Mitchell Cohen

    is a US essayist and editor of Dissent magazine. He was born in New York, studied at Columbia University and teaches political science at Baruch College and CUNY Graduate Center. His most acclaimed book is Zion and the State, published by Columbia University Press. He has written books and essays on issues ranging from the theory of social democracy to the relationship between political ideas and culture, opera in particular. Defining himself as a “social democrat” or “liberal socialist”, he has coined the term “rooted cosmopolitanism”, which refers to cosmopolitans who are aware of their roots, which enables them to be citizens connected to their own society at the same time as remaining universalists. Mitchell Cohen has taught at various universities in Europe and the US, including Princeton and Stanford. He is the “American correspondent” of the French journal Raisons politiques and contributor to journals including the Times Literary Supplement, Les Temps Modernes, Musik & Aesthetik, and The New York Times Book Review. “Today, there is also an overlap between a type of anti-Zionism and a type of anti-Semitism. There is a mental structure common to most prejudices—it is shared too by anti-Americanism. It is easy when you can provide all the answers in advance by formula instead of engaging the real world and the lives of real people. I suspect anti-Semitism as well as anti-Zionism in parts of the left trace back to a long-standing failure to understand the particular circumstances of Jews in Europe. This failure was often linked to a blind internationalism that envisaged one solution to all problems. If we create a classless society, there will be no Jewish problem. If we create a classless society, there will be no sexism or racism or…well, fill in the blank. Altogether, this blindness fosters intolerance, smugness, and a penchant for intellectual shortcuts. ‘Third Worldism’ was one such shortcut and now it has taken on a ‘postcolonial’ guise which, when applied to the Middle East, imagines that anything Hamas does is the fault of ‘Zionism’. Well, perhaps we should ask some questions about Hamas’s internationalism.”