Omri Boehm: Israel – an Utopia

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Reading and conversation with Omri Boehm (New York/Berlin)

Photo: Neda Navaee

There is a blatant contradiction between a Jewish state and a liberal democracy, says the Israeli philosopher Omri Boehm. For a Jew is whoever is “of Jewish descent” – or religiously converted.
In a major 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, the left is lacking 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

Israel – eine Utopie
Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 2020
Gebunden, 256 Seiten, € 20,60
ISBN 978-3-549-10007-3

Salomon Sulzer Saal
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