Nationalism and Binationalism: The Perils of Perfect Structures

Contemporary Challenges to the Nation State: Global and Israeli Perspectives (Volume 1)

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  • Cover Type: Hardcover
  • Number Of Pages: 240 Pages

The first volume of a three-volume set based on research conducted under the auspices of IDI’s Nation State Project, Nationalism and Binationalism analyzes Israel’s key challenges facing the contemporary nation state from a global perspective but with special emphasis on the Middle East and Israel.

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For the last two centuries, the nation state has posed a formidable challenge to multinational empires. It has served as a base for modernization, secularization and democratization—and also for the formation of totalitarian regimes. Today, the nation state faces challenges from multiple directions. National minorities demand self-determination while religious forces seek to undermine secular governments, and global migration movements destroy the cultural uniformity once considered essential for the formation and preservation of nation states.

Nationalism and Binationalism is the first of a three-volume set which addresses key challenges facing the contemporary nation state from a global perspective but with special emphasis on the Middle East and Israel. Publication reflects research conducted under the auspices of The Israel Democracy Institute’s “Nation State Project”, which analyzes Israel’s complex reality in which a Jewish majority contends with an Arab minority, ultra-Orthodox religious forces reject the authority of the nation state, and an immigrant society exhibits substantial cultural and ethnic variance.

This volume examines binationalism—a topic that has gained popularity in academic circles as a possible solution to the Israel/Palestine issue (though the historical experience of binationalism is discouraging)—from a theoretical point of view and from a practical angle, analyzing cases in which two ethnic groups or nations share one political system and govern it jointly. Some contributors challenge the accepted notion of national unity in several countries, such as France and Germany; others consider the precedents of Belgium and Canada, and other countries, which are considered as binational. The history of the binational concept in Israel is explored and different opinions are presented on its future prospects: the idea of Israel within the borders of 1949 as a binational state, and the possibility of a binational state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.

  • Uriel Abulof, Binationalism Beyond Israel
  • Michael Walzer, Five Regimes of Coexistence
  • Alain Dieckhoff, Nationalist Processes and State Divisions in Europe
  • Ran Halévi, Plurality in the Shadow of Unity: The Fabric of the French Nation State
  • Shulamit Volkov, Delusions of Unity: The Case of Germany
  • Philippe Van Parijs, Is a Binational Democracy Viable? The Case of Belgium
  • Asa Kasher, Binationalism: Fundamental Objections
  • Aviva Halamish, Binationalism in Mandatory Palestine: The Case of Hashomer Hatzair
  • Sarah Ozacky-Lazar, One State in Eretz Israel/Palestine: Dream or Nightmare?
  • Mordechai Bar-On, A Binational State between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean: Evolution and Critical Survey of an Idea
  • Matti Steinberg, “Two Nations are in thy womb and the one people shall be stronger than the other people” (Genesis 25:23): Binationalism in the Arab Middle East
  • As’ad Ghanem, The Palestinians in Israel and the Demand for Binationalism
  • Alexander Yakobson, National Identity and Citizenship in a Jewish Nation State
  • Sammy Smooha, A Zionist State, a Binational State and an In-Between Jewish and Democratic State
  • The Contributors
  • Index
  • Vol. II: The Nation State and Religion: The Resurgence of Faith (forthcoming)
  • Vol. III: The Nation State and Immigration: The Age of Multiculturalism (forthcoming)