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Daniel Pinchbeck and Alan Sabrosky are important public intellectuals who have distinguished themselves tackling controversial topics with integrity and insight. Coincidentally, both just published articles on issues related to Jewish identity politics. (They are both ethnically Jewish but don’t practice Judaism, and are generally non-tribal in political orientation, with Daniel leaning left and Alan leaning right.)
First hour: Daniel Pinchbeck discusses his new article “Jewish Identity, Anti-Semitism, and Tikkun Olam: The Beginning of an Inquiry.” It begins:
“I don’t know why, exactly, I feel this desire — this responsibility — to say the unsayable. I don’t feel totally comfortable unless I am exploring areas of ambiguity and even threat that most people, sensibly, avoid. Sometimes this bears fruit and serves a useful social function. Other times, not so much.
“Why I feel this drive toward the unspeakable remains an open question. Actually, I connect my ongoing desire to explore taboo topics to the subject of today’s essay. This subject is, in part, my own relationship to Judaism. More than that, I want to reflect on Jewish power and influence in the world at this time when anti-Semitism is, once again, on the rise.”
Daniel Pinchbeck is the author of many books including Breaking Open the Head (Broadway Books, 2002), 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl (Tarcher/Penguin, 2006), and Notes from the Edge Times (Tarcher/Penguin, 2010), How Soon Is Now (2017), When Plants Dream (2019), and Conspiranoia (2020). He served as Executive director of the Center for Planetary Culture and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, ArtForum, The New York Times Book Review, and The Village Voice, among other publications.
Second hour: Alan Sabrosky and editorial assistant Cat McGuire discuss their new essay “Unsettled History: The Useful Abuse of the Holocaust.” It begins with a meditation on Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that Facebook would no longer permit “misinformation about settled historical events,” and goes on to question just how “settled” historical events can ever be, with the Holocaust being a case in point.
Alan Ned Sabrosky (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a writer and consultant specializing in national and international security affairs. In December 1988, he received the Superior Civilian Service Award after more than five years of service at the U.S. Army War College as Director of Studies, Strategic Studies Institute, and holder of the General of the Army Douglas MacArthur Chair of Research. He is listed in WHO’S WHO IN THE EAST (23rd ed.). A Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Army War College, Dr. Sabrosky’s teaching and research appointments have included the United States Military Academy, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Middlebury College and Catholic University; while in government service, he held concurrent adjunct professorships at Georgetown University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Dr. Sabrosky has lectured widely on defense and foreign affairs in the United States and abroad.