Polanyi, 'Jewish Problems' and Zionism

Tradition and Discovery 32 (1):6-19 (2005)
Although his ‘Jewish Problems’ article of 1943 would be his only publication on the subject, Michael Polanyi thought, wrote, and lectured about Zionism throughout the 1930s and 1940s. He framed the issues concerning Jewish settlement in Palestine not within the immediate context of the Second World War but within the wider context of assimilation and Jewish encounters with modernity. Specifically, Polanyi engaged the arguments of Lewis Namier, a Manchester colleague and committed Zionist. Polanyi approached Zionism from the perspective of a ‘non-Jewish Jew’ who found common ground with some of the views expressed by Anglo-Zionism as weil as the ‘liberal critics’ of Zionism. The fact that he felt compelled to enter this debate speaks to his identity as a Jewish intellectual who regarded ‘assimilationists’ and their building of in-roads to the modern world as the moral equivalent of the pioneers who settled the Land of Israel and made possible further immigration
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Struan Jacobs & Phil Mullins (2011). Relations Between Karl Popper and Michael Polanyi. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (3):426-435.

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