Jewish radical right : Revisionist Zionism and its European origins, 1920-1937 / by Eran Kaplan.
The dissertation focuses on the intellectual origins of Revisionist Zionism during the political and ideological ferment of the period between the two world wars. Like other radical right-wing movements in Europe, Revisionist Zionism under the leadership of Ze'ev Jabotinsky was a revolt against the heritage of the Enlightenment: against rationalism, individualism and materialism. The Revisionists strove to uncover what they perceived as the authentic power that would allow the Jews of the time to realize their true selves and live lives of virtue and authenticity. Yet far from being a romantic revolt against modernity, Revisionism was an avowedly modernistic movement that sought to mobilize the masses while relying on technology and the forces of modern capitalism to achieve its aims. The dissertation examines how its anti-rational impetus shaped the many facets of Zionist Revisionist thought into a comprehensive ideological plan that sought to refashion every aspect of modern Jewish life—an ideology that has all but been ignored in Zionist historiography. It explores the Revisionists' philosophical, economic and aesthetic program as a Zionist version of contemporary, European ideologies. It examines the Revisionists' vision of the spatial and physical qualities of the future Hebrew state and analyzes their view of women and gender relations as an extension of their spatial vision. It also looks at the Revisionists' perception of ancient Israel as a Mediterranean nation and describes how this historical analysis served to justify their contemporary international orientation, which called on the Zionist movement to cooperate with Italy rather than with Great Britain. Last, this work explores at the legacy of Revisionism in modern-day Israel and shows how some of the more important social and cultural changes that Israel has experienced in recent years can be understood as an expression of the Revisionist criticism of the Labor movement and of its Zionist ethos.
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