Author: Melissa Byrnes

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Albert Memmi, RIP

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On May 25, 2020
Albert Memmi, the Franco-Tunisian writer, died on May 22. Memmi is best known for his meditations on colonialism, racism, and Jewishness. Born in Tunis, educated within the French system, sent from the University of Algiers to a forced labor camp by Vichy anti-Semitic laws, Memmi supported the decolonization struggles in North Africa even as he […]
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Those currently claiming to “protect” the memory of camp survivors conveniently forget those survivors who fought to ensure all concentration camps would be properly identified. Emma Kuby, an expert on the political afterlives of Nazi concentration camp survivors, has a great piece in Dissent on the International Commission against the Concentration Camp Regime, an activist […]
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Secularism for the Win?

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On December 23, 2018
The latest in laïcité: the mayor of a Parisian suburb banned a vendor from the city’s Christmas market because she was wearing a Muslim headscarf. Zekiye Yildirim was invited by the market’s organizer to sell her pastries and other sweets. She arrived on the morning of November 30 to set up and decorate her stand […]
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Making Allies

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On November 28, 2018
My former colleague, Shana Bernstein, has good things to say on the importance of forging alliances across race and class lines to disrupt rising racist rhetoric, policy, and violence. The recent rash of hate crimes has led to some seemingly unlikely alliances. After an election season full of anti-refugee fearmongering, rabbis organized a pilgrimage to […]

Et tu, Dreyfus?

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On October 9, 2018

One of the latest tropes in discussions of the Kavanaugh confirmation has been to refer to France’s infamous Dreyfus Affair.  Kavanaugh supporters (Dreher, Schindler, Brooks) rely on a shallow

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