Zionism, Territorial Rights and the Right to National Self-Determination

36 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2017

See all articles by Yitzhak Benbaji

Yitzhak Benbaji

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 1, 2017


Like any ideological movement, Zionism is a rich and complicated historical phenomenon. During its long history, many thinkers and political actors were entitled to speak on its behalf. They understood the Zionist project in different ways, and in light of incompatible political and moral beliefs. This essay defends a weaker version of a moral view that some Zionist thinkers and activists have implicitly adopted: "Secular (Nonromantic) Zionism." This view is expressed by a reading of three historical documents — the 1917 Balfour Declaration (by which the Great Britain, and following it the League of Nations, formally acknowledged the national ambitions of Jews in Palestine), the 1947 UN resolution for Palestine, and the 1948 Independence Declaration of the State of Israel. Secular Zionism can be safely ascribed to some of the founding fathers, from Theodore Herzl (the founder of the movement) to David Ben-Gurion (the first prime minster of the State of Israel), and to many thinkers and writers from H. N. Bialik to Amos Oz. Many of them had not developed a fully articulated version of their Zionist commitments but, arguably, some of the commitments that some of them shared are best interpreted as expressions of Secular Zionism.

Keywords: Zionism, self-determination, territorial rights, secular zionism, Israel

Suggested Citation

Benbaji, Yitzhak, Zionism, Territorial Rights and the Right to National Self-Determination (July 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2995929 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2995929

Yitzhak Benbaji (Contact Author)

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel Aviv 69978, IL

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