I recently came across a brilliant, if long blog post/article by one Efraim Podoksik on the interplay between nationalism and civic democracy in Hebrew. As I believe it has import in the general discussion taking place regarding the legitimacy of Zionism, I have taken upon myself to translate it over the next few days.
What makes this article so important is that it is written from a liberal (i.e. what is generally identified as “left-wing”) point of view. Furthermore, it demonstrates a far-reaching and thorough understanding of nationalism in general and modern European history in particular. I believe Podoksik makes a very important contribution as one of a small, but crucial group of liberals who have not been cowed by the small, but vocal anti-Zionist minority.
Two caveats before I start:
1) All responsibility for the accuracy of the translation rests on my shoulders alone.
2) Let it be known that I do not necessarily agree with everything written in the post. This goes especially for his portrayal of “Im Tirtzu”. This is also the case with regard to his downplaying of the use of the “modernist” school of nationalism (Andersen, Hobsbawm &c) as a tool for delegitimizing nationalism in general and Zionism in particular. Whether said theories do so intrinsically or are used as such is, to my mind, a red herring. Put another way: not all modernists are anti-Zionists, but all anti-Zionists are modernists.