“[B]eide zu einem harmonischen Ganzen verschmolzen”: Particularism, Universalism, and the Hybrid Jewish Nation in Early German Zionist Discourse

This article analyzes the relationship between universalism and particularism in early Zionist discourse. Like every national movement, the Zionists saw themselves faced with the paradox between universalism and particularism that is inherent to nationalist theory. The Zionist response to this paradox is not only fruitful for the understanding of national ideology in general, but can also help us to understand the arguments put forward by movements of minoritized groups. In this context, the concept of hybridity is of major importance: for the Zionists, the idea of a nation—just as for other activist groups notions of ‘identity’, ‘culture’ or ‘essence’—rather than reflecting the aforementioned paradox, formed a hybrid entity consisting of both particularist and universalist aspects. The article further uncovers a fact research thus far has neglected: in support of their argument and for tactical reasons, German Zionists referred to other minority movements, such as the African American or Civil Rights movements, the Native American movement, and the women’s movement.

Author(s): Manja Herrmann

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