Pursuing the Zionist Dream on the Palestinian Frontier

A Critical Approach to Herzl’s Altneuland

  • Saddik Mohamed Gohar United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Keywords: Zionism, frontier, immigration, Palestine, narrative, history, Jews, colonization

Abstract

This paper critically examines Theodore Herzl’s canonical Zionist novel, Altneuland /Old New Land as a frontier narrative which depicts the process of Jewish immigration to Palestine as an inevitable historical process aiming to rescue European Jews from persecution and establish a multi-national Utopia on the land of Palestine. Unlike radical Zionist narratives which underlie the necessity of founding a purely Jewish state in the holy land, Altneuland depicts an egalitarian and cosmopolitan community shared by Jews, Arabs and other races. The paper emphasizes that Herzl’s Zionist project in Altneuland is not an extension of western colonialism par excellence. Herzl’s narrative is a pragmatic appropriation of frontier literature depicting Palestine as a new frontier and promoting a construct of mythology about enthusiastic individuals who thrived in the desert while serving the needs of an enterprising and progressive society. Unlike western colonial narratives which necessitate the elimination of the colonized natives, Herzl’s novel assimilates the indigenous population in the emerging frontier community.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Al-Swafiri, Kamel. Al-Shiir Al-Arabi Al-Hadith Fi Maasat Felistin / Modern Arabic Poetry about the Palestinian Question. Cairo: Nahdet Masr, 1985.

Eisenzweig, Uri. “An imaginary territory: the problematic of space in Zionist discourse”. Dialectical Anthropology 5,4 (1981) 261-285.

Gohar, Saddik. “Colonial Discourse and Narratives of Hate in Leon Uris’s The Haj”. Qatar University Arts Journal Vol.28 (2006): 10-36.

___. ”Narratives of Colonialism, Race and Ideology in Leon Uris’s The Haj. Studies in Islam and the Middle East Vol.3.1 (2006): 1-16.

___. ”The Distortion of the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Contemporary American Fiction: A Study of the Haj”. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies Vol. 8 (2007): 31-48.

___. The Falsification of the Arab/Israeli Conflict in Leon Uris’s The Haj. Cairo: Eyes Press, 2001.

___. The Palestinian Question in the Haj “. Tanta Faculty of Arts Journal (January -1995): 73-114.

Goldman, Nahum. The Genius of Herzl and Zionism Today. Jerusalem: Organization Department of the Zionist Executive, 1955.

Herzl, Theodore. Altneuland (Old New Land). Trans. Lotta Levensohn. Bloch Publishing Co. and Herzl Press: New York, 1941.

___. The Complete Diaries. 5 Volumes, Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Herzl Press, 1960.

___. The Jewish State, trans. Sylvie D'Avigdor. London: Penguin, 2010.

Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Trans. Geoffrey Bennigton and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota press, 1984.

Published
2020-11-26
How to Cite
GoharS. M. (2020). Pursuing the Zionist Dream on the Palestinian Frontier. Acta Neophilologica, 53(1-2), 61-81. https://doi.org/10.4312/an.53.1-2.61-81
Section
Articles