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(National) Identities & Early Encounters Israel.docx

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Political Science
POLI 347
Julie Norman

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2012: (National) Identities & Early Encounters Israel-Palestine in the News this Week:  Netanyahu asked Obama to make it clear that a threat to Israel from Iran would result in the military protecting Israel, and Obama did not respond favourably, sparking concerns from Israel that Israel and US are not seeing eye to eye anymore.  Government is Israel is retracting the exemption of ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service (Arab citizens of Israel are also exempted from military service).  40 new permits were granted to current settlements in the West Bank to expand (not new settlements, just expansions)  Protests for the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister’s resignation due to increasing in gas prices. This is significant because it is the first protest and large scale unrest from Palestinians against the PA in a long time.  Zionism: a relatively secular national movement for Jews to return to their homeland. It emerged as a response to the growing anti-Semitism, not coming directly from the Jewish religion. It is part of a wider trend of nationalism.  It is somewhat of an alternative to assimilation because Jews is the diaspora were struggling to fit in to a different national culture and wanted to retain their Jewish nationalism.  Zionism did not appear in the places where there was the most severe persecution of the Jews. It was in places of latent anti-Semitism and persecution (ex. Eastern Europe)  “Zionism” was coined by a man named Nathan Birnbaum (from Vienna) who started writing about the concept of Zionism in a school newspaper. It comes from a Hebrew word relating to what is now that territory.  Theodor Herzl is most strongly associated with the concept of Zionism (esp. in Der Judenstaat in 1895). He grew up secular and was an intellectual, and was not involved in Judaism in the religious sense. His motivation for this was in part due to the Dreyfus Affair—a French captain (Dreyfus) was charged with being a spy for Germany, and it resulted in a lot of anti-Jewish demonstrations in France. The Dreyfus affair galvanized the Zionist movement.  In 1897, the first Zionist conference was held to bring people together and facilitate organization and mobilizing over what was just an idea at the time.  Challenges of Zionism:  There was a challenge within the Jewish community in promoting Zionism due to the secular vs. religious problem. Many ultra-Orthodox Jews do not identify as Zionist and don’t support Zionism as a movement.  Economic challenges—finances was a big problem as there was not a lo of money going into the movement at the beginning. One of the movement’s strategies was to purchase land in what was then Palestine (Jewish National Fund was created to help raise money for Zionist goals).  In the early years there were no political backing, and there was no incentive for any state to support it. They had to appeal to people based of moral/ethical ground to gain support.  The Basle Declaration (1897) was a summary of what Zionism stands for.  “Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine”  There is language such as “home” and “homeland,” not “state.”  It called for Jews to start organizing and thinking about themselves as a group with a national identity. It promoted the settlement of Jewish people in Palestine.  It called for “the strengthening of the Jewish feeling and consciousness,” and the idea of having a stronger national identity resonated with
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