Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt would have been one hundred today. Strange how her work still upsets people even this late after her death: in today’s Tageszeitung, the Israeli historian Idith Zertal (cf. for example her book From Catastrophe to Power) tells of how much Arendt is hated even today in Israel — where her work is not translated into Hebrew — explaining that this hatred does not date just from the Eichman trial & Arendt’s book on that event, but goes back to her criticsim of zionism in the 30ies. As she puts it:

Arendt quickly recognized the exclusive character of an ethnically-based zionism and its potential for violence, something that contradicted her idea of a civilian state. What she refused was specifically the military character of Israel and its dependence on major foreign powers, because from early on she saw that source of a growing isolation and hatred in the region. Arendt could not accept the kind of military project zionism is, nor the messianic project to colonize the “land of the fathers,” a mythic “Urheimat.” Her opposition to the nation state and its claims for exclusivity and mechanisms of exclusion against ethnic minorities, inevitably led to a conflict with the zionist establishment, which always insisted on the Jewish character of Israel.

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1 Response

  1. Kiera says:

    Did you attend any of the conferences this year? I saw you will be focusing on Arendt for your class this year. Which texts will you be using?

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