Jewish People and Collective Memory: The Early Years of Zionist Settlement in Palestine

1637 WordsJan 31, 20187 Pages
As will be evident when I proceed with the examination of Gordon’s essays, one of the main themes is the establishment of Jewish group identity; the negative diasporic identity Gordon creates is essential to compliment the positive future identity of the Jewish people. Following the definition of Fredrik Barth, group identity is created through shared fundamental cultural values and entails a membership that identifies themselves as members and which is identified by others as members. Group identity emerges when a group of people shares a common culture and this culture distinctly differs from the culture of other groups. Cultural features can be material such as dress, language, shape of house, or be based on basic values like standard of morality or excellence of achievement (Barth: 10-11). It is significant for identity creation, that while certain features are considered unifying, others are ignored. The features considered important for the self-identification of a certain group are the identity markers that make the group distinct from other groups (Barth: 14). National identity is one of the social identities that has had the most impact on historical events, with both positive and negative consequences, as for example the great romantic-national movement of the nineteenth century (Salazar 1998: 114). This movement affected the identity of the Jewish people in emphasizing their lack of nationhood. Jose Miguel Salazar defines national sentiment by four elements:

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