Hannah Arendt's Zionism?

Richard J. Bernstein

in Hannah Arendt in Jerusalem

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780520220560
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923669 | DOI:
Hannah Arendt's Zionism?

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Hannah Arendt never seriously considered Aliyah, “going up,” the term used for emigration to Palestine/Israel, not before she fled Germany in 1933, not during her years in Paris when she worked for Youth Aliyah; and not when she finally escaped from Europe in 1941. In the early 1940s, she called for the formation of a Jewish army to fight the Nazis. She wrote passionately about her vision of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. But along with Judah Magnes, she actively opposed the founding of a Jewish nation-state. Indeed, if Hannah Arendt's political recommendations had been followed, the state of Israel might never have been founded. For many people, these facts about Hannah Arendt — that she never considered Aliyah and that she actively opposed the founding of the state of Israel — are all that need to be said about Arendt's alleged Zionism. This chapter argues that this would be a serious mistake and shows the reasons why.

Keywords: Aliyah; Jews; nation-state; Israel; Zionism

Chapter.  3656 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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