National Alternatives to Zionism: the case of the Young Hebrews, 1939 – 1976
Dr Roman Vater (Oxford)
4pm Thu 18 Feb 2016, in A113 Samuel Alexander Building
ABSTRACT: This presentation will explore a particular aspect of a home-grown opposition to Zionism among Hebrew Israelis. With the consolidation of a separate national identity in the pre-state Yishuv (a process whose pinnacle can be dated to the 1930s-1940s), an attitude of denigration and even rejection of Zionism became relatively widespread among the Hebrews. The most radical and articulate ideology that offered a complete national alternative to Zionism in the name of an indigenous Hebrew nationalism was the Young Hebrews’ ideology, popularly known as “Canaanism”. The talk will present the main tenets and principles of Hebrew “Canaanite” nationalism in relation both to Zionism and Arab nationalism. It will explore in particular the historiographic base of “Canaanism”, arguing that divergence in the vision of the past between “Canaanism” and Zionism (as well as Pan-Arabism) is the key element that permits us to perceive the principal incompatibility between Jewish and Hebrew nationalism in the political sphere.
SPEAKER: Roman Vater obtained his PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Manchester in 2015. Previously, he studied Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Tel Aviv University (BA, 2004) and the Jagiellonian University (MA, 2010). His research interests include Hebrew nationalism (especially “Canaanism”), right-wing anti-Zionism, Israeli society and dissident politics and the Israeli-Arab conflict. Publications include: “‘Down with Britain, away with Zionism’: the ‘Canaanites’ and Lohamey Herut Israel between two adversaries” (Melilah, 2013) and “Beyond bi-nationalism? The Young Hebrews versus the ‘Palestinian issue'” (Journal of Political Ideologies, forthcoming).
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