1900 TO 2000 AND BEYOND:
TAKING NATIONALISM FOR GRANTED?
University College London
I would like to reflect on the event that serves as the touchstone for this volume—the Fourth World Zionist Congress, held in London, August 1900—and then address, in rather broad strokes, the explorations of nationalism, Zionism, and ethnic mobilization of modern Jewry that follow.1 These essays, most of which began as presentations at a conference of the Institute of Jewish Studies at University College London (June 2000), do not simply represent an exercise in appreciation of the London Congress. They are neither justifications of Zionism, nor are they deliberately posed to debunk mythological supports for the movement in its past or current incarnations. Of course, it would be naïve to claim that academics are beyond politics, and that scholarly orientations are immune to political considerations.2 Whatever the merits of the work of, and debates about, Israel's “new historians, ” these essays are not intended to directly enjoin the controversies over the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, Zionist political initiatives with Arab and Western governments, the military might of Israel relative to Arab states in the 1940s and beyond, and Zionist population strategies vis-à-vis the Arabs.3____________________