Robert Weltsch and the Paradoxes of Anti-Nationalist Nationalism
- Jewish Social Studies
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 16, Number 3, Spring/Summer 2010 (New Series)
- pp. 85-115
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article analyzes the specific version of Zionism developed in Central Europe by examining the life and work of Robert Weltsch. Born in Prague in 1891, Weltsch was the editor of the official journal of the German Zionist federation, the Jüdische Rundschau, from 1919 until 1938. I trace the impact of German nationalist ideology and politics on Weltsch's thinking, arguing that he developed an ambivalent concept of Jewish nationalism that cannot be identified as either ethnic or civic. Weltsch criticized liberal ideology and affirmed völkisch ideas of national community while rejecting national chauvinism and embracing universal humanity. Weltsch's Zionism was an attempt to fulfill the cultural aspirations of völkisch nationalism and yet to avoid its political consequences. His ideas remained an unsolved contradiction and, though supported by many German Zionists, were thus not able to shape the politics of the Zionist movement and the political reality in Palestine.