The Question of Zion

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Overview

Zionism was inspired as a movement--one driven by the search for a homeland for the stateless and persecuted Jewish people. Yet it trampled the rights of the Arabs in Palestine. Today it has become so controversial that it defies understanding and trumps reasoned public debate. So argues prominent British writer Jacqueline Rose, who uses her political and psychoanalytic skills in this book to take an unprecedented look at Zionism--one of the most powerful ideologies of modern times.

Rose enters the inner world of the movement and asks a new set of questions. How did Zionism take shape as an identity? And why does it seem so immutable? Analyzing the messianic fervor of Zionism, she argues that it colors Israel's most profound self-image to this day. Rose also explores the message of dissidents, who, while believing themselves the true Zionists, warned at the outset against the dangers of statehood for the Jewish people. She suggests that these dissidents were prescient in their recognition of the legitimate claims of the Palestinian Arabs. In fact, she writes, their thinking holds the knowledge the Jewish state needs today in order to transform itself.

In perhaps the most provocative part of her analysis, Rose proposes that the link between the Holocaust and the founding of the Jewish state, so often used to justify Israel's policies, needs to be rethought in terms of the shame felt by the first leaders of the nation toward their own European history.

For anyone concerned with the conflict in Israel-Palestine, this timely book offers a unique understanding of Zionism as an unavoidable psychic and historical force.

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Editorial Reviews

Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies
In some of the most interesting passages of The Question of Zion, [Jacqueline Rose] offers a brilliant account of the psychopathological effects of the holocaust on 'the Israeli mind'. . . . Inspired by Rose's courage and generosity, our field should now engage with much less timidity with the issue of Palestine/Israel.
— Bart Moore-Gilbert
Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies

In some of the most interesting passages of The Question of Zion, [Jacqueline Rose] offers a brilliant account of the psychopathological effects of the holocaust on 'the Israeli mind'. . . . Inspired by Rose's courage and generosity, our field should now engage with much less timidity with the issue of Palestine/Israel.
— Bart Moore-Gilbert
New Statesman - Geoffrey Wheatcroft
[A] remarkable book. . . . Enormous amounts of news coverage and polemic are devoted to Israel, and the conflict in the Holy Land is the single most bitterly contentious struggle on earth. And yet, as Rose points out, little attention is given to the roots of the Zionist movement and the impassioned debates that once surrounded it. . . . Just what a strange creed Zionism was, and how unlike other nations its out-come, are part of Rose's theme.
London Review of Books - David Stimpson
Jacqueline Rose has written a timely and courageous book. . . . It could do nothing but good if the force of Rose's argument were to be felt not only in and for Israel but beyond.
The Observer - Rafael Behr
Professor Rose's analysis . . . is modestly expressed and methodical. It is also fiercely intellectual. Judaic theology and psychoanalytic theory are wielded like tools, unpicking the minds of Israel's pioneers . . . to the Bible-bashing settlers currently resisting evacuation from Gaza to the West Bank.
Rabbi; Jewish Chronicle - David Goldberg
[A]n original and provocative study, full of arresting insights, that deserves to be widely read in Israel and among diaspora Jews.
Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies - Bart Moore-Gilbert
In some of the most interesting passages of The Question of Zion, [Jacqueline Rose] offers a brilliant account of the psychopathological effects of the holocaust on 'the Israeli mind'. . . . Inspired by Rose's courage and generosity, our field should now engage with much less timidity with the issue of Palestine/Israel.
International History Review - Laurence J. Silberstein
Rose's highly provocative work raises many important problems and provides many useful insights.
Journal of Religion - Martina Urban
Rose's book has the merit of probing the problematic liaison in the Jewish state between nationalism and religion, on the one hand, and national myth and political reality, on the other. From the perspective of the study of her religion, her book challenges us to pay heed to the fundamental conceptual difference between (religious) redemption and (national) liberation.
Canadian Jewish News - Sheldon Kirshner
Presents a revisionist appraisal of the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict and concludes that Israel is in danger of destroying itself.
Tikkun - Cynthia Hoffman
Rose asks the right questions: is it possible to talk about the suffering of the Jewish people and the violence of the Israeli state in the same breadth? Why is criticism of Israel construed as a denial of the Jewish people's right to self-defense? Can any state act with impunity on grounds of self-defense? And finally, if part of the messianic view of world history is that 'it is part of the cosmic order of things that the nation must live on a knife's edge,' as her analysis suggests, is it possible for there to be peace?
Jewish Chronicle - Rabbi David Goldberg
[A]n original and provocative study, full of arresting insights, that deserves to be widely read in Israel and among diaspora Jews.
From the Publisher

"[A] remarkable book. . . . Enormous amounts of news coverage and polemic are devoted to Israel, and the conflict in the Holy Land is the single most bitterly contentious struggle on earth. And yet, as Rose points out, little attention is given to the roots of the Zionist movement and the impassioned debates that once surrounded it. . . . Just what a strange creed Zionism was, and how unlike other nations its out-come, are part of Rose's theme."--Geoffrey Wheatcroft, New Statesman

"Jacqueline Rose has written a timely and courageous book. . . . It could do nothing but good if the force of Rose's argument were to be felt not only in and for Israel but beyond."--David Stimpson, London Review of Books

"Professor Rose's analysis . . . is modestly expressed and methodical. It is also fiercely intellectual. Judaic theology and psychoanalytic theory are wielded like tools, unpicking the minds of Israel's pioneers . . . to the Bible-bashing settlers currently resisting evacuation from Gaza to the West Bank."--Rafael Behr, The Observer

"[A]n original and provocative study, full of arresting insights, that deserves to be widely read in Israel and among diaspora Jews."--Rabbi David Goldberg, Jewish Chronicle

"In some of the most interesting passages of The Question of Zion, [Jacqueline Rose] offers a brilliant account of the psychopathological effects of the holocaust on 'the Israeli mind'. . . . Inspired by Rose's courage and generosity, our field should now engage with much less timidity with the issue of Palestine/Israel."--Bart Moore-Gilbert, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies

"Rose's highly provocative work raises many important problems and provides many useful insights."--Laurence J. Silberstein, International History Review

"Rose's book has the merit of probing the problematic liaison in the Jewish state between nationalism and religion, on the one hand, and national myth and political reality, on the other. From the perspective of the study of her religion, her book challenges us to pay heed to the fundamental conceptual difference between (religious) redemption and (national) liberation."--Martina Urban, Journal of Religion

"Presents a revisionist appraisal of the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict and concludes that Israel is in danger of destroying itself."--Sheldon Kirshner, Canadian Jewish News

"Rose asks the right questions: is it possible to talk about the suffering of the Jewish people and the violence of the Israeli state in the same breadth? Why is criticism of Israel construed as a denial of the Jewish people's right to self-defense? Can any state act with impunity on grounds of self-defense? And finally, if part of the messianic view of world history is that 'it is part of the cosmic order of things that the nation must live on a knife's edge,' as her analysis suggests, is it possible for there to be peace?"--Cynthia Hoffman, Tikkun

New Statesman
[A] remarkable book. . . . Enormous amounts of news coverage and polemic are devoted to Israel, and the conflict in the Holy Land is the single most bitterly contentious struggle on earth. And yet, as Rose points out, little attention is given to the roots of the Zionist movement and the impassioned debates that once surrounded it. . . . Just what a strange creed Zionism was, and how unlike other nations its out-come, are part of Rose's theme.
— Geoffrey Wheatcroft
London Review of Books
Jacqueline Rose has written a timely and courageous book. . . . It could do nothing but good if the force of Rose's argument were to be felt not only in and for Israel but beyond.
— David Stimpson
Jewish Chronicle
[A]n original and provocative study, full of arresting insights, that deserves to be widely read in Israel and among diaspora Jews.
— Rabbi David Goldberg
International History Review
Rose's highly provocative work raises many important problems and provides many useful insights.
— Laurence J. Silberstein
Journal of Religion
Rose's book has the merit of probing the problematic liaison in the Jewish state between nationalism and religion, on the one hand, and national myth and political reality, on the other. From the perspective of the study of her religion, her book challenges us to pay heed to the fundamental conceptual difference between (religious) redemption and (national) liberation.
— Martina Urban
Canadian Jewish News
Presents a revisionist appraisal of the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict and concludes that Israel is in danger of destroying itself.
— Sheldon Kirshner
Tikkun
Rose asks the right questions: is it possible to talk about the suffering of the Jewish people and the violence of the Israeli state in the same breadth? Why is criticism of Israel construed as a denial of the Jewish people's right to self-defense? Can any state act with impunity on grounds of self-defense? And finally, if part of the messianic view of world history is that 'it is part of the cosmic order of things that the nation must live on a knife's edge,' as her analysis suggests, is it possible for there to be peace?
— Cynthia Hoffman
The Observer
Professor Rose's analysis . . . is modestly expressed and methodical. It is also fiercely intellectual. Judaic theology and psychoanalytic theory are wielded like tools, unpicking the minds of Israel's pioneers . . . to the Bible-bashing settlers currently resisting evacuation from Gaza to the West Bank.
— Rafael Behr
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691130682
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 2/5/2007
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Rose is Professor of English at Queen Mary University of London. She is the author of "The Haunting of Sylvia Plath", "States of Fantasy", the novel "Albertine", and "On Not Being Able to Sleep: Psychoanalysis in the Modern World" (Princeton).

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 "The apocalyptic sting" : Zionism as Messianism (vision) 1
Ch. 2 "Imponderables in thin air" : Zionism as psychoanalysis (critique) 58
Ch. 3 "Break their bones" : Zionism as politics (violence) 108
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2005

    Professorial Drivel

    The Arab dictatorships saw to it in 1948 that no Palestine came into existence alonside Isarel, which was what the UN resolution had intended. A half century later, Arafat saw to it, at Camp David and at Taba, that no Palestinian state came into existence, and proceeded to wink at Hamas's self-defeating program of suicide bombings. But you'd never know a thing about this long tragic history of Arab misrule -- by which legitimate Palestinian hopes have been laid waste -- from reading Prof. Rose, who dwells in a polemical realm of her own where Palestinians are pure victims and Israelis are pure perpetrators and that is that.

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