Santiago Slabodsky's Decolonial Judaism: Triumphal Failures of Barbaric Thinking returns to a history of Jewish persecution, but unlike other attempts to trace the tradition of the Jewish “conscious pariah,” it does not aim to identify an “essence” of Judaism (say, “exilic consciousness”). The book's underlying goal is to think through the failures of previous Jewish projects to turn to the history of Jewish persecution, in order to form successful and meaningful political alliances with other, equally persecuted victims of Western hegemony. In this review, we position Decolonial Judaism in conversation with contemporary debates on exilic or diasporic Judaism and discuss the usefulness of a decolonial versus a postcolonial framework for evaluating the modern history of Judaism. Finally, we gauge the potential of reading decolonized or barbaric Judaism into the contemporary settler-colonial Jewish condition in Israel/Palestine.
Book Review|November 01 2017