[Marxism] Query: formation of the Israeli nation

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jan 26 07:43:00 MST 2006

Nick F. wrote:
>Can anyone recommend any articles or books relating to the formation of 
>the Israeli nation (i.e., as opposed to state). It's to use as an example 
>of the materialist theory of the nation, as constituted by territory, 
>economy, language and culture, as opposed to idealist-culturalist type 
>theories that e.g., see Jews as a whole as some kind of nation.

Maxime Rodinson, Israel A Colonial-Settler State? (New York: Pathfinder 
Press, 1973).  A concise introduction to the colonial aspects of Zionist 
settlement, emphasizing the way the process is seen by its 
victims.  Rodinson is an independent Marxist scholar and the author of 
important works on both Jewish and Arab culture and civilization, including 
Israel and the Arabs (a history up to the mid-1960s), Islam and Capitalism 
(debunking the myth that Islam was a barrier to economic development), 
Mohammed and Cult, Ghetto and State.  The Persistence of the Jewish Question.

Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel 
(London, England and Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 1999).  A unique discussion 
of the tangled politics and ideologies of orthodox Judaism and their 
contradictory relations with Zionism and the Israeli state.  Of related 
interest are two earlier books by Israel Shahak: Open Secrets: Israeli 
Nuclear and Foreign Policies and Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The 
Weight of Three Thousand Years (also published by Pluto Press).

Zeev Sternhell, The Founding Myths of Israel.  Nationalism, Socialism and 
the Making of the Jewish State (Princeton University Press, 1998).  A 
critical study of Labor Zionism, the predominant ideology of the Zionist 
movement from the early 1900s through the early 1970s.  Sternhell, a 
distinguished Israeli historian of European nationalism, locates Labor 
Zionism in the context not of the working-class socialist and liberal-left 
traditions as its proponents claimed, but rather in the turn-of-the-century 
phenomenon of "nationalist socialisms" in Europe.  Labor Zionism's aim, 
then, was not "to liberate the worker" from exploitation but "to make the 
worker the agent of national redemption."  Important for understanding the 
ultimate failure and crisis of the Israeli Labor Party.

Nathan Weinstock, Zionism: False Messiah (London: Ink Links, 1979).  The 
most comprehensive Marxist scholarly work on the history of Zionism and its 
contradictions.  Of related interest: Abram Leon, The Jewish Question: A 
Marxist Interpretation, written by a revolutionary Marxist in the 
anti-fascist underground who was ultimately murdered by the Nazis, and the 
critical responses in Enzo Traverso, The Marxists and the Jewish Question 
(Humanities Press/ Revolutionary Studies, 1994) and Maxime Rodinson, Cult, 
Ghetto and State (London: Al Saqi Press)

from: http://www.solidarity-us.org/PalestineResources.html



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