Zionism and the Roads Not Taken

Zionism and the Roads Not Taken

Rawidowicz, Kaplan, Kohn
Noam Pianko
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 06/03/2010
Format: Paperback 3 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-22184-1
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Today, Zionism is understood as a national movement whose primary historical goal was the establishment of a Jewish state. However, Zionism's association with national sovereignty was not foreordained. Zionism and the Roads Not Taken uncovers the thought of three key interwar Jewish intellectuals who defined Zionism's central mission as challenging the model of a sovereign nation-state: historian Simon Rawidowicz, religious thinker Mordecai Kaplan, and political theorist Hans Kohn. Although their models differed, each of these three thinkers conceived of a more practical and ethical paradigm of national cohesion that was not tied to a sovereign state. Recovering these roads not taken helps us to reimagine Jewish identity and collectivity, past, present, and future.

Author Bio

Noam Pianko is Samuel and Althea Stroum Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and International Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.


“Uncovering the thought of three key interwar Jewish intellectuals who defined Zionism's central mission as challenging the model of a sovereign nation-state, this provocative work helps us to reimagine Jewish identity and collectivity, past, present, and future.”

“Offers new, original, and genuinely interesting readings of key figures in twentieth-century thought.”
 — David N. Myers, author of Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz

“A brilliant and provocative work . . . persuasive and elegantly argued. The book makes a signal contribution to Jewish political thought by enlarging its scope and giving it back some of its rich, yet overlooked history.”
 — Deborah Dash Moore, author of G. I. Jews

“[The book] is a timely and ambitious attempt to unearth approaches to Zionism that sought to embrace the concept of Jewish nationhood outside of the purely statist model.”
 — American Jewish Archives Journal

“[T]here is certainly much food for thought in these pages.”
 — The Journal of Israeli History

“Pianko succeeds in presenting an interesting and valuable book that will stimulate discussions on the history of the Zionist narrative and the future of Jewish political thought. Though these Zionist roads may not have been taken, Noam Pianko has done a noteworthy job in marking those roads for future scholars in Jewish studies. ”
 — transversal

“The volume is engaging, insightful, and very readable, making it one of those rare works that can speak to many audiences, from an educated public readership to scholars with specialized training. It would make an excellent volume for inclusion in undergraduate courses on the history of Jewish thought, contemporary courses in Israel studies, and political science. ”
 — Religious Studies Review

“[S]uccessful and stimulating . . . .96.4 Dec. 2010”
 — American Jewish History

“[A] well-researched intellectual history of Zionism without a state of Israel, of Jewish nationalism without the presumption of political sovereignty. Pianko focuses on three important thinkers of the interwar period, who have been lost to the canonical intellectual history of Zionism that goes from Herzl and Nordau to Ben Gurion and Jabotinsky.”
 — Shofar

“[A] fine addition to the scholarly debate about the history of Jewish nationalism, one that helps the reader understand the rich potential that nationalism has held for Jews beyond simply supporting the idea of a Jewish state.July, 2011”
 — H-Judaic

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Table of Contents

1. Breaking the Sovereign Mold: Nation beyond State in Modern Jewish Thought
2. "Sovereignty Is International Anarchy": Jews, World War I, and the Future of Nationalism
3. Text, Not Territory: Simon Rawidowicz, Global Hebraism, and the Centering of Decentered National Life
4. Making American Democracy Safe for Judaism: Mordecai Kaplan, National Civilization, and the Morality of Zionism
5. From German Zionism to American Nationalism: Hans Kohn, Cultural Humanism, and the Realization of "the Political Idea of Judaism"
6. Zionism, Jewish Peoplehood, and the Dilemmas of Nationality in a Global Era


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