This book regards Arab Islamism and liberalism as distinct political ideologies with all-encompassing views on the structure and appropriate roles of society and the state. The thesis presented here on the different functions of Israel and Zionism within these two ideologies refers to a protracted period of time. It also establishes several generalizations about the actions of individuals and groups in a vast geographic and linguistic space. The book first offers a chronological overview of the Islamist ideological opposition to Zionism. It portrays the main characteristics of and driving forces behind this resistance and explores the different pragmatic approaches toward Israel that have developed in the various epochs of Islamist thought. The book then discusses Islamist depictions of Zionism and Israel as role models and analyses the reasons for the formation and acceptance of such interpretations. It also offers a chronological overview of the evolution of liberal thought with regard to the Zionist enterprise. It depicts the various perceptions of peace and normalization created within this thought and demonstrates the contradictory ways in which the Arab liberal struggle for freedom and democracy has been intertwined with the Israeli-Arab conflict. Finally, the book discusses liberal interpretations that represent Zionism and Israel as role models, and analyses the reasons for the formation and acceptance of such interpretations.
A war of no compromises and compromises during war
Islamism, Zionism and Israel:
a war of no compromises
and compromises during war
Since its inception and through to the present time, one of the appeals
of Islamism has been its ability to crystallize complex theological
olitical ideas into simple and catchy formulae. Accessible to all,
these formulae masquerade as clear-cut, unwavering, undeniable truths
that are not up for negotiation; their authority originates from divine
revelation and is supported by the lessons learned from reality itself.
Another appeal of Islamism, particularly from its
Introduction: genesis of Zionism
The term ‘Zionism’ was first coined in 1885 by Nathan Birnbaum (1864–1937), a Viennese Jewish activist and writer, but as is often the case the invention of the name actually post-dated the phenomenon it sought to describe. From the 1870s, small Jewish agricultural settlements had been established in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire, but the year 1881 represented a pivotal moment in the early history of Zionism. First, in that year Alexander II, the Tsar Liberator, was
2 Zionism and Anglo-Jewry
Poale Zion’s effectiveness in gaining labour movement support partly depended
on the wider Zionist movement’s campaign to win over Britain’s Jewish
community. In 1930, well before Zionism came to dominate Anglo-Jewry’s
political outlook, Lloyd George was advised, when addressing the Jewish
electorate in Whitechapel, that it ‘would like to hear something brief and
personal about Palestine’.1 In this period, declarations along these lines by
prominent politicians would have been understood by most East End Jews as a
This study examines how the diverse strands of the British left have interpreted the conflict in Palestine. From being overwhelmingly supportive of the Zionist movement’s effort to build a Jewish state in Palestine and welcoming Israel’s establishment the left, in the main, has become increasingly critical of Israel. The Labour Party, for much of its history, had portrayed Zionist settlement as a social democratic experiment that would benefit both Jews and Arabs. Its leaders turned a blind eye to the Zionist movement’s sectarian practices which through its trade union and agricultural co-operatives aimed to build an exclusively Jewish economy. The rise of fascism in Europe and the Holocaust reinforced the party’s support for Jewish state building in Palestine. The British Communist Party was by contrast critical of Zionism but in 1947, following the lead given by the Soviet Union, endorsed the United Nations’ partition of Palestine and subsequently ignored the plight of the Palestinian refugees. It was not until the rise of the new left, in the late 1960s, that Palestinian nationalist aspiration found a voice on the British left and began to command mainstream attention. The book examines the principal debates on the left over the Palestine/Israel conflict and the political realignment that they have helped to shape.
Arab liberals between the struggle against
despotism and the war against Zionism
Arab liberals, Zionism and Israel
Rationalism and pragmatism have been the two cornerstones of Arab
liberalism from its dawn to contemporary times. Arab liberals have
defined themselves as the standard-bearers of empirical science, technological development and social progress; those who look toward
the future instead of dwelling on the past, and pave a way that is not
strewn with solacing traditions, inebriating fantasies and far-fetched
wishes. However, rationality and
This article presents a forgotten manuscript of a personal account of one of the
first Jewish settlers who departed from Romania to Palestine in 1882 and helped
found the colony of Samarin, which was later taken over by Baron de Rothschild
and renamed Zichron Yaakov. Friedrich Horn, a schoolmaster with Austrian
nationality who had settled in Romania fifteen years before his departure to
Palestine, gave the manuscript of his unfinished work Nationaltraum der Juden to
Moses Gaster. Gaster kept it among his collection of manuscripts. He considered
it a diary rather than as Horn obviously had in mind, a contribution to
historiography intended to be published. The text provides significant evidence
concerning the underappreciated role of Jews from Romania in the historiography
Sir Lewis Namier (1888–1960) was not only a major twentieth-century historian, a pioneer of ‘scientific history’ who gave his name to a particular form of history-writing, but an important public intellectual. He played a significant role in public affairs, as an influential adviser to the British Foreign Office during the First World War and later as an active Zionist. This article offers a new perspective on his life and work by providing, for the first time, as comprehensive a bibliography as is currently possible of his voluminous writings: books, scholarly articles and contributions to periodicals and newspapers, including many hitherto unknown, and some published anonymously. The annotation includes not only bibliographical information but explanations and brief summaries of the content. The introduction gives an account of Namier’s life and an assessment of his significance as a historian and thinker.
The previously unexplored legacy of religious anarchism in traditional Jewish theology is examined for the first time in this book. Probing the life and thought of figures whose writings have gone largely unread since they were first published, Hayyim Rothman makes, in the first place, a case for the existence of this heritage. He shows that there existed, from the late nineteenth though the mid-twentieth century, a loosely connected group of rabbis and traditionalist thinkers who explicitly appealed to anarchist ideas in articulating the meaning of the Torah, of traditional practice, of Jewish life, and the mission of modern Jewry. Supported by close readings of the Yiddish and Hebrew writings of Yaakov Meir Zalkind, Yitshak Nahman Steinberg, Yehuda Leyb Don-Yahiya, Avraham Yehudah Hen, Natah Hofshi, Shmuel Alexandrov, and Yehudah Ashlag this book traces a complicated story about the intersection, not only of religion and anarchism, but also of pacifism and Zionism, prophetic anti-authoritarianism, and mystical antinomianism. Bringing to light, not merely fresh source material, but uncovering a train of modern Jewish political thought that has scarcely been imagined, much less studied, No masters but God is a groundbreaking contribution.
Universalism has acted as a stimulus for Jewish emancipation, that is, for civil, political and social inclusion. It has also been a source of anti-Jewish prejudice up to and beyond the classic antisemitism of the modern period. While the experience of Jews is by no means unique in this respect, one of the peculiarities of the 'anti-Judaic' tradition has been to represent Jews in some important regard as the 'other' of the universal: as the personification either of a particularism opposed to the universal, or of a false universalism concealing Jewish self-interest. The former contrasts the particularism of the Jews to the universality of bourgeois civil society. The latter contrasts the bad universalism of the 'rootless cosmopolitan Jew' to the good universalism of whatever universal is advanced: nation, race or class. This book explores debates over Jewish emancipation within the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, contrasting the work of two leading protagonists of Jewish emancipation: Christian von Dohm and Moses Mendelssohn. It discusses the emancipatory power of Karl Marx's critique of Bruno Bauer's opposition to Jewish emancipation and endorsement of The Jewish Question. Marxist debates over the growth of anti-Semitism; Hannah Arendt's critique of three types of Jewish responsiveness--assimilationism, Zionism and cosmopolitanism-- to anti-Semitism; and the endeavours of a leading postwar critical theorist, Jurgen Habermas are also discussed. Finally, the book focuses its critique on left antizionists who threaten to reinstate the Jewish question when they identify Israel and Zionism as the enemies of universalism.