Definition Edit Sartre begins by defining antisemitism as characterized by certain opinions: attributing "all or part of his own misfortunes and those of his country to the presence of Jewish elements in the community, Sartre states that "It is first of all a passion. It is an involvement of the mind, but one so deep-seated and complex that it extends to the physiological realm, as happens in cases of hysteria. If the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would invent him. It lends new perspective to experience and historical fact.
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Definition Edit Sartre begins by defining antisemitism as characterized by certain opinions: attributing "all or part of his own misfortunes and those of his country to the presence of Jewish elements in the community, Sartre states that "It is first of all a passion. It is an involvement of the mind, but one so deep-seated and complex that it extends to the physiological realm, as happens in cases of hysteria.
If the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would invent him. It lends new perspective to experience and historical fact. The anti-Semite convinces himself of beliefs that he knows to be spurious at best. Bad faith Edit Sartre deploys his concept of bad faith as he develops his argument.
For Sartre, the anti-Semite has escaped the insecurity of good faith, the impossibility of sincerity. He has abandoned reason and embraced passion. Sartre comments that, "It is not unusual for people to elect to live a life of passion rather than of reason. But ordinarily they love the objects of passion: women, glory, power, money. Since the anti-Semite has chosen hate, we are forced to conclude that it is the state of passion that he loves.
The rational man groans as he gropes for the truth; he knows that reasoning is no more than tentative, that other considerations may intervene to cast doubt on it.
He can blame anything on the Jew; he does not need to engage reason, for he has his faith. The anti-Semite is a prime example of a person who has entered into bad faith to avoid responsibility.
He attempts to relinquish his responsibility to anti-Semitism and a community of anti-Semites. He "fears every kind of solitariness… however small his stature, he takes every precaution to make it smaller, lest he stand out from the herd and find himself face to face with himself.
He has made himself an anti-Semite because that is something one cannot be alone. Anti-Semitism is a way of feeling good, proud even, rather than guilty at the abandonment of responsibility and the flight before the impossibility of true sincerity.
The anti-Semite abandons himself to the crowd and his bad faith, he "flees responsibility as he flees his own consciousness, and choosing for his personality the permanence of the rock, he chooses for his morality the scale of petrified values.
The anti-Semite is afraid "of himself, of his own consciousness, of his own liberty, of his instincts, of his responsibilities, of solitariness, of change, of society, and the world — of everything except the Jews. The anti-Semite is a man who wishes to be pitiless stone, a furious torrent, a devastating thunderbolt — anything except a man. First he goes through the various ways in which the term or identity "Jew" has been defined.
One by one he proves to his own satisfaction why each is fatally flawed.
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980)
Page 1 Page 2 Summary Sartre constructs his landmark postwar analysis of anti-Semitism around four feature characters: the anti-Semite, the democrat, the authentic Jew, and the inauthentic Jew. He presents their interactions as a kind of hypothetical drama. Sartre first explains that the anti-Semite character represents the most reactionary tendencies of a French cultural nationalist. He hates modernity and sees the Jew as the representative of all that is new and mysterious within society. In this way, the anti-Semite creates for himself a Jew that is representative of all that he loathes. In turn, the presence of the Jew, the object of his hatred, forms the anti-Semite and gives him his very reason for being. In perhaps the most famous passage of the work, Sartre declares that even if the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would create him.