The personal and professional life of Bruno Kreisky (1911–1990), Austria's long-serving Socialist chancellor from August 1970 to May 1983, has been the focus of many books and articles. However, his ambiguous and complex relationship to his Jewishness, the State of Israel, and Zionism, as well as his connections to his overall political project and global aspirations, remain only partially researched. This book studies and analyzes these more systematically and comprehensively and places Kreisky in a comparative perspective with other twentieth-century European Jewish politicians who attained similar pinnacles of power. At the same time, the book will show that Bruno Kreisky was among the most influential and controversial political leaders since World War II.
The book revolves around understanding and illuminating the myriad ways in which Kreisky's Jewishness was—or was not—a formative factor in his treatment of "Jewish" questions within Austrian politics, Austrian-Israeli relations, and his active engagement in Middle Eastern affairs. This deeper understanding mainly emerges through examining Kreisky's actions during several pivotal events like the Kreisky-Peter-Wiesenthal affair, the Waldheim affair, the 1973 Marchegg incident, and his overall relationship to Zionism, the State of Israel, and the Palestinian Arab world.
This book is not a comprehensive biography of Kreisky. Instead, it attempts to document and place Kreisky's fraught engagement with his Jewishness and the related sensitive issues that touched upon it in a historical, political, ideological, and personal context. This mainly comes down to the entangled and always-ambiguous politics of identity, especially his understanding of his Jewishness.
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"Daniel Aschheim’s new book draws upon a wealth of primary documents as well as his own interviews with those who knew or worked with these famous men to shed new light upon their infamous feuds as well as upon Bruno Kreisky’s politics in general." —Claudia Moscovici
"Many have written previously about the mass of contradictions that was Bruno Kreisky. The Israeli diplomat Daniel Aschheim has now drawn on all past research, interviewed former ambassadors and examined the archived correspondence between the Israeli embassy in Vienna and the foreign ministry in Jerusalem....This is a forensic attempt to uncover the real Kreisky — even so, it is akin to walking into a hall of mirrors." —Colin Shindler, The Jewish Chronicle
Daniel Aschheim, Ph.D., has served as Deputy Consul General of Israel to the Midwest since September of 2020. Previously, Aschheim served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. As Deputy Consul General, Aschheim's portfolio includes overseeing economic, cultural, press, academic, interfaith, and community outreach initiatives in the Consulate's nine-state Midwestern region. Before becoming a diplomat, Aschheim, a Jerusalem native, worked as a director and advisor in the public and NGO sectors and as a senior trainer in the business, public, and education sectors. Aschheim holds a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he completed his MA in European Studies. His BA in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy was completed at Reichman University (IDC Herzliya).