Cite: Stähler, Constructions of Jewish Identity and the Spectre of Colonialism

Stähler, Axel. “Constructions of Jewish Identity and the Spectre of Colonialism: Of White Skin and Black Masks in Early Zionist Discourse.” German Life and Letters 66.3 (2013): 254-76.

 

URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/glal.12015/abstract

 

Abstract

Early Zionist discourse was ripe with constructions of a new Jewish
identity. Discussing responses to the so-called Uganda plan of 1903–5
and notions of Jewish colonisation in Africa and elsewhere, the article
investigates demarcations of Jewishness from, and identifications with,
‘blackness’ in the early twentieth-century German Zionist press and
literature and their impact on the Zionist imaginary vis-à-vis
the colonial paradigm. Particular attention is given to Max Jungmann’s
‘Briefe aus Neu-Neuland’, published in the satiric journal Schlemiel
between 1903–7. It is argued that with his fictitious account of the
Zionist settlement of East Africa (which historically never happened)
and with the creation of the black African Mbwapwa Jumbo and his
conversion to Judaism Jungmann articulates an intricate and critical
response to colonial aspirations, Jewish or otherwise, and formulates a
scathing but highly perceptive commentary on the convergence of Zionist,
racial, and colonial discourses.

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