, like the claim that television’s sound-bite culture has reduced public interest in sustained intellectual argument, have some validity, but as Navon noted, these don’t explain why intellectuals in other countries (he cited France’s Bernard-Henri Levy as an example) do still seem to command public attention.

Twilight of the Idols


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