Omri Boehm: Israel – a Utopia

Omri Boehm’s book “Israel – a Utopia” is a lively source of discussion and joins a growing number of critical voices that no longer cling to the failed phantom of a “two-state solution” but are developing new ideas of a bi-national state.
Here is a recording of our Zoom webinar with him, which was held largely in English. (A joint event with the German-Israeli Society Lake Constance Region)

There is a blatant contradiction between a Jewish state and a liberal democracy, says the Israeli philosopher Omri Boehm. For a Jew (and thus a fully-fledged Israeli citizen) is only someone who is ‘of Jewish descent’ – or religiously converted. In his great essay, he sketches the vision of an ethnically neutral state that overcomes its nationalist founding myth and thus finally has a future.
Israel has changed dramatically in the last two decades: While religious Zionism is becoming increasingly popular, both leftists and liberals lack convincing ideas and concepts. The two-state solution is widely considered to have failed. In view of this disaster, Omri Boehm argues for a rethink of Israel’s statehood: Only the equal rights of all citizens can end the conflict between Jews and Arabs. The Jewish state and its occupied territories must become a federal, binational republic. Such a policy is not anti-Zionist; on the contrary, it lays the foundation for a modern and liberal Zionism.
Omri Boehm, born in 1979 in Haifa, studied in Tel Aviv and served in the Israeli secret service Shin Bet. He received his doctorate at Yale with a dissertation on “Kant’s Critique of Spinoza.” Today he teaches as professor of philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York. He is an Israeli and German citizen, has conducted research in Munich and Berlin, and writes about Israeli politics in Haaretz, Die Zeit, and The New York Times.
The book:
Omri Boehm: Israel – eine Utopie,
Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 2020, hardback, 256 pages,
€ 20.60, ISBN 978-3-549-10007-3
The English edition, A Future for Israel: Beyond the Two-State Solution, will appear in April 2021 at New York Review Books.

Avraham Burg: On Stefan Zweig’s “World of Yesterday”and our world of today…

On November 28, 2020, the Willy Brandt Center in Jerusalem celebrated Stefan Zweig’s birthday together with us and other partners. Avraham Burg shared his personal reflections on Stefan Zweig’s autobiography The World of Yesterday. Memories of a European, reading the book several times in various translations. A journey from education sentimental to a vivid portray of present challenges. Thanks to the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem for the permission to share Avraham Burg’s thoughts here.

Micha Brumlik: Witch hunt under the sign of the “Christian-Jewish Occident”?

On October 14, 2020, Prof. Dr. Micha Brumlik (Berlin) gave a lecture – as a part of the program “The Last Europeans” – about the political instrumentalization of the notion of “Christian-Jewish Occident” in the exclusion of Muslims, migrants and refugees in Europe. Due to the measures taken against the Covid-19 pandemic, the lecture took place as a zoom webinar, to which participants from Vorarlberg and Berlin, Vienna and Graz, Zurich, Jerusalem and many other places joined in. A premiere in the museum.


Videos: Interviews and Lectures

“The Last Europeans” is an ongoing discourse on the future of Europe, on its legal standards, on democracy and authoritarian rule, on the protection of minorities and how to deal with diversity and migration, on open and closed borders, on social rights and economic interests.
Here we bring together interviews with people who think about Europe, lectures from our “Very Central European University”, and other contributions to the discussion about living together in Europe, a dialogue the Jewish Museum of Hohenems has basically been conducting since its founding in 1986. In this way, the Hohenems exhibition will become a visual library of European reflections.