Zion­ism: An Emo­tion­al State

  • From the Publisher
June 14, 2022

Emo­tion lies at the heart of all nation­al move­ments, and Zion­ism is no excep­tion. For those who iden­ti­fy as Zion­ist, the word con­notes lib­er­a­tion and redemp­tion, unique­ness and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty. Yet for many, Zion­ism is a source of dis­taste if not dis­gust, and those who reject it are no less pas­sion­ate than those who embrace it. The pow­er of such emo­tions helps explain why a word orig­i­nal­ly asso­ci­at­ed with ter­ri­to­r­i­al aspi­ra­tion has sur­vived so many years after the estab­lish­ment of the Israeli state.

Zion­ism: An Emo­tion­al State expert­ly demon­strates how the ener­gy pro­pelling the Zion­ist project orig­i­nates from bun­dles of feel­ing whose ele­ments have var­ied in vol­ume, inten­si­ty, and dura­bil­i­ty across space and time. Begin­ning with an orig­i­nal typol­o­gy of Zion­ism and a new take on its rela­tion­ship to colo­nial­ism, Penslar then exam­ines the emo­tions that have shaped Zion­ist sen­si­bil­i­ties and prac­tices over the course of the movement’s his­to­ry. The result­ing por­trait of Zion­ism recon­fig­ures how we under­stand Jew­ish iden­ti­ty amidst con­tin­u­ing debates on the role of nation­al­ism in the mod­ern world.

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