Jews as cosmopolitans, foreigners, revolutionaries. Three images of the Jew in Polish and Russian nationalist ideology at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Semion Goldin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article examines the different ways in which two nationalist movements in the late Russian Empire - Polish and Russian - depicted 'the Jew' in their respective national discourses. Throughout this article, the author traces the image of 'the Jew' in these two national discourses and focus on 'the Jews'' perceived roles as cosmopolitans, nationalists, and socialists. Also compared are Russian and Polish definitions of the Jews' foreignness and the centrality of this image of 'the Jew' in the worldview of Polish and Russian national thinkers. Despite the many differences, these two national circles exhibit strikingly similar attitudes toward Jews. Both movements saw the Jews' cosmopolitanism as integral parts of their racially and culturally determined foreignness. Moreover, the Jews' foreignness supposedly encouraged them to bring Poland and Russia under their direct rule. To achieve these goals the Jews employed national mobilisation. According to Polish and Russian nationalists, the Jews' cosmopolitanism also found its expression in the revolutionary- socialist movement that was permeated with the Jewish spirit. The charges of Russian and Polish nationalists against the Jews were determined, to a considerable degree, by their fear that the Jews could not be assimilated and made part of the Polish or Russian national 'organisms', and that this inability to assimilate 'the Jews' directly undermined the relative strength of the Polish and Russian national movements.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)431-444
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Review of History/Revue Europeenne d'Histoire
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Keywords

  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Jewish
  • Polish Jews
  • Polish nationalism
  • Russian nationalism
  • revolutions

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