We start off by talking about how Adam Curtis often says that the era of individualism is coming to an end and wonder whether nationalism will be one of the ideas that takes over more and more. We then move on to Israel and Jewish nationalism and discuss the growth of Zionism both here in America and Russia.
The growth of Jewish nationalism among American Jews can partially be seen as a response to individualism. As soon as Jews became integrated into America’s professional class in the 1970s and lost their strong old world Jewish identity and the socialist politics of their parents, they gravitated to Jewish nationalism: Zionism became their core ethnic identity because they no longer had one. Interestingly enough, the rise of Jewish nationalism in the Soviet Union followed the same kind of logic but from a different direction: Zionism was a response to a crisis of socialism.
We end the episode by talking about the meltdown that Jews in America — who live safe, comfortable lives in a multicultural society that overwhelmingly supports Israel — are having right now about antisemitism and the supposed danger that we’re in, even as Israel flattens Gaza and carries out mass murder in their name.
To be continued next week…
Want to know more? Listen to…
…and check out The Soviet Jew.