The Invention of a Nation: Zionist Thought and the Making of Modern Israel

By Waller, Harold M. | Shofar, Winter 2006 | Go to article overview

The Invention of a Nation: Zionist Thought and the Making of Modern Israel


Waller, Harold M., Shofar


The Invention of a Nation: Zionist Thought and the Making of Modern Israel, by Alain Dieckhoff, translated from the French by Jonathan Derrick. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003. 297 pp. $30.00.

Israel is one of the few states to be founded on the basis of an idea. Precisely because the Jewish nation did not live in its traditional homeland for nearly two millennia, it was necessary to invent the idea of the state. That process required commitment to what was a revolutionary concept over 100 years ago and to the organizational structure that would do the political work. An understanding of contemporary Israel requires knowledge of the ideas that motivated the builders of the state and of the political process leading up to 1948. Alain Dieckhoff admirably provides a guide to the former.

Actually Dieckhoff combines two books into one. The first is basically an intellectual history of Zionism and Zionist thought up to 1948. It is a worthy successor to earlier efforts of this genre, notably those by Arthur Hertzberg and Shlomo Avineri, as well as those by Walter Laqueur, David Vital, and Ben Halpern. Is there a need for another book like this? It should be especially valuable to readers of the original French version, but fills a need for English readers as well. Dieckhoff most impressively incorporates modern scholarship from diverse disciplines into his erudite analysis of Zionist ideas. As a result he presents much more than a routine recital of the giants of Zionist thought.

The second book is much shorter, just the two final chapters. In it he analyzes the state of contemporary Zionist ideology in an attempt to relate today's Israeli politics to the great debates of the Zionist past. This part, while warranting our attention, would be more valuable were it more fully developed. It is certainly a project that deserves fuller treatment.

The first part of the book reflects careful and thorough scholarship and deep knowledge of both major and minor works of Zionist thought. Throughour this part, the author stresses both historical and intellectual context in order to assist the reader in understanding how and why Zionist ideas developed. There is not much that is radically new here, but his synthesis is both valuable and effective. Moreover, he simplifies the subject (though his work is hardly simplistic) by collapsing categories in order to facilitate comparisons between the various thinkers and to explicate the connections to contemporary political concerns. Thus he has fewer chapters than the earlier books on the subject, limiting himself to the more general political Zionism of Herzl and then the three specific types: socialist, religious, and nationalist Zionism. He adds a valuable chapter on the significance of the Hebrew language, which is not typical in books of this type, stressing the critical role that the revival of Hebrew played in the development of Zionism during the decades leading up to independence. Dieckhoff's approach facilitates the understanding of Israeli politics since 1948 because the intellectual origins of all three political camps are treated in depth. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Invention of a Nation: Zionist Thought and the Making of Modern Israel
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.