A Speech to Europe 2024: "Shadows of History, Spectres of the Present: The Middle East War and Europe’s Challenge"

Part of Wiener Festwochen

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has had a profound impact on Europe. The vastly different responses of individual European countries are rooted in history. While German constitutional patriotism can be interpreted as an attempt to assume responsibility for the Holocaust, the self-image of countries such as France is shaped by their colonial heritage. This long-standing tension between two historically grown positions is becoming increasingly explosive in the wake of recent events in the Middle East. Otherwise unifying, history now threatens to tear the European Union apart. In the third "Speech to Europe", following historian Timothy Snyder and human rights activist Oleksandra Matviichuk, philosopher Omri Boehm addressed the pressing questions of why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict poses a threat to European identity and how a constitutional crisis in the European Union can be averted.

Omri Boehm is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York. He holds a PhD from Yale University and has conducted research in the US, Germany, and Israel. His Israeli politics and philosophy commentaries are regularly published in Haaretz, Die Zeit, and The New York Times. His critically acclaimed book Radikaler Universalismus. Jenseits von Identität Universalismus als rettende Alternative (2022) was awarded the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding in 2024. Recently, Der bestirnte Himmel über mir: Ein Gespräch über Kant (2024), a conversation between Omri Boehm and Daniel Kehlmann, was published with Ullstein.


A joint event by Wiener Festwochen | Freie Republik Wien and the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM Vienna).