This seminar course will grapple with some of the most important issues affecting the future of Israel, the West, and the entire Middle East. We will begin by investigating the theoretical foundations of “nationalism,” the most powerful force shaping world politics over the past four centuries. Drawing on this deeper historical and philosophical understanding, we will examine the case for (and against) an international order based on national states such as Britain, America, and Israel. We will apply these concepts to understand why the creation of a Jewish state was justified three-quarters of a century ago and why the case for it has only grown stronger over time. And then we will apply similar criteria to assess whether the creation of a Palestinian state can be justified on moral and pragmatic grounds today.
Daniel Polisar is the co-founder and executive vice president of Shalem College in Jerusalem, Israel’s first liberal arts college. He previously served as the president of the Shalem Center from 2002-2013 and also as its director of research, academic director, and editor-in-chief of its journal, Azure. From 2006 to 2009, he served as the founding chairman, within the Office of the Israeli Prime Minister, of the National Council for the Commemoration of the Legacy of Theodor Herzl. Dr. Polisar received his BA in politics from Princeton University and his PhD in government from Harvard University, where he was the recipient of Truman and Fulbright scholarships, as well as of a Mellon Fellowship. His research interests include Zionist history and thought, Israeli constitutional development, and the history and philosophy of higher education.
Meet the Instructor
Tikvah aims to make all of our courses available to as many qualified students as possible. In the event that Tikvah needs to add additional sections, this course may be taught by a different faculty member with a similarly high level of expertise.