Norm 1943-2013

I am sad to report that norman_geras_140x140Norman Geras, political philosopher and writer of normblog, died this morning.

He wrote with clarity, courage and commitment about contemporary antisemitism.  He wrote about lots of other things too.

The most fitting tribute I can think of is to link to things that he wrote:

On Alibi Antisemitism – major piece in fathom.  (Jan 2013)

On Greg Philo’s work which says that Israel’s view of things dominates the media.  (Jun 2011)

On Jon Pike’s resignation from UCU.  (June 2009)

It doesn’t matter if criticism of and attitudes to Israel are anti-Semitic, so long as they are also anti-Zionist.  (April 2009)

On Antony Lerman and the ‘one state solution’.  (April 2009)

On Seaumas Milne’s apologetics for Ahmadinejad. (April 2009)

On the Israel-Nazi comparison.  (April 2009)

On accusations made against Israel of war crimes.  (Feb 2009)

Why a boycott would be antisemitic (in response to Martin Shaw). (Sep 2008)  More on Martin Shaw.  (September 2008)    And more still on Shaw (Oct 2008).

On resigning from UCU.  (July 2008)

On Tony Judt.  (Feb 2008)

On Norman Finkelstein and academic freedom.  (June 2007)

On Steven Rose.  (June 2006)

On Jews for Justice for Palestinians.  (April 2006)  And also here on JFJFP.  (August 2006)

On singling out Israel.  (June 2005)

14 Responses to “Norm 1943-2013”

  1. Jacob Arnon Says:

    How sad, David. I used to check his blog every morning to see what he wrote.
    I will miss his posts.

  2. James Mendelsohn Says:

    Really sad to hear this, my condolences to Norm’s family

  3. Jessica Goldfinch Says:

    A diamond geezer. My thoughts are with Norman’s family, friends and you all x

  4. Norman Geras. Not an obituary. | Soupy One Says:

    […] Update 3: Engage has produced a small tribute, Norm 1943-2013. […]

  5. Sarah AB Says:

    Although Norman Geras wrote about many issues (not all of them connected with politics) in an illuminating and memorable way, it was perhaps his posts on antisemitism and the boycott issue which made most impression on me.

  6. Sara Says:

    So very very sad to hear Norm has passed, a giant of a man, he used to take the time, even with his illness, to respond to emails, his blog was one of a kind, as was Norm.
    condolences to all the family – wish you long life
    Shalom dear friend

  7. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    When I came across an obituary to Norm on The Tablet (here: late last night, I was moved to add this comment:

    This is upsetting: I met Norm in the 1990s, when I started attending his once-a-term seminars on the Holocaust for graduates and practising academics. It led to me writing a paper for his seminar and, later, a further development of that as a paper for the British Sociological Association’s Annual Conference.

    He led that seminar with grace and gentleness, just as Ben Cohen describes him doing in his seminar on Marxism. In the seminar I attended, his Marxism, while it clearly influenced his chairing of these meetings, never obtruded into the discussion in any disruptive way. It was there that I made the acquaintance of both Eve Garrard (who guest-posted on Normblog) and David Hirsh, who went on to become the founding editor of engageonline, as well as both get his PhD and publish the expansion of his thesis as a good book.

    Norm never permitted comments on his blog (quite right too: it wasn’t that sort of blog and, anyway, it would have taken far too much of his time moderating the comments). He’d rather get on with life: taken his morning walks around Cambridge (to which he and Adele retired once he left Manchester), reading the papers and the various books he was reading, writing his blog, and so forth. However, I was privileged to have his email address, and occasionally, very occasionally, I would send him an email to comment on a particular item he had published. I always received the courtesy of a reply.

    I met Norm once more after Manchester: a friend runs a monthly discussion group for the small Jewish community and had invited Norm to address “her” group. When I said that I knew him, she invited us (my wife and I) for dinner with Norm and Adele. It was a delightful evening, even if Norm was embarrassed to be asked (by me) to sign my copy of his book (Contract…): he had to ask Adele, a successful author in her own right, how to do it!

    I shall miss him. The worst of it is, once I get over the lack of his voice, that he was only a year older than me. The shades close in…”

    I have also sent this note to Adele, his widow.

    We will miss his voice.

  8. normfest Says:

    […] much of what Norm wrote was great. For a bracing tour, visit this round-up by Engage of some of his best writings on anti-Semitism and Left-wing failure in response. For me, […]

  9. Noga Says:

    For me, Norm exemplified the spirit of decency. How can you do justice to the man without sliding into cliche? I’ll borrow from Jane Austen, whom he admired as much I do: “… for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”

  10. BOB BORSLEY: I miss you Norm | normfest Says:

    […] Chris Brooke, Max Dunbar, Nick Cohen. Engage has collected some of his greatest hits here, and Soupy is collating some of the […]

  11. BOB from Brockley: I miss you Norm | normfest Says:

    […] Chris Brooke, Max Dunbar, Nick Cohen. Engage has collected some of his greatest hits here, and Soupy is collating some of the […]

  12. Philip Says:

    Very sad news indeed. A clever man with a keen sense of right and wrong.

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