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Bar Kochba’s Homelands: Prague Zionists on National Soil and Rootedness

  • Adi GordonEmail author
Article
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Abstract

In late-Habsburg Prague, in the years before the Great War, the members of the Zionist Student Association Bar Kochba were remarkably ambivalent regarding the “objective” constituents of “genuine” nationalism claimed by the national movements of that place and time: territoriality, “blood,” distinctive cultures, national languages, etc. As Zionists, they desired such “objective” national attributes for themselves, even as they remained fully aware that these were ultimately inapplicable to their Jewish reality. The article illustrates this complexity by examining how these Prague Zionists theorized the concepts of national lands, national homelands, and national rootedness. Their deep-seated ambivalence toward the territoriality of nations, then, has been in response to Jews’ particular condition in the Diaspora. It does, however, expose a broader tension manifested in some shape or form in other national movements: many of the concepts of what nationhood is are adopted from alien cultures and often from the very culture from which the national movement seeks to dissociate.

Keywords

Theories of nationalism Territoriality Homeland Zionism Habsburg monarchy 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Jason Kalman and the two anonymous readers for their helpful and thoughtful suggestions and comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryAmherst CollegeAmherstUSA

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