Toward Local Political Thought

Years of Activity: 2010 - 2011

Research Status:

Not Active
Participants: 

Merav Amir, Adi Armon, Hillel Ben Sasson, Dr. Amos Goldberg, Prof. Alon Harel, Avner Inbar, Yoav Kani, Gal Katz, Yishai Landa, Noa Limona, Prof. Yishai Rosen-Tzvi, Dr. Assaf Sharon, Dr. Levi Spectre, Ynon Wygoda, Dror Yinon

From history we learn that political crises lead to changes and revolutions in political thought. In light of the intense political crisis that has beleaguered Israel for at least four decades, the absence of an approach to political theory that arises from, and is geared toward, local conditions is a phenomenon in need of an explanation. This group examines the relationship between the political situation in Israel (and between Israel and the Palestinians) and political philosophy in its broadest sense. In the process, we hope to adumbrate the contours of a political theory attuned to our local situation.
 
The meetings in 2011 were devoted to explorations of local conceptions of citizenship and membership in the political community. For example, many Israelis believe that the Jewish people rather than the citizenry is the true “body politic” of Israel; what conception of sovereignty does this belief entail?? Which characteristics of the Israeli regime are effects of this strange incongruence between membership in the political community and having a share in the sovereign body? 
 
In discussions within the group and with guest lecturers, the members tried to uncover the hidden connections between Israel’s concrete political crisis and the philosophical particularities at the core of much of our political thought. It tried to tackle old questions – such as the meaning and possibility of a “Jewish state” – from new angles, in an attempt to overcome long-lasting deadlocks. The discussions went back to some of the seminal thinkers of early Zionism and some of its critics, in an attempt to extract new insights from old perspectives.