Neither a “Spiritual Center” nor a “Jewish State”
This chapter analyzes the political outlook of Asher Ginsberg (Ahad Ha'am, 1856–1927), the founder of spiritual–cultural Zionism. The approach to Ahad Ha'am in this historiography, however, is another instructive example of the distortion that the nation-state paradigm creates in the study of the history of Zionist national thought, and any reevaluation of the ideological history of Zionism must contend with this distortion as well. Here, it will also become clear that the nation-state methodology creates a somewhat artificial dichotomy in its representation of the Jewish national vision held by Zionism's founders. This time, the dichotomy to be overcome is between the Herzlian “Jews' state” and the Ahad Ha'amian so-called spiritual center.
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