Modernism and Zionism
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Troy titled his update, The Zionist Ideas , to open the conversation, from right to left, religious to secular, traditional to modern. He organizes the book into three defining periods: Pioneers until , Builders from until , and Torchbearers — modern Zionists.
Since April, thousands of people have participated in Zionist Salons, reading these texts, developing their Zionist Ideas. Every democracy, he argues, expresses a collective national identity. Polities that reject a particular peoplehood and seek a universalist utopia become dictatorships. An Algerian-born Jew, Trigano spent most of his academic career as a sociologist and political philosopher in Paris before moving to Tel Aviv.
His cataloguing of hundreds of antisemitic incidents finalized his break with French leftists, who rejected his defenses of Israel and French Jewry.
Trigano concluded that modern France is no longer a welcoming place for proud Jews. This analysis inaugurated his decades-long quest, in more than two dozen books, to articulate a Hebrew-based political theory endorsing particularist collective identities as keys to healthy democracies. His fluency in postmodern theory and rootedness in his non-Western narrative makes Trigano a formidable advocate for Zionism as an authentic, truly postcolonial, movement.
The Dreyfus Affair taught Herzl that lesson.
The Shoah and the expulsion of Jews from ten Muslim lands —70 proved this later too: the Jewish fate is collective and therefore political. The citizens of this new state thus experienced the same condition modern Diaspora Jews experienced. The place of Jewishness, of Judaism, became the problem. While governmental policy often involves cold calculation, purportedly religious groups can be critiqued according to a different standard. It is reductive and unethical—both in relation to the nature of the city itself and the communities living there today—to treat Jerusalem as a mere pawn in a geopolitical game.
Simplistic, literalist, and extremist declarations on Jerusalem that reject complexity do not reflect the realities of the city.
Such statements reveal egocentrism and hubris, traits long associated with President Trump. Throughout the region, Christians were deeply angered by the announcement , which ignored an appeal from the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem. Vice President Pence, an evangelical standard-bearer, intended to travel to the Middle East the following week. Christian Zionism emerged within a Reformation context facing Catholic and Islamic threats; its self-serving imagining of Jewish allies was supplemented by deeply anti-Catholic and anti-Islamic thought.
Much contemporary Christian Zionist concern for Arab Christians is filtered through this unreconstructed, proto-Orientalist lens. The connection with Christian Zionism is found in the essential Americanness of both that theopolitical movement and in President Trump himself. He is a potent distillation of one form of American identity—capitalist, heteronormative, hyper-masculine, and xenophobic. The first documented manifestation of Christian Zionism if one accepts my narrowly political definition was in January , when Johanna and Ebenezer Cartwright, English subjects living in Amsterdam, petitioned the War Council led by Lord Thomas Fairfax and his deputy, Oliver Cromwell.
This political communication stood on a scaffolding of Judeo-centric prophecy interpretation stretching in England back to , a hermeneutic with antecedents in the prophetic speculations of Christopher Columbus. The intertwined relationship of modernism, imperialism, and western Christianity is exemplified in the Cartwright Petition, the charter document of Christian Zionism.
The settler-colonial practices of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were by then already in full swing.
American identity was formed in its nascent stages through a tripartite alterity encountered in New World peoples presupposed to be barbarian savages , African communities victimized by slavery, and continued competition with subjects of the Ottoman Empire. Peter Silver has explored how conflict with American Indians in the mids transformed Europeans who never would have cooperated in the Old World into a unified people under the banner of whiteness. Each of these processes in the assemblage of Anglo-American modernity—including the sanctification of economic interests, the military protection of international trade, the normalization of occidental conflict with the Islamic world, and the construction of liberal toleration under the common interests of whiteness—was accompanied by refinements in the Anglo-American tradition of Judeo-centric prophecy interpretation.
Close to a decade ago, I was part of an effort organized by the National Council of Churches in the United States to study and respond to Christian Zionism. Our working group produced a four-page brochure. The wording was strong and succinct. At that time, few of us were cognizant of the deep roots Christian Zionism has in Anglo-American culture.
I have since become convinced that the movement will be successfully countered by something far more forceful than a well-worded pamphlet. Nobody should underestimate the resilience traditional, white leadership within evangelical and Christian Zionist movements, including market-driven capacities to absorb and commodify critique.
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Christians United for Israel, for instance, is intensifying its efforts to recruit Black and Latinx evangelical and Pentecostal communities into its fold. The chief political function of contemporary American Christian Zionism in relation to this political moment is not to be a catalyst of foreign policy; rather, its function is to reinvigorate a sacred canopy of theopolitical validation, sanctifying and mystifying policy options, rendering them immune from rational critique. Buber promised that they did not have to become German, as assimilated Jews sought to do.
He taught that being Jewish was itself a way of being modern. Or out of our own reality? He demanded attachment to and identification with the heart of the people. Despite his early support for the movement, he was a poor fit for an organization dedicated to a concrete territorial goal—the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
Buber supported this aim, but only as a means to the end he really cared about: the spiritual and cultural renaissance of the Jewish people. Later, after Buber moved to Jerusalem, in , he opposed a Jewish declaration of statehood, arguing that Palestine should become a binational state shared by Arabs and Jews. And, after the State of Israel came into being, in , Buber continued to criticize its policies and its leadership on many issues—including, especially, its treatment of Arab refugees—becoming a thorn in the side of David Ben-Gurion, the Prime Minister.
Characteristically, though, Buber would not renounce the Zionist ideal just because he was disappointed in its reality. In Israel, he was famous but unpopular, suspected of disloyalty to the Jewish community. The offending item, Buber explained, was actually a Piranesi engraving of a church. Meanwhile, Buber also had to face progressives and pacifists who condemned Zionism altogether.
Had he remained in Germany, he surely would have perished in the Holocaust. Instead, he went on to live for another twenty-seven productive years, in Palestine and in Israel. He had hoped to provide modern European Jews with a sustaining connection to their tradition, and now those Jews were almost all dead or scattered.
In old age, Buber was the perfect image of a sage, with twinkling eyes and a white beard. Mendes-Flohr opens his book by recounting a perhaps apocryphal story of children pointing at Buber in the street and calling him God. Late in life, when he was living in Jerusalem, he was visited by a stream of young kibbutz members seeking solutions to their religious quandaries.
Buber responded by denying that he had anything to teach. The best way to understand Buber, ultimately, may be not as a thinker but as a seeker—a religious type that became common in the twentieth century, as many Europeans and Americans turned to Eastern faiths or modern ideologies in their search for meaning. In , Buber delivered a series of three lectures in New York that served as a pendant to the Prague lectures he had given forty years earlier.
A new breed of post-post-Zionism - Opinion - Israel News | kneehexgose.tk
In the intervening decades, the position of the Jews had changed more dramatically than in any comparable span of time in the previous two thousand years, and Buber had witnessed those changes at first hand. As a young man, he had sounded a call to rally the Jewish spirit; now he pondered whether Judaism had a future at all.
Yet Buber remained convinced that the human need for a relationship with God was indestructible. That is why he hoped to speak not just to Jews but to a whole broken world. Millions of Americans have taken antidepressants for many years.