“Since only the final crystallizing catastrophe brought these subterranean trends into the open and to public notice, there has been a tendency to simply equate totalitarianism with its elements and origins-as though every outburst of antisemitism or racism or imperialism could be identified as “totalitarianism.” This fallacy is as misleading in the search for historical truth as it is pernicious for political judgment. Totalitarian politics-far from being simply antisemitic or racist or imperialist or communist-use and abuse their own ideological and political elements until the basis of factual reality, from which the ideologies originally derived their strength and their propaganda value-the reality of class struggle, for instance, or the interest conflicts between Jews and their neighbors-have all but disappeared. It certainly would be a serious error to underestimate the role sheer racism has played and is still playing in the government of the Southern states, but it would be an even more serious fallacy to arrive at the retrospective conclusion that large areas of the United States have been under totalitarian rule for more than a century. The only direct, unadulterated consequence of nineteenthcentury antisemitic movements was not Nazism but, on the contrary, Zionism, which, at least in its Western ideological form, was a kind of counterideology, the “answer” to antisemitism. This, incidentally, is not to say that Jewish self-consciousness was ever a mere creation of antisemitism; even a cursory knowledge of Jewish history, whose central concern since the Babylonian exile has always been the survival of the people against the overwhelming odds of dispersion, should be enough to dispel this latest myth in these matters, a myth that has become somewhat fashionable in intellectual circles after Sartre’s “existentialist” interpretation of the Jew as someone who is regarded and defined as a Jew by others.”

Hannah Arendt

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Kocaeli Üniversitesi Psikolojik Danışmanlık ve Rehberlik

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