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 Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself
Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.
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