In his renowned 1882 lecture “What Is a Nation?” the French historian Ernest Renan argued that the essence of nationhood lies not in geography, race, or language but in a shared sense of past and future. Discussing this essay with Alan Rubenstein, Daniel Polisar suggests that, although Renan was no great friend of the Jews, his argument very much comports with the history of the Jewish nation and also has much in common with the ideas animating Theodor Herzl’s The Jewish State. (Audio, 42 minutes. Options for download and streaming are available at the link below.)
Nationalism, Zionism, and the Jews
The Woman behind a Notorious Suicide Bombing Walks Free. Will America See That She Is Punished?
On August 9, 2001, Ahlam Tamimi and Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri traveled from the West Bank to Jerusalem, where Masri detonated himself in a Sbarro’s pizzeria, killing seven children and eight adults, and injuring scores. When the two passed through an Israeli checkpoint earlier that day, they appeared to be a young couple; had Masri been alone, police almost certainly would have stopped him and discovered the deadly bomb in his guitar case. Tamimi was arrested shortly thereafter and sentenced to life in prison. Ten years later, she was among the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners exchanged for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. She now resides in Jordan.