Judith Butler and the Adorno Prize: A Preliminary Annotated Bibliography

 A preliminary and sporadically annotated chronological bibliography of the Butler Adorno Prize affair. Suggestions for both other articles and annotations welcome. 

For relevant preliminary bibliography, see below.

Clemens Heni, The German city of Frankfurt awards the “Professor of Parody” and hatred of Israel: Judith Butler, Blogpost, June 8, 2012. (The earliest and one of the most thoroughly researched and documented pieces on the controversy.)

Ralf Schumann and Matthias Kuntzel, Nikoline Hansen, SPME Statement on awarding Judith Butler the “Adorno Prize”, SPME Germany, August 15, 2012

Rick Richman, PJ Media Bad Writing, Universities, and Zionism, PJ Media: 8/19/2012

Elder of Ziyon, The Butler did it: 8/27/2012

Benjamin Weinthal, “Israeli envoy slams ‘anti-Israel’ US academic award,” Jerusalem Post: 9/12/2012 (summary of opposition, citing SPME Statement and other people including Gerald Steinberg from NGO Monitor. No one accuses her of anti-Semitism here, but of associating with known anti-Semites.)

Benjamin Weinthal, “German Jewish leader: Rescind Israel hater’s prize,” The Jerusalem Post:  8/27/2012

Judith Butler, “Judith Butler responds to attack: ‘I affirm a Judaism that is not associated with state violence’,” Mondoweiss: 8/27/2012 (Butler’s response to [alleged] accusations in Jerusalem Post article)

Bruce Bawer, “The Fraud of Identity Studies,” Front Page Magazine: 8/28/2012 (A sharp critique of the academic content of Butler’s work, part of a larger study by Bawer, The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind.)

Michael Totten, “The Anti-Imperialism of Fools,” World Affairs Journal, 8/28/2012 (a specific critique of Butler’s claim that Hamas and Hizbullah are part of the “global Left” because they are (or say they are) “anti-imperialist”.)

Edward Alexander, “Judith Butler and the Theodor Adorno Prize,” The Jerusalem Post: 8/29/2012

As’ad AbuKhalil, “Why so defensive, Judith?” The Angry Arab, 8/30/2012 (A post that scorns Butler for her non-violence, in which “she clearly and unequivocally equates the violence of occupation with the violence of resistance.”)

Petra Marquardt-Bigman, “The Warped Mirror: Judith Butler and the politics of hypocrisy,” Jerusalem Post: 8/30/2012

Judith Butler, “Judith Butler: Fangen wir an, miteinander zu sprechen,” Berliner Zeitung: 8/31/2012

Ralf Schumann and Matthias Kuntzel, Nikoline Hansen, “Prof. Butler´s reply speaks for Itself,” SPME Germany: 8/31/2012

Richard Landes, “Judith Butler, the Adorno Prize, and the Moral State of the ‘Global Left’,” short version at SPME Faculty Forum, longer version at Augean Stables: 8/31/2012

Elder of Ziyon, “The Fundamental Dishonesty of Judith Butler,”: 9/1/2012

Giulio Meotti, “Op-Ed: Why did Frankfurt’s “Judenrat” Honor an Anti-Zionist?,” Israel National News: 9/3/2012

Zum Adorno-Preis für Judith Butler – Unterstützungserklärung: 9/3/2012. (Petition in support of Butler, even as it acknowledges that her notion of H&H as “anti-imperialist” is absurd.)

Raphael Ahren, “Frankfurt under fire for giving 50,000 euro prize to ‘virulent Israel,” Times of Israel: 9/4/2012

Todd Gitlin, “The Trouble With Judith Butler—and Her Critics,” The Chronicle of Higher Education: 9/4/2012

Richard Landes, Gitlin comes to the Defense of Butler’s Diasporic Non-Violence: Red Meat for the Vegan CrowdThe Augean Stables, 9/5/2012 (fisking of Gitlin.)

Dovid Efune, “Judith Butler and the Crime of Academic Inverse Liberalism,” Huffington Post: 9/5/2012

Frankfurt ripped for honoring Jewish-American scholar who backs Israel boycott,” Jewish Telegraph Agency 9/5/2012; Haaretz: 9/7/2012

A. Jay Adler, “Impenetrable: The Hollow Rhetoric of Judith Butler,” The Algemeiner: 9/6/2012 (Perhaps the single most penetrating piece on the affair. Adler critiques here protestations of sincerity and innocence of motive (“I’m more naive than dangerous”), by invoking Graham Greene’s comment: “Innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.”

Richard A. Landes, “Judith Butler, Renounce the Adorno Prize,” Times of Israel: 9/6/2012

Petra Marquardt-Bigman, “Defending Judith Butler in the Ivory Tower,” The Algemeiner: 9/7/2012

Michael Köhler and Micha Brumlik, “‘Eine würdige Preisträgerin’ – Debatte über die Kritik an der Kultur heute,” Deutschlandfunk: 9/7/2012

Richard Landes and Benjamin Weinthal, “The Post-Self-Destructivism of Judith Butler,” The Wall Street Journal: 9/9/2012.

Helen Whittle, “Adorno Prize for Judith Butler irks Jewish Groups,” Deutsche Welle: 9/9/2012

A. Jay Adler, “Update to ‘Impenetrable’,” Sad Red Earth: 9/10/2012 (response to Whittle’s article in which she regularly describes Butler as a “critic of Israeli policy” rather than an opponent of the very existence of a Jewish state.)

Carl in Jerusalem, “The Anti-Semites Useful Idiot,” Israel Matsav: 9/10/2012

Honoring Judith Butler a Setback to German-Israeli Relations, “AJC: Global Jewish Advocacy: 9/10/2012

Ron Radosh, “The Case of Judith Butler: The Anti-Semitism that Defines Today’s Western Left,” PJ Media: 9/10/2012

Richard Landes, “Response to Ron Radosh: The Demotic vs. the Self-Destructivist LeftThe Augean Stables: 9/11/2012

Vic Rosenthal, “The Post-Structuralist Version of the Sermon on the Mount,” Jewish Press, 9/11/2012

Benjamin Weinthal, “Berlin Jewish Museum event calls for Israel boycott,” Jerusalem Post, 9/19/2012

Ron Radosh, “Why There Cannot be a Decent Left: An Answer to Richard Landes, PJMedia, 9/19/2012

Yitzhak Laor, “In the spirit of Hannah Arendt,” Haaretz: 9/11/2012

Richard Landes, “Laor (anti-Zionist) defends Butler (anti-Zionist) in the pages of Ha’aretz (anti-Zionist?), The Augean Stables, 9/12/2012 (fisking of Laor)

Benjamin Weinthal, “Israeli envoy slams ‘anti-Israel’ US academic Award,” Jerusalem Post

Adorn Butler with the Adorno Prize: She will add to its worth,” The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel: 9/11/2012

Judith Butler Wins Adorno Prize,” UC Berkeley Public Affairs: 9/12/2012 (Interview with Butler)

Yisrael Medad, “Is Jew-Washing Proper English?” Jerusalem Post: 9/13/2012 (Tries to write an entry in the 21st century OED, using the passage from Landes and Weinthal, as a paradigmatic usage for the term, first introduced by Steinberg and Santis.)

Kein Adorno Preis für Antisemiten – Demo vor der Frankfurter Paulskirche: 9/13/2012 (Youtube of the anti-Butler rally in Frankfurt on 9/11/2012.)

Latma: “Post chronological Islamic history,” 9/14/2012.

(Spectacular spoof of a “post-chronological” historian whose relevance to Butler is even greater than one might expect. In his devastating critique of one of Butler’s intellectual heroines, Hannah Arendt, Elchanan Yakira points out that Arendt blames the Zionists for inventing the “notion of anti-Semitism’s being a natural component of Jewish existence.” Han Jonas on Arendt, cited in Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust, p. 229.)

Jo-Anne Mort, Zionism and Its Discontents: Judith Butler Fails To Make Coherent Case for Anti-Zionist ViewsThe Forward, 9/17/2012

Eva Illouz, Judith Butler gets a taste of her own politicsHa-aretz, 9/20/2012

Benjamin Weinthal, “Israel raps Berlin Jewish Museum for boycott event,” Jerusalem Post, 09/20/2012

Alex Joffe, “Adorno, Butler, and the Death of Irony,” Jewish Ideas Daily, 09/28/2012

Relevant Preliminary Bibliography:

Judith Butler, “No it’s not anti-semitic to criticize Israel,” London Review of Books, 8/16/2003 (Butler’s response to Larry Summer’s claim (9/2002) that extremist criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic in effect even if not intended as such. This seems to be one of her earlier engagements in the Zionist controversy.)

Rebecca Siegel, “Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism: A Response to Judith Butler,” Bad Subjects, 70, 10/2004;

Jack Furness (editor of BS), “Anti-Zionism is NOT Anti-Semitism: Reflections on Palestine and What I’ve Learned About Being an Editor, a Jew, and a Leftist,” Bad Subjects, 77, 10/2007 (response to Siegel).

On Anti-Semitism, Boycotts, and the Case of Hermann Dierkes: An Open Letter from Jewish Peace Activists, 3/30/2009 (Signed by Judith Butler; Dierkes is a member of the German Die Linke Party which marched with Hamas shouting Jihadi slogans including “Death to Israel.”)

Judith Butler, “As a Jew, I was taught it was ethically imperative to speak up,” Ha-aretz, 2/24/10

Camila Bassi, “‘The Anti-Imperialism of Fools’: A Cautionary Story on the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard of England’s Post-9/11 Anti-War Movement,” ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 9:2, (2010): 113-137

Judith Butler on Hamas, Hezbollah & the Israel Lobby (2006),” Radical Archives, March 28, 2010 (This post contains a host of trackbacks, providing an excellent range of discussion on the radical left about Butler in 2010.)

Judith Butler, “I must distance myself from this complicity with racism,” Website of European Graduate School, 6/19/2010 (Butler refuses the “Civil Courage Prize” from the Christopher Street Day LGTB Pride Parade; the video of her speech is here.)

Press Release by SUSPECT, “NO HOMONATIONALISM: Judith Butler refuses Berlin Pride Civil Courage Prize 2010,” Suspect, 6/20/2010 (pro-Butler)

Pauline Park, “Judith Butler, faux anti-racist,” Pauline Park Gender Rights Advocate, 6/2010 (anti-Butler on refusal of prize).










































7 Responses to Judith Butler and the Adorno Prize: A Preliminary Annotated Bibliography

  1. […] Last but by no means least, anyone who wants to read up on the Butler controversy should check out the bibliography at the blog of Richard Landes. […]

  2. well, i would like to take a bit of credit for this, as the person who sent a little paper ship down the river a couple years ago. Butler’s statement was already known – i found out about it in a little-known journal article by Camila Bassi – but I was the one who transcribed it alongside a link to the original video, and so generally it is the base source for the quote. Also you can find a variety of articles from a couple years ago when Butler turned down a queer prize in Berlin and this originally came up as a subject of debate. Anyway here it is: http://radicalarchives.org/2010/03/28/jbutler-on-hamas-hezbollah-israel-lobby/

  3. i’ve also been told – but not seen myself – that in 2006, after the UCB talk, Butler’s statements became an issue on the Berkeley campus, and there was a discussion in the school’s student media about this.

  4. Makronaut says:

    Here’s another article (sorrily in german) by the austrian newspaper “Die Jüdische”, which focuses on the fabrications(!) Butler brings fourth to defend her infamous classification of Hamas and Hezbollah as “part of the global left”.


  5. […] I was recently asked to write a preface to a volume of essays on Millennialism. After discussing the enormous resistance of “conventional” historians to allowing millennial topics any more than marginal status within the larger narrative of Western history, and arguing on the contrary that we need to define millennialism in a way that includes stealth secular forms (e.g., communism), I concluded with a discussion of the stakes involved, in part inspired by my encounter with Judith Butler’s work over the past weeks.  […]

  6. […] Judith Butler, whose idea of Judaism consists of a universalist reading of Martin Buber. But on weeks like this, […]

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