Tony Judt obituary

From The Guardian:

Tony-Judt_-006 Peter Kellner writes: To those who did not know him well, Tony Judt was a bundle of contradictions: an idealist who could be scathingly critical of those who shared his ideals; a Jew, immensely proud of his heritage, who came to be hated by many Zionists; a very European social democrat who preferred to live in America.

To his friends, the contradictions disappeared. As with so many 20th-century Diaspora Jews, education provided the key to Tony's character: in his case, not education to serve the interests of any tribe or ideology, but education to understand and improve the world about him. His driving passions were evidence, rigour and truth. If his pursuit of those passions led him to reject earlier views, or to offend erstwhile allies, so be it. Hence his disillusion with kibbutz life and, later, the moral basis of the state of Israel. Hence his frustrations with the centre-left in Europe and his despair with so many facets of the country that he loved and where he chose to settle. His spell in Israel, immediately after the six-day war and between his first and second years at Cambridge, shaped him in many ways: not just his views of Zionism but his attitude to politics. He was always progressive, but never willing to surrender his judgment to groupthink. He loved few things more than to test arguments – leftwing, rightwing or non-political – with his King's College friends in his room late into the night.

More here.