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“These Days of Shoah”: History, Habitus, and Realpolitik in Jewish Palestine, 1942–1943

International Origins of Social and Political Theory

ISBN: 978-1-78714-267-1, eISBN: 978-1-78714-266-4

Publication date: 4 April 2017


This article explores the role of history and historical memory in the formation of early Zionist/Israeli national security doctrine. To that end, it makes three moves. First, it explores a series of public addresses made by Zalman Rubashov (Shazar) in 1942–1943. A key public intellectual in the Jewish community of preindependent Palestine (the Yishuv), Rubashov means to help his listeners make sense of, and respond collectively to, the unfolding destruction of European Jewry. Second, it draws cautious parallels between those public intellectual pronouncements and the postwar work of Friedrich Meinecke, a prominent German historian and public intellectual and a sometime teacher of Rubashov. In both cases, I suggest, history does more than make sense of a moment of political transition: It seeks to reframe the self-understandings of citizens and their collective political relations. Third, drawing on a recent memoir by Noam Chayut, a prominent Israeli antioccupation activist, I explore how those self-understandings can be lost when the historical claims upon which they are predicated lose their sense of immediacy, naturalness, or coherence.




Ali Fuat Birol, David Blaney, Chris Brown, Sam Chambers, Christine Field, Beate Jahn, Oliver Kessler, Helen Kinsella, Ned Lebow, Utz McKnight, Daniel Bertrand Monk, Nawal Mustafa, Patricia Owens, Mira Sucharov, Lauren Wilcox, and the anonymous reader offered helpful comments. Andy Hom, Sammy Barkin, Yehonatan Abrahamson, and Yoav Galai pressed me on key points; I regret that I have not been able to address them all. To Tarak Barkawi and George Lawson, especial thanks. The usual provisos apply.


Levine, D.J. (2017), "“These Days of Shoah”: History, Habitus, and Realpolitik in Jewish Palestine, 1942–1943", International Origins of Social and Political Theory (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 32), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 99-125.



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