A Just Zionism: On the Morality of the Jewish State

A Just Zionism: On the Morality of the Jewish State

A Just Zionism: On the Morality of the Jewish State

A Just Zionism: On the Morality of the Jewish State

Synopsis

For over half a century, the legitimacy of Israel's existence has been questioned, and Zionism has been the subject of an immense array of objections and criticism. Here, Chaim Gans considers the objections and presents an in-depth philosophical analysis of the justice of Zionsim as realized by the state of Israel. Today, alongside a violent Middle Eastern anti-Semitism that refuses to accept Israel's existence, there are two academically respectable arguments for the injustice of Zionism that dominate: it is an exclusivist ethnocultural nationalism out of step with current visions of multicultural nationhood, and the Jewish right of return unfairly stigmatizes non-Jews on ethnocultural grounds. While many therefore claim that Zionism is on balance an unjust political philosophy, Chaim Gans seeks out a more nuanced ground to explain why Zionism, despite its manifest flaws, is just. Its flaws stem from the current situation, where exigencies have distorted its application,and from historical forces that have ended up favoring the notion of Jewish hegemony. For Gans, the justice of Zionism is not a black and white proposition. Rather, it's a project in need of repair, which it can do by reconceptualizing Jews' relationship with the Palestinian population and by adhering to a significantly more limited version of Jewish hegemony. Ultimately, A Just Zionism offers a concrete, historically and geographically rooted investigation of the limits of contemporary nationalism in one of the world's most fraught cases.

Excerpt

In the course of writing this book, I received aid and support from many people and institutions. Eyal Benvenisti, David Enoch, David Heyd, Alon Harel, and Andrei Marmor commented on various chapters. I presented some of the chapters at workshops for the faculty of law at Tel Aviv University. The third chapter was presented at workshops at the Law School of Northwestern University and at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland. The fourth chapter is based on a paper which was presented at an Israeli-Palestinian conference on the subject of Palestinian refugees held at the Max Planck Institute for International Law and Public Law in Heidelberg. After completing the book, I received invaluable comments on the whole manuscript from Charles Manekin. I am also grateful to the reviewers of the manuscript for Oxford University Press for their comments. Michal Selitarnik was, as usual, dedicated and precise in helping me to arrange the footnotes, as was Michal Kirschner, who edited my English. Michal Merling contributed last-minute research assistance for some revisions in chapter 2, and Shahar Eisner prepared the index. I am indebted to all of them.

Most of the book is written in the style of philosophical argumentation and analysis. However, I also tried to provide historical background for the practical and moral issues discussed in it. I am grateful to the historians Yosef Gorni, Yaakov Shavit, and Gideon Shimoni, who commented on this part of the book.

This book develops, modifies, and applies the general ideas elaborated in my earlier book, The Limits of Nationalism (Cambridge University Press, 2003), to the concrete case of Zionism and Israeli nationalism. It also discusses some issues particular to Zionism, such as the problem of the Palestinian refugees, which were not discussed at all in the previous book. Several paragraphs in the current book also appear in the previous book. Chapter 4 is based on my paper “The Palestinian Right of Return and the Justice of Zionism,” Theoretical Inquiries in Law 5 (2004), 269. I am . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.