Solomonovich N. The Turkish Republic's Jihad? Religious symbols,terminology and ceremonies in Turkey during the Korean War 1950–1953. Middle Eastern Studies [Internet]. 2018. Publisher's VersionAbstract
On 25 July 1950, a month after the beginning of the Korean War, the newly elected Democratic Party (DP) in Turkey announced that a brigade would be sent to assist South Korea as part of the UN mission led by the United States. The main argument of this article is that although the DP regime is considered a secular and Kemalist one, the state continued the Ottoman tradition and practice of using Islam to gain support for the war and to mobilize the Turkish nation. To do so, the article will show the similarity of both the means and the content of religious propaganda used in the Korean War to those used in the Ottoman jihad in the First World War. This article suggests that parts of the public understood the war as a religious conflict and not just as an ideological one thus indicating the success of the religious messages and their efficiency.
PDF icon solomonovich- The_turkish_republic_s_jihad_religious_symbols_terminology_and_ceremonies_in_turkey.pdf
Grossman J. Impartiality as a Lack of Interest: Israel, Brazil, the Jewish Diaspora, and the Question of Jerusalem. Israel Studies. 2018;23 (Spring 2018) :152-176.Abstract
זהו מאמר בהיסטוריה דיפלומטית, אשר מבוסס על תיזת המוסמך שלי ועל מחקר ארכיוני וריאיונות בעל פה שנערכו בברזיל בתמיכת מכון דיוויס. הוא מתאר את ניסיונותיה של ישראל לשכנע את ברזיל להעביר את שגרירותה מתל אביב לירושלים, צעד שמסמל הכרה בריבונותה של ישראל על מערב העיר ובמעמדה של העיר כבירת ישראל. ישראל ייחסה חשיבות גדולה להעברת שגרירות ברזיל מתוך אמונה שאם ברזיל -- הגדולה במדינות אמריקה הלטינית ובמדינות הקתוליות -- תסכים לצעד כזה, מדינות רבות נוספות תצעדנה בעקבותיה. המאמר מתמקד ברגע היסטורי אחד, באמצע שנת 1963, כאשר הניסוי הדמוקרטי בברזיל כבר נמצא במגמת קריסה, זמן קצר לפני נפילתו הסופית בהפיכה צבאית. ישראל ראתה בכאוס השלטוני ששרר במדינה הזדמנות להוציא לפועל את תוכנית ההעברה, וגייסה לצורך כך אישים בעלי השפעה, ממון וקשרים מהתפוצה היהודית בברזיל. אותם "דיפלומטים לא רשמיים" עמדו במרכזו של קמפיין  סודי של לחץ שהפעילה שגרירות ישראל על גורמי שלטון בכירים בברזיל -- ובראשם שר החוץ ומנכ"ל משרד החוץ הברזילי -- וכן היו אמורים לממן את העברת השגרירות ולרכוש עבור ברזיל בניין בירושלים. אף על פי שהקמפיין זכה להישגים חסרי תקדים מבחינת הפעילות הדיפלומטית הישראלית במדינה -- לרבות מזכר כתוב של מנכ"ל משרד החוץ הממליץ על ההעברה, כמו גם משא ומתן סודי שנערך עם נשיא ברזיל, אשר אישר את ההעברה בעל פה אך התנה אותה באישור שר החוץ -- התוכנית לא יצאה לפועל בסופו של דבר. המאמר מנתח את הסיבות לכך ומצביע על כשלים תפישתיים ודיפלומטיים של שגרירות ישראל בברזיל ושל משרד החוץ בירושלים. בין הגורמים שאותם לא השכילו הדיפלומטים הישראלים להבין היו חוסר העניין של ברזיל בצעד דיפלומטי שלא היה צפוי להניב לה רווח מוחשי ומשמעותי ואשר איים לחבל ביחסיה עם מדינות ערב, עם העולם השלישי ועם הכנסייה הקתולית; הסתייגותם של מדינאים ופקידי ממשל ברזילים מקבלת החלטה דיפלומטית כה שנויה במחלוקת, אשר עלולה להתסיס את היחסים בין התפוצות היהודית והערבית במדינה, בתקופה של חוסר יציבות שלטונית; והתנגדותם האיתנה של הדרגים המקצועיים במשרד החוץ הברזילי להעברה, גם לאחר שזכתה לברכתו של הדרג הפוליטי במשרד. המאמר מאיר את תפקידה של התפוצה היהודית בברזיל בפרט ובאמריקה הלטינית בכלל בקידום היעדים הדיפלומטיים הישראליים, אך גם ממחיש מגבלותיה של תפוצה זו כמכשיר דיפלומטי בשירות ישראל.
Sovereignty as It Should Be: Theoretical Gaps and Negotiations for Peace in Israel/Palestine
Kibrik R. Sovereignty as It Should Be: Theoretical Gaps and Negotiations for Peace in Israel/Palestine. International Negotiation [Internet]. 2016;21 :440–472. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This study suggests that one of the basic elements motivating political actors is their desire to minimize the tension caused by the theoretical gap between their theoretical knowledge and their perception of reality. In order to demonstrate this, the present study compares three different arenas of negotiations which reveal and represent the social construction of the concept of sovereignty: the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt (1979), the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan (1994), and the Oslo agreements between Israel and the PLO (1993–1995). The comparison herein demonstrates how the need to deal with the theoretical gap can explain the sides’ behavior in reaching an agreement. Likewise, the comparison reveals that the concept of sovereignty has destabilized over the course of time. It also shows how political actors in these arenas chose to cope with the theoretical gap – mainly by changing reality – although the destabilization of the concept of sovereignty allowed them to be more creative, theoretically speaking, in the context of globalization processes.
The Dilemma of Administering Immigration Policies in Countries with Ongoing Ethnic-National-Religious Conflicts
Kartin A. The Dilemma of Administering Immigration Policies in Countries with Ongoing Ethnic-National-Religious Conflicts. POLITIKA. 2013;22.Abstract

An intrastate conflict between ethnic-national-religious identity communities – one whose focus is each one’s aspiration to make its mark on the nature of the state and its character – positions the state’s decision makers before a difficult deliberation in shaping immigration policy, if they wish to adhere to liberal principles. The policy dilemma is exacerbated when the government also faces a certain tension: on one hand, the country has a duty to protect the rights of its citizens to bring a foreign partner with whom they wish to start a family into its gates; on the other, the state may be concerned that giving a sweeping permit for the entry of marriage immigrants will accelerate the process of eroding the majority’s demographic advantage and have negative political ramifications.
Against the backdrop of this dilemma, the article discusses the question of justifying the integration of demographic considerations in immigration policy for divided countries, focusing on Israel as a test case.

Explaining European Policy toward the “Arab Spring”— Calculated Risk, Lack of Alternatives, and Implications for Israel
Libman Z. Explaining European Policy toward the “Arab Spring”— Calculated Risk, Lack of Alternatives, and Implications for Israel. POLITIKA. 2013;22.Abstract

The dramatic events named “Arab Spring” resulted from the popular uprising against authoritarian regimes throughout the Middle East and led to the toppling of rulers in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. Thus, astonishingly, the long-standing aspirations of Islamist factions wanting democracy, economic equality, and the elimination of corruption were realized in the blink of an eye. Though it is unclear what the character of these new regimes in the Arab world will be – authoritarian as in the past, democratic, or Islamist – it appears most likely that the latter will take the reins.
The response of the European Union and its member states to the dramatic events is puzzling; for decades, partnerships existed with the authoritarian regimes in the Arab world and friendly relations prevailed – though this policy ostensibly conflicted with the central European values as it ignored the denial of democracy in the Middle East. Now, with the outbreak of the “Arab Spring,” Europe’s leaders have turned their backs on the “friendly” regimes and enthusiastically supported their opponents – in political declarations, in official policy, and in physical involvement – despite the real concerns that Islamist forces can reap the benefits of the revolution. This turning point in Europe’s policy raises many questions and concerns.
The article analyzes the considerations that shaped European policy toward the Muslim world in light of Europe’s vital interests, which include curbing a massive flow of Muslim immigration; averting violent responses on the part of Muslim minorities in Europe; reducing the influence of radical and fundamentalist Islam in the Middle East amongst Muslim immigrant minorities; and securing energy resources. These are permanent and continuing interests; preserving them is one of the cornerstones of European policy. These interests and their foundations can account for the profound reversal in attitude regarding recent events in the Middle East – it is an outgrowth of a calculated risk and a lack of alternatives.
Finally, questions about the State of Israel’s status arise: Does Israel face growing danger as a result of “Arab Spring”? There is a perilous possibility that Islamist forces will take control; how is it reconciled with the chance that the events will lead to progress in peace processes in the Arab world? Future European policy toward Israel is also called into question in light of the uncertainty about the region’s future.

Field Research in Conflict Environments: Methodological Challenges and Snowball Sampling
and Cohen TAN. Field Research in Conflict Environments: Methodological Challenges and Snowball Sampling. POLITIKA. 2013;22.Abstract

Conducting research in conflict environments is generally an immense challenge, given the many sensitivities and the atmosphere of suspicion that usually characterizes the research population. Nonetheless, the methodological aspects of fieldwork in environments of conflict have not yet been systematically researched. Using a survey and examination of the primary methodological problems we suggest employing snowball sampling in order to deal with this challenge. The efficacy of this method has been recognized as significant in the literature in a variety of cases, primarily those focused on “marginal” populations, which tend to be hidden and hard to access for research purposes. However, we assert that in a conflict environment the entire population becomes, to an extent, a “marginal society,” going underground and therefore becoming difficult for the external researcher to access. The method’s efficiency under these conditions makes it possible to conduct research under the constraints of a conflict environment, minimizing the prospects of researchers admitting defeat before even embarking on a study. We share our experiences of fieldwork in varied conflict environments and provide a number of insights and recommendations for employing snowball sampling.

Social Contract Theory – Thomas Hobbes and John Locke: Between Scientific Methodology and Biblical Hermeneutics
Ratson M. Social Contract Theory – Thomas Hobbes and John Locke: Between Scientific Methodology and Biblical Hermeneutics. POLITIKA. 2013;22.Abstract

The two philosophers of social contract base all their deliberations on two fundamentals: scientific methodology on the one hand, and proof from the holy scriptures in accordance with political Hebraism on the other hand. Both philosophers begin with the fact that man was created in the image of God. Both recognize natural equality amongst human beings and both base themselves on ethical axioms – natural laws – which originate in God. However, there are significant differences between them: Hobbes perceives man as renouncing God and His eternal commandments, expressed both in original sin and in Cain’s murder of his brother. In contrast, Locke perceives man as good, complying with God’s commandments. Similarly, in their descriptions establishing the social contract and the creation of a political community, both theorists link scientific methodology – the theoretical model – to the words of the Bible, using it as a sort of historical-empirical foundation.
Hobbes perceives the establishment of a state as the product of man’s original sin, in which his nature was spoiled. Therefore, the rational fear of God’s latent power must be replaced with the instinctive fear of the exposed strength of the “Leviathan” (the mythological biblical creature), the absolute state, which is an alternative to God. Locke, in contrast, perceives man as good. Furthermore, Hobbes presents the state, the “Leviathan,” as a new God. He bases his perception regarding the authority of an absolute monarch on the rules given to kings in the Book of Samuel and on Israel’s leaders in the Bible. He compares the obedience that the Ten Commandments require of human beings to the obedience that a king demands from his subjects. Locke, in contrast, is a protagonist of limited governance, and likens the contract between the king and his nation to the covenant between God and Noah. He interprets a passage about the Hebrew slave whose work is limited in order to bolster his position on the holiness of freedom. Hobbes relates to the “Kingdom of God” as an ideal governmental model that expresses rule by agreement, the rule of reason and morality. Thus, original sin is connected with the sin of rebelling against God in Samuel’s days.
Locke also chooses to present the theocratic government of Israel, which is presented in the Bible as an ideal unique government because of (and despite) the fact that it is an antithesis to his liberal perception. Through his determination that only the people of Israel were chosen by God, and that therefore God functions as a political leader only in the land of Israel, he precludes any possibility of drawing conclusions from the characteristics of this regime for modern politics. In fact, my analysis of these philosophers’ writings suggests that there is a developmental process leading from religious political philosophy to modern political philosophy.

The Israeli Knesset: A Case of Excessive Dissolution?
and Friedberg OKC. The Israeli Knesset: A Case of Excessive Dissolution?. POLITIKA. 2013;22.Abstract

As is the case in most parliamentary democracies, the Knesset – the Israeli parliament – may be dissolved prior to the end of its constitutional legislative term. On one hand, this institutional tool brings a degree of uncertainty to the political system and can undermine the government’s stability and steering capacity; on the other, there are political circumstances under which dissolving a parliament and moving up elections can bring the political system out of a stalemate and help crystallize a different parliamentary majority, creating a new and more stable government. This article attempts to examine the case of Israel; more specifically, it assesses whether the shortcomings of early dissolution exceed its advantages, especially given the claims that the Knesset wields excessive authority to decide on an early dissolution. The first section of the article surveys the mechanisms through which the Knesset and other parliaments in parliamentary democracies can be dissolved. We subsequently analyze the end of the terms of the seventeen Knessets between 1949 and 2009. The findings indicate that in the past fifteen years, significant changes have taken place in the ways in which the Knesset has been dissolved. Contrary to the claims, these changes have actually balanced the relationship between authorities in a way that reinforced the standing of the government and prime minister vis-à-vis the Knesset. Moreover, in contrast with the general impression, in most cases the Knesset acted as the “responsible adult” and made measured and wise use of its self-dissolving authority.

Reading the Silence: India and the Arab Spring
Kumaraswamy PR. Reading the Silence: India and the Arab Spring. 2012.Abstract

High political, economic, and energy stakes conditioned India’s nuanced response to the Arab Spring. Proud of its diversity, India’s foreign policy agenda has never been democracy promotion, and India was prepared to accept the choice of the Arab people to determine their leaders and political system within the norms of their respective societies. The geographically proximate region, especially the Persian Gulf, is vital for India. Hence, other than evacuation of its nationals, India’s reactions to the Arab Spring have been few and far between. And even these responses have been measured, underscoring Indian reluctance to take any stand. India has been extremely cautious about the developments in the Persian Gulf, hoping that the ruling regimes would survive. Given the presence of about six million Indian expatriate workers in the Gulf countries, India’s studied silence—rather than being a sign of indifference towards popular sentiments or an endorsement of the authoritarian regimes—was the only option available for India. It was a reflection both of its crucial interests in the region and of its preference for stable and internally viable political states in the region. 
Thus, economic interests, more than political calculations, have determined India’s post-Cold War Middle East policies—a fact visibly demonstrated following the Arab Spring. India’s traditional reluctance to make democracy promotion a principal foreign policy objective also played into this relegation of political considerations. The muted and calibrated Indian reactions to the Arab Spring challenge the hopes for an assertive India in the international scene. 
At a macro level, India’s calculated and interest-driven positions during the Arab Spring are also a sign that its aspirations for great power status will be through consensus and accommodation rather than by taking a leadership role—that is, through measured steps, not aggressive public statements. This is the irony of the "self-appointed frontrunner for the UNSC.”
PDF icon Reading the silence.pdf
Reflections on Apologies: Promoting Order in the International Arena
Löwenheim N. Reflections on Apologies: Promoting Order in the International Arena. 2011.Abstract


This paper considers the role of apologies in the promotion of order in the international arena. It will introduce the following claims: first, that ethical issues, particularly the subject of dealing with moral wrongs through apologies, are an important part of the greater discussion of world and international orders; and second, that the strategy of dealing with a past transgression through an apology contributes to the realization of stable order. The main argument of this paper is that apology and forgiveness undertaken by international actors, even though not legally obligating, facilitate the maintenance of order. Although the legal aspects of world order and international order are prominent, they do not alone indicate the internalization of order and its values by actors. Common social "unwritten rules” accompany these legal obligations. Extensive compliance to these rules by actors is a valid sign of order. Apology and forgiveness can be seen as such rules: as social ordering principals.

PDF icon nava_lowenheim.pdf
Between Peacefulization and Securitization: The Social Construction of Peace
Lupovici A. Between Peacefulization and Securitization: The Social Construction of Peace. 2010.Abstract


In recent years, much attention has been given—mostly through the use of the Copenhagen School’s concept of securitization—to the question of how issues are framed as threats to security. In a securitization process, enunciators construct an issue as an existential threat that justifies taking extraordinary measures and policies. However, IR literature is quite silent about a related process I term "peacefulization”—this is when issues or policies are framed and constructed as related to peace. I suggest that recognizing and elaborating on the peacefulization process helps to explain how distinct issues are framed and constructed as related to peace, and how this framing helps or hinders the chances of achieving a stable peace. My aim in this paper is to sketch out a framework to unravel the mechanisms of peacefulization. To this end, I will rely on theextensive literature on securitization and on the solutions that have been suggested to deal with some of its limitations.
PDF icon lopoviz_article.pdf
Identity Balacing: The Role of Interests in Constituting British Identity 1945-1949
Vadai E. Identity Balacing: The Role of Interests in Constituting British Identity 1945-1949. 2009.Abstract


Since the 1940's Britain's transatlantic identity has been one of its most prominent features. This identity has been so profoundly internalized that one often forgets Britain's "zigzagging" between three alternative and even contradictory identities after World War II: 1. A Third World Force aimed at creating a bridge between East and West 2. A European civilization 3. A transatlantic identity 
I account for these variations in British identity by presenting the theoretical concept of identity balancing which postulates that states manipulate their identities in order to fulfill materialistic interests. Identity balancing is a four-phase process: 1. States identify a threat to their physical security and locate other states that are similarly threatened 2. The threatened states emphasize identity characteristics which unite them and downplay those that separate them 3. They frame the common characteristics as being crucial for their continued existence and as requiring cooperation among all states with similar identity characteristics 4.this utilitarian identity becomes so deeply integrated that it transcends its original purpose, becoming an inherent factor within the fabric of society. 
Applying the concept of identity balancing I explain the shift in Britain’s identity as deriving from a shift in its security interests. After World War II, Britain believed that its interests would be best served by forming an independent pole and therefore emphasized the difference between its identity and that of its wartime allies. As the British economy deteriorated and the Soviet geo-strategic menace escalated, Britain realized that it needed American support. Since the US conditioned its support on a consolidated Europe, Britain sought to "invent” a common European identity. Once it realized that a European identity circle enabled the US to evade its commitment to Europe, it reverted to the strategy of forming close relations with the US, emphasizing the transatlantic identity dimensions common to both countries.

PDF icon einat_vadai_2009.pdf
Obydenkova A. Reintegration vs. Regional Cooperation?Some Puzzles in Post-Soviet Eurasia, in the context of Comparative Regionalism. 2008.PDF icon obydenkova_anastassia.pdf
Epstein ML. The Strength of Soft Power: The EU and MERCOSUR in a Hegemonic World System. 2008.Abstract


This study examines the triangular relations between the United States, the European Union and MERCOSUR as a case of soft balancing against the hegemon in the post Cold War international system. Most existing literature focuses on the relations between the hegemon and the other great powers (i.e. secondary powers) and on hard balancing and the use of power and force as a means to restrain the hegemonic power. The present research offers, therefore, a twofold contribution; a theoretical framework and an empirical analysis which examines the relationship between three levels of power: the hegemon, a secondary power, and a tertiary power.

The study traces both the US-MERCOUSR relations and the EU-MERCOSUR relations in four subsequent periods, between the years 1991- 2006. In this way I attempt to show that the greater the US involvement and attempts to influence economic and political structures in the region, the more the secondary and tertiary powers – the EU and MERCOSUR – cooperate in order to strengthen their global and regional position, respectively, and weaken the hegemonic endeavor.

Following a careful analysis of the developments during the period of study I have established that the EU-MERCOSUR relationship should be considered a form of soft-balancing the hegemon. The EU challenged the American initiative of the FTAA and succeeded in influencing the events of the Western Hemisphere by supporting MERCOSUR politically and economically, holding bilateral meetings in response to the FTAA meetings and offering MERCOSUR a better FTA agreement, and strengthening MERCOSUR’s bargaining position in the FTAA talks. The result is that the FTAA negotiations are stalled and MERCOSUR is the only integration or group of states in the American continent that did not sign a free trade agreement with the US.

This case study shows, I believe, that using political, economic and diplomatic means and strengthening ties with tertiary powers can be fairly successful in soft-balancing the hegemon. Furthermore, applying this to different cases of triadic relationships can provide a useful comparative understanding of the conditions under which soft power is more or less affective.

PDF icon The Strength of Soft Power.pdf
"Players " on the Battelfield of the War against Terror: Rules of Targeting, Detention, and Protecti
Khen HM-A. "Players " on the Battelfield of the War against Terror: Rules of Targeting, Detention, and Protecti. 2008.Abstract


The spread and intensification of the phenomenon of terror in the twenty-first century has changed the modern battlefield. One of the main phenomena contributing to this change is the manner in which terror blurs the distinction between combatants and civilians. The center of gravity has shifted from the clear distinction between civilians and combatants to more subtle distinctions, where civilians undertake various activities—from information gathering for and logistical support of the combat forces to morally supporting them—giving them a central role. This paper presents and analyzes the assertion that the change which terror has created on the battlefield justifies an alteration in the attitude toward the various participants on the battlefield. My argument is that this shift in attitude involves, inter alia, the influence of human rights law on humanitarian law, and I demonstrate the practical significance of this influence on how we react to the players on the battlefield: combatants, civilians, as well as civilians who participate (directly or indirectly) in combat.

PDF icon moodrick-even_khen.pdf
Abulof U. "Small Peoples": Ethnonational Existential Uncertainty of Israeli Jews and Quebecois . 2007.PDF icon Small_peoples.pdf
Free Movement of Labor: UK Responses to the Eastern Enlargement and GATS Mode 4
Persin D. Free Movement of Labor: UK Responses to the Eastern Enlargement and GATS Mode 4. 2007.Abstract


Limitations placed on the movement of labor are seen as major impediments to the growth both of trade in services and of the economy overall. The temporary movement of service providers is generally expected to be less politically sensitive than the permanent movement of labor. Therefore, it remains a puzzle why the UK, a major proponent of multilateral trade liberalization in services, made a slightly below-the-EU-average offer on the free movement of natural persons (Market Access Mode 4) as part of the first EU offer in the WTO Doha Round in February 2003, but then in 2004 chose not to limit the free movement of labor from the new Member States of the EU as most other "old” Member States did. The main argument is that the policy choices reflect the aim of the UKgovernment to retain flexibility in and external sovereign control over labor immigration policies. This allows it to maintain flexible labor markets within the UK and the extended EU Internal Market, while at the same time obtaining the support for these policies from the two domestic societal actors—the trade unions and the employers—each for its own self-interested reasons. The study contributes to the literature on immigration control policies and trade in services.

PDF icon persin_final.pdf
Ethnonational Existential Uncertainty of Israeli Jews and Québécois
Abulof U. Ethnonational Existential Uncertainty of Israeli Jews and Québécois. 2007.Abstract


This paper focuses on "small peoples,” a term coined by Milan Kundera to denote ethnic communities that lack a "sense of an eternal past and future.” My aim is twofold: to expose this phenomenon and to both theoretically and empirically explore its bases. I first describe this phenomenon, which I believe is invaluable to the understanding of both ethnicity and security. I further argue that in modern times, "small peoples” are marked by a heightened and historically prolonged sense of uncertainty about the viability of their future-driven national survival (epistemic insecurity) and the validity of their past-based ethnic identity (ontological insecurity). Empirically, I analyze two distinct "small peoples”—Israeli Jews and French Canadians (Québécois)—and suggest that while the former have been plagued by quandaries about survival, the latter have been no less concerned with insecurity about identity.

PDF icon small_peoples_uriel_abulof_2007.pdf
Zion as Proxy? Three Jewish Scholars of Nationalism on Zionism and Israel
Joffe AH. Zion as Proxy? Three Jewish Scholars of Nationalism on Zionism and Israel. 2007.Abstract

Introduction and abstract

One of the curious facts about the study of nationalism in the twentieth century is that some of its greatest scholars were Jewish émigrés who found educations and then homes at Western universities. Scholars such as Hans Kohn, Salo Baron, Sir Isaiah Berlin, Elie Kedourie, Ernest Gellner, George Mosse, Eric Hobsbawm, and Anthony Smith all shared the conviction that nationalism was a phenomenon to be taken seriously, and all share credit for reinvigorating its study during and especially after World War II. Only three are considered here: Gellner, Kedourie, and Hobsbawm, the leading proponents of the modernist approach to nationalism.

Each was an outstanding scholar who bridged several fields. Kedourie was a Middle Eastern historian and political philosopher, a profound student of British policy and critic of nationalism. Gellner was a philosopher and anthropologist, simultaneously a thunderous critic of unreason and a sensitive analyst of non-Western societies. And Hobsbawm was one of Britain’s most relentless Marxist historians, known for his political activism, sweeping view of European history, and studies of jazz and others he saw as revolutionaries.

Their attraction to the subject of nationalism varied, but in no case was it nostalgia. Rather, it was a concern for the interplay of ideas and identity in politics. In an age of nationalism, Jews stood out, forcing these and other scholars to address the question of the "nation” in one way or another. Moreover, it is suggested here that the experiences of these three intellectuals as Jews and émigrés, and their attitudes toward Judaism and Israel, fundamentally conditioned their divergent scholarship on nationalism.

Connecting the inner and the outer man is an historiographic problem. How are milieus, personal histories, attitudes, and beliefs reflected in scholars’ works? The mere facts of an individual’s life cannot be said to correspond exactly to his or her intellectual output. Nor can we psychologize, rotating facets of a life until an interesting and presumably telling refraction appears. The real task is at once factual and speculative, as is all historiography, but a systematic approach is needed (for recent examples of historiographic studies of scholars, see Judt 1998; Myers and Ruderman 1998; Lilla 2001; Hart 1999; Knepper 2005; and Hacohen 1999). At one extreme is Kedourie’s assertion that the historian matters little (Kedourie, 1984c). The opposite impulses are found in Hobsbawm’s autobiography (Hobsbawm, 2002) and in efforts by Gellner’s acolytes to collate his works and write a biography (Hall 1998; Hall and Jarvie 1996; see also the Ernest Gellner Resource Page).

But short of biographies that fully connect the inner and outer scholar, the task is to enter into a dialogue with historians to understand how their lives and thought conditioned our understanding of a key phenomenon: nationalism. Modernist scholarship is the primary lens through which many, including policy makers, see the issue. This paper discusses, to use David Gellner’s words on his father’s analysis of Wittgenstein, "the social context of ideas” (D. Gellner 1998, x), but ideas with more than academic significance.

Nationalism has been defined many ways, including by the three scholars considered here. Briefly, nationalism holds that the world is comprised of many different groups or peoples—defined by shared languages, descended from common ancestors, and with common histories and religions. Nationalism judges it proper for individual groups to exert political control over the discrete territories in which they reside; that is to say, nations should equal states. As a cluster of assertions this is controversial enough, but underlying are more fundamental and intractable questions: whether groups and their identities are "real” or "invented,” of great antiquity or purely modern vintage; and whether identities are natural and necessary, shifting or fixed, arbitrary and even imposed.

This paper discusses the work of Kedourie, Gellner, and Hobsbawm and their attitudes toward Israel and Zionism. These are emblematic of their larger approaches to nationalism and the question of identity in the modern world. They also exemplify some of the Jewish intellectual responses to modernity.

PDF icon zion_as_proxy_joffe.pdf