Clip from Judaism 3.0 Unveiling – January 12, 2022
Q: By positing Zionism as the next iteration of Judaism, which is an important one, because of the idea that if you are anti-Zionist it will make you anti-Jewish, it is also because Zionism is nationalism. Nationalism is an idea that is 150 years old. At this point in our world’s history, Nationalism is being shunted aside. So I’m curious if you feel that your book might be too late. In other words, what is going to happen when people are going to say Nationalism is passe, it does not exist anymore. What is going to be then the defining aspect of Judaism when people would say nations don’t exist and do not matter anymore?
Gol Kalev: I think my book is right on time because of exactly what you said. I’m using our contemporary terms. Nationalism existed forever in the Jewish nation. We did not call it this way. Just like the term Judaism is also new. Academics can debate terminology. I’m using terminology that we are all familiar with.
The Jews have always also been a nation-religion. It only cracked about 200 years ago in a very small percentage of the Jews.
Until 100 years ago, the Jews in Eastern Europe were part of the Jewish nation-religion, the Jews in the Middle-East were part of the Jewish nation-religion. It was very obvious both to the Jews and to the outside world.
It is very funny that some American Jews say they are Polish. In Poland you were not Polish – you were a Jew. You you were a Jew to yourself and you were a Jew to the Polish.
So, Jews were always part of a nation-religion.
You are completely correct that nationalism has become a dirty word of sorts. In the section about global trend, I do an analysis of trends in Europe. I have a website EuropeAndJerusalem,com, and I write analysis articles for various publications about trends in Europe.
There are a few obvious things about Europe: Every 100 years or so, there is a war – that nobody ever expected. And then there is a counter-reaction to the causes of the previous war, and then a new cause for war, to fix the outcomes of the previous war.
What was the dangerous thing in Europe in the 19th Century? It was France. France caused a war to spread the ideas of the French Revolution. France invaded Europe.
France then was somewhat akin to what Germany was in the late 20th Century.
One of the big mysteries is why did World War I start. Nobody figured it out yet. But it did, and the sequel – World War II happened after that. And as the counter-reaction to those wars, Europeans are now saying: war is about religion and nationalism and particularity. Therefore, If we undo nationalism, if we follow the John Lennon song Imagine – no nation, no religion, no nothing – Universalism – than there will be peace.
This is a legitimate view. It is a view that is defining a global divide that is emerging – like Communism vs Capitalism was in the 20th Century, and like Monarchy vs Republicanism was in the 19th Century.
There is an emerging global divide between Euroepaism and Americanism.
There is a European-led view that is reactive to the travesty of the war – about post-nationalism, counter-particularity, Universalism.
And there is an American-led view which is about nationalism, particularly, religion. Israel and the Arab world are part of this group.
So you are right – we are in the midst of the global debate if nationalism and particularity is something that good or bad.
There is no such think as Judaism without nationalism, Jews have always been a nation-religion. Until recently, there never been anything different than that.
That is why this book is very timely – because we are able to define things as they are, and open those issues to debate.
More clips from the January 12 Pre-launch unveiling party:
For Photos and more from the event: Press Release
For more information about the book: judaism-zionism.com
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