I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
This is from v/vi of the longer than I usually read introduction, but so far this is super fascinating. This is literally the first page and I have so many things to so.
So Sartre wrote this after the occupation of France by Nazi forces. In the aftermath, no one was speaking about bringing back the deported Jews and Sartre was like 'huh. Maybe I should write about this.' So he writes about the "...complicity of the French in the Nazi project. He did so, however, at a level of abstraction that only a few of the French found disturbing. The critique, as it turns out, was more disturbing to the Jews, with whom Sartre meant to declare his solidarity."
So, thoughts: first, I was reading this while waiting for the water to heat up for my shower. Secondly, let's talk about the necessity for this abstraction when talking about antisemitism. It shouldn't be there, but it kind of has to be at the same time. It's like the way the women's march leaders continue to be directly called out and they go 'no, we're so good, no, we can't possibly be antisemitic, no, no, no.' Maybe abstraction would have worked to get them to listen. (I'm not a proponent of this, especially since nowadays every other minority is defended when they call out people blatantly, but I can understand why, in Sartre's time, this was what I assume he was thinking.)
Still, the Shoah has just happened: families were literally destroyed, a whole ethnic group traumatized by this huge loss. I can understand why they wanted some very blatant solidarity and finger pointing, at the very least.
Then again, I doubt the French would have taken more blatant, and more offensive-to-them accusations seriously. Heads up, guys: France is still super antisemitic. Just look at the elderly woman who was a survivor of the Shoah and killed in France last year. Just look at the uptick of antisemitic crimes in France. Yup, France is still a scary place for Jews, and I love France despite this.
Also, another thought is Hydra. Clearly a nazi stand-in at the beginning, Marvel watered it down to fascists in general which they used to gaslight everyone that Hydra was never about nazis at all, nope, no way. This is despite Baron Zemo, a character fighting to take over Hydra when Marvel said this, was a nazi. Womp, womp, fail Marvel. (And this hurt will never away; I loved, and still love, Marvel deeply and the fact that they said this hurts. I will never fully trust them again, as much as I will still read their books unless they do something stupid like turn into full on nazi propagandists. I will not stop calling them out on this until they apologize for actually gaslighting us about Hydra and recognizing those roots.)
This was because there were isolationists when Hydra was created: America had not entered WWII, and Kirby and Lee didn't want to make their books unreadable to the isolationists. They wanted to talk to them, and yes, have them be willing to pay for their products. How could they fight nazis without the isolationists being spooked about not getting drawn into the war? Hydra, as a nazi stand in, worked.
So why was it okay for them and not Sartre? Is it because I have time, and the benefit of seeing what they were doing without the immediate raw wound? Was it because America hadn't been complicit in the same active way France had? (Yes, I know America wasn't occupied either, but I doubt the distinction mattered to thus with severe PTSD, or who had lost their families just then.)
Or maybe it's that Cap was being distributed in America, aka not those directly complicit, whereas Sartre was trying to talk to those directly complicit and Jews were not willing to trust the ambiguity given what they'd just been through: they were already being told that people were 'just following orders' so anything other than a direct 'France was most fucking definitely complicit' may have seemed like a way to try and wriggle out of taking any responsibility. (Much like the women's march is trying to do, which is why I still don't trust them.)
So I'm probably going to Have Lots of Thoughts about this.