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Gershom ScholemAn Intellectual Biography$
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Amir Engel

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226428635

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226428772.001.0001

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When a Dream Comes True: Zionist Politics in Palestine, 1923–1931

When a Dream Comes True: Zionist Politics in Palestine, 1923–1931

(p.94) Chapter 4 When a Dream Comes True: Zionist Politics in Palestine, 1923–1931
Gershom Scholem

Amir Engel

University of Chicago Press

This chapter returns to Scholem’s biography and discusses his immigration to Palestine in 1923 and his reaction to the political reality on the ground. Against what one may assume, Scholem’s immigration to Zion triggered a terrible disappointment. For in fact, the kind of Zionist undertaking pursued by the Zionist establishment in Palestine was nothing like what he imagined it should and would be. First and foremost, it seemed to him that Zionism is heading into a bloody collision with the Arab population in Palestine. As a result, Scholem joined the Brith Shalom organization, which advocated a binational (Jewish Arab) state in Palestine. And he wrote prolifically and poignantly against the shortcomings of Zionist policy. It was in this context that Scholem also wrote against the messianic tendencies within Zionism. The political undertaking of the Jews, he vehemently argued, was essentially different than the religious idea represented by Messianism. Furthermore, he warned against the idea that Zionism may bring about redemption. That approach, he argued, would be disastrous. This chapter furthermore suggests that this was the context in which Scholem started his most well-known study- on the history of the Sabbatean messianic movement.

Keywords:   Zionism, Palestine, Arab-Jewish Conflict, immigration, Joseph Klausner, messianism, binational state, Sabbateanism, theology

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