Saving the Jews vs. Saving Jewish Character: The Conflict between Political and “Therapeutic” Zionism

In the first of a series of lectures on Zionism’s early thinkers, Micah Goodman contrasts two competing visions within the ranks of its secular adherents. The first, the primarily political approach of Theodor Herzl, focused on protecting Jews from anti-Semitism and the moral decay of assimilation by creating a Jewish state. The second—associated with Nachman Syrkin, Micha Yosef Berdichevsky, and Yosef Ḥayyim Brenner—saw the Jew as spiritually degraded by subjugation to the Gentiles and by Judaism itself, and aspired to create a new, liberated Jew. Goodman proceeds to explore a third alternative, espoused by Ahad Ha’am, that embraced the “therapeutic” version of the second group without advocating a complete break from the Jewish past. (Video, 53 minutes. Audio versions for streaming and download are available at the link below.)

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More about: Ahad Ha'am, Berdichevsky, History & Ideas, Nachman Syrkin, Theodor Herzl, Zionism


The Logic of Iran’s Global Terror Strategy

During the past few weeks, the Islamic Republic has brutally tried to crush mass demonstrations throughout its borders. In an in-depth study of Tehran’s strategies and tactics, Yossi Kuperwasser argues that such domestic repression is part of the same comprehensive strategy that includes its support for militias, guerrillas, and terrorist groups in the Middle East and further afield, as well as its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Each of these endeavors, writes Kuperwasser, serves the ayatollahs’ “aims of spreading Islam and reducing the influence of Western states.” The tactics vary:

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Latin America, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy