Jewish International Politics

Prof. Yossi Shain


“Even as Jews and the Jewish Question no longer rest at the heart of intellectual and political debates … the analysis of Jews addresses issues at the heart of contemporary political life as well as defining themes of theory and method in political science.” This observation will inform our research seminar on Jewish international politics in the modern era and in our contemporary world. The loss of territorial sovereignty over two thousand years ago, and the dispersion of the Jewish population across the world, constituted a threat to the survival of the Jewish people as religious/ethnic community and as a political entity. This course addresses the question of how the Jews have responded to these challenges since the emergence of the modern nation-state. To what extent they have formed “tribal” or transnational answers to their uniqueness and the threats to their existence in their countries of dispersion. We focus on the alternative responses of modern Jewish politics to life in the Diaspora and in the Jewish Sovereign State. Topics include: the emergence of modern Jewish politics, Jewish socialism, Zionism, transnational religion and Judaism, the Holocaust and the politics of memory, American Jewish politics, Israeli-Diaspora Relations, the politics of restitution, Jewish/Catholic relations, and more. The case of Jewish international politics will be examined against the theoretical background of the role of states and civilizations in international politics.

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