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Canaanism

Canaanism

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Canaanism was a cultural and ideological movement founded in 1939 that reached its peak in the 1940s among the Jews of Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. It has significantly impacted the course of Israeli art, literature
Israeli literature
Israeli literature is literature written in the State of Israel by Israelis. Most works classed as Israeli literature are written in the Hebrew language, although some Israeli authors write in Yiddish, English, Arabic and Russian...

, and spiritual and political thought. Its adherents were called Canaanites . The movement's original name was the Council for the Coalition of Hebrew Youth ; "Canaanism" was originally a pejorative term. It grew out of Revisionist Zionism
Revisionist Zionism
Revisionist Zionism is a nationalist faction within the Zionist movement. It is the founding ideology of the non-religious right in Israel, and was the chief ideological competitor to the dominant socialist Labor Zionism...

 and had "its early roots in European extreme right-wing movements, notably Italian fascism." Most of its members were part of the Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

 or Lehi
Lehi (group)
Lehi , commonly referred to in English as the Stern Group or Stern Gang, was a militant Zionist group founded by Avraham Stern in the British Mandate of Palestine...

. The movement never had more than around two dozen registered members, but most of these were influential intellectuals and artists, giving the movement an influence far beyond its size. The Canaanites believed that much of the Middle East had been a Hebrew-speaking civilization in antiquity. They hoped to revive this civilization, creating a "Hebrew" nation, disconnected from the Jewish past, which would embrace the Middle East's Arab population as well. They saw both "world Jewry and world Islam" as backward and medieval; Kuzar writes that the movement "exhibited an interesting blend of militarism and power politics toward the Arabs as an organized community on the one hand and a welcoming acceptance of them as individuals to be redeemed from medieval darkness on the other."

The Canaanites and Judaism


The movement was founded in 1939. In 1943 the Jewish-Palestinian poet Yonatan Ratosh
Yonatan Ratosh
Uriel Shelach , better known by his pen name Yonatan Ratosh , was an Israeli poet and the founder of the Canaanite movement.-Biography :...

 published an "Epistle to the Hebrew Youth", the first manifesto of the Canaanites. In this tract, Ratosh called upon Hebrew youth to disaffiliate themselves from Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, and declared that no meaningful bond united Hebrew youth residing in Palestine and Judaism. Ratosh argued that Judaism was not a nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

 but a religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, and as such it was universal, without territorial claims; one could be Jewish anywhere. For a nation to genuinely arise in Palestine, he maintained, the youth must uncouple from Judaism and form a Hebrew nation with its own unique identity. (The term "Hebrew" had been associated with the Zionist aspiration to create a strong, self-confident "new Jew" since the late nineteenth century). The birthplace and geographical coordinates of this nation is the Fertile Crescent
Fertile Crescent
The Fertile Crescent, nicknamed "The Cradle of Civilization" for the fact the first civilizations started there, is a crescent-shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia. The term was first used by University of Chicago...

.

The Council for the Coalition of Hebrew Youth calls upon you as a Hebrew, as one for whom the Hebrew homeland is a homeland in actuality: not as vision, nor as desire; and not as solution for the Jewish question, nor as solution to cosmic questions, and not as solution to the variegated neuroses of those stricken by the diaspora. As one for whom the Hebrew language is a language in actuality and practicality, a mother tongue, a language of culture and of the soul; the one and only language for emotion and thought. As one whose character and intellect were determined in the Hebrew reality, whose internal landscape is the landscape of the nation and whose past is the past of the nation alone. As one who, despite the best efforts of rootless parents, teachers, statesmen and religious leaders, could not be made to like and affiliate with the Shtetl and the history of the diaspora, the pogroms and expulsions and martyrs, and whose natural estrangement from all prophets of Zionism, the fathers of Jewish Literature in the Hebrew tongue, and the diaspora mentality and the diaspora problem, cannot be expunged. Whereas all these were conferred upon you by force, like a borrowed cloth, faded and tattered and too-tight.


Out of their estrangement from Judaism the Canaanites were also estranged from Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

. The State of Israel ought to be, they argued, a Hebrew state, not a solution to the Jewish Question
Jewish Question
The Jewish question encompasses the issues and resolutions surrounding the historically unequal civil, legal and national statuses between minority Ashkenazi Jews and non-Jews, particularly in Europe. The first issues discussed and debated by societies, politicians and writers in western and...

. Following the first Aliyot
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

, a generation arose in Palestine that spoke Hebrew as a native language and did not always identify with Judaism. Designating the Israeli People as a "Jewish People", the Canaanites argued, was misleading. If it was possible to be a Jew anywhere, then the State of Israel was merely an anecdote in the history of Judaism. A nation must be rooted in a territory and a language—things which Judaism, in its very nature, could not provide.

Canaanites and History


The movement promoted the idea that the Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

 was that of ancient Canaan (or, according to others, the whole of the Fertile Crescent
Fertile Crescent
The Fertile Crescent, nicknamed "The Cradle of Civilization" for the fact the first civilizations started there, is a crescent-shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia. The term was first used by University of Chicago...

) in which ancient peoples and cultures had lived, and that the historical occasion of the reemergence of an Israeli people constituted a veritable revival of these selfsame ancient Hebrews and their civilization, and consequently a rejection of religious Judaism in favor of a native and rooted Hebrew identity.

Because the Canaanites sought to create in Israel a new people, they mandated the dissociation of Israelis from Judaism and the history of Judaism. In their stead they placed the culture and history of the Ancient Near East
Ancient Near East
The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia , ancient Egypt, ancient Iran The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia...

, which they considered the true historical reference. They argued that the people of the Land of Israel in the days of the biblical monarchs had not been Jewish but Hebrew, and had shared a cultural context with other peoples of the region. Citing contemporary biblical criticism
Biblical criticism
Biblical criticism is the scholarly "study and investigation of Biblical writings that seeks to make discerning judgments about these writings." It asks when and where a particular text originated; how, why, by whom, for whom, and in what circumstances it was produced; what influences were at work...

, the Canaanites argued that the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 reflected this ancient history, but only partly, since it had been compiled in the period of the Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 by Jewish scribes who had rewritten the history of the region to suit their world-view.

Much of the Canaanite effort was dedicated to researching the history of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and its peoples. The Canaanites cited approvingly the work of Umberto Cassuto
Umberto Cassuto
Umberto Cassuto, also known as Moshe David Cassuto, , was a rabbi and Biblical scholar born in Florence, Italy. -Early life and career:...

, who translated Ugaritic
Ugaritic language
The following table shows Proto-Semitic phonemes and their correspondences among Ugaritic, Arabic and Tiberian Hebrew:-Grammar:Ugaritic is an inflected language, and as a Semitic language its grammatical features are highly similar to those found in Classical Arabic and Akkadian...

 poetry into Hebrew. (Ugarit
Ugarit
Ugarit was an ancient port city in the eastern Mediterranean at the Ras Shamra headland near Latakia, Syria. It is located near Minet el-Beida in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of Cyprus...

 was an ancient city located in modern-day northern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, where in the early 20th century many important ancient texts, written in the Ugaritic language
Ugaritic language
The following table shows Proto-Semitic phonemes and their correspondences among Ugaritic, Arabic and Tiberian Hebrew:-Grammar:Ugaritic is an inflected language, and as a Semitic language its grammatical features are highly similar to those found in Classical Arabic and Akkadian...

, were discovered.) Ugaritic verse bore an uncanny resemblance to the language of the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

. The Canaanites argued that these texts proved that the people of the Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

 had been much closer socially and culturally to other peoples of the region than they had been to Judaism.

Canaanites and Literature


In his book, Sifrut Yehudit ba-lashon ha-ʻIvrit (Jewish Literature in the Hebrew Tongue), Yonatan Ratosh sought to differentiate between Hebrew literature
Hebrew literature
Hebrew literature consists of ancient, medieval, and modern writings in the Hebrew language. It is one of the primary forms of Jewish literature, though there have been cases of literature written in Hebrew by non-Jews...

 and Jewish literature
Jewish literature
Jewish Literature refers to works written by Jews on Jewish themes, literary works of various themes written in Jewish languages, or literary works in other languages written by Jewish writers. Ancient Jewish literature includes Biblical literature and rabbinic literature...

 written in the Hebrew language
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

. Jewish literature, Ratosh claimed, could be and was written in any number of languages. The ideas and writing style that characterize Jewish literature in Hebrew were not substantially different from those of Jewish literature in other languages. Ratosh and his fellow Canaanites (especially Aharon Amir
Aharon Amir
Aharon Amir was an Israeli Hebrew poet, a literary translator and a writer.- Biography :Amir was born in Kaunas, Lithuania. He moved to Palestine with his family in 1933 and grew up in Tel Aviv. His father,...

) thought that Hebrew literature should be rooted to its historical origins in the Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

 and the Hebrew language
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

. As an example they noted American literature, which in their mind was newly created for the new American people.

Canaanite verse is often obscure to those unfamiliar with ancient Ugaritic and Canaanite mythology. One of the principal techniques used by the Canaanites to produce Hebrew literature was to adopt words and phrases (especially hapax legomena
Hapax legomenon
A hapax legomenon is a word which occurs only once within a context, either in the written record of an entire language, in the works of an author, or just in a single text. The term is sometimes used incorrectly to describe a word that occurs in just one of an author's works, even though it...

, which the Canaanites regarded as traces of the original unedited Hebraic Tanakh) from the Tanakh, and use them in a poetic that approximated biblical
Biblical poetry
The ancient Hebrews perceived that there were poetical portions in their sacred texts, as shown by their entitling as songs or chants such passages as Exodus 15:1-19 and Numbers 21:17-20; and a song or chant is, according to the primary meaning of the term, poetry.- Rhyme :It is often stated that...

 and Ugaritic verse, especially in their use of repetitive structures and parallelism
Parallelism (rhetoric)
Parallelism means giving two or more parts of the sentences a similar form so as to give the whole a definite pattern.Parallelisms of various sorts are the chief rhetorical device of Biblical poetry in Hebrew. In fact, Robert Lowth coined the term "parallelismus membrorum Parallelism means giving...

. The Canaanites did not rule out the use of new Hebrew words, but many of them did avoid Mishnaic
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 Hebrew. However, these characteristics represent only the core of the Canaanite movement, and not its full breadth.

The late literary scholar Baruch Kurzweil
Baruch Kurzweil
Baruch Kurzweil was a pioneer of Israeli literary criticism.-Biography:Kurzweil was born in Pirnice, Moravia in 1907, to an Orthodox Jewish family. He studied at Solomon Breuer's yeshiva in Frankfurt and the University of Frankfurt. Kurzweil emigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1939...

 argued that the Canaanites were not sui generis
Sui generis
Sui generis is a Latin expression, literally meaning of its own kind/genus or unique in its characteristics. The expression is often used in analytic philosophy to indicate an idea, an entity, or a reality which cannot be included in a wider concept....

, but a direct continuation (albeit a radical one) of the literature of Micha Josef Berdyczewski
Micha Josef Berdyczewski
Micha Josef Berdyczewski , or Mikhah Yosef Bin-Gorion was a Ukrainian-born writer of Hebrew, a journalist, and a scholar...

 and Shaul Tchernichovsky
Shaul Tchernichovsky
Shaul Tchernichovsky , was a Russian-born Hebrew poet. He is considered one of the great Hebrew poets, identified with nature poetry, and as a poet greatly influenced by the culture of ancient Greece.- Life :...

.

Canaanites and Language


Ratosh and his brother, Uzzi Ornan
Uzzi Ornan
Uzzi Ornan is an Israeli linguist and social activist. Ornan is a member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, professor of natural languages computing at the Technion and professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ornan was a member of the Israeli Canaanite movement, founded by...

, also sought for the Romanization of Hebrew
Romanization of Hebrew
Hebrew uses the Hebrew alphabet with optional vowel points. The romanization of Hebrew is the use of the Latin alphabet to transliterate Hebrew words....

 in order to further divorce the language from the older Hebrew alphabet
Hebrew alphabet
The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

. Writing articles in the Hebrew-language press in the 1960s and 1970s, they criticized the Hebrew alphabet for its graphical shortcomings and relationship with Judaism, and proposed for official Romanization of the language in order to further free secular Hebrew Israelis from the hold of religion and integrate them into the larger Levantine region. Their proposals for wholesale Romanization met condemnation from various public figures due to the perception that Romanization was a means of assimilation and Levantinization.

Aytürk later compared the Canaanite proposal for Romanization to the more successful reform of the Turkish alphabet
Turkish alphabet
The Turkish alphabet is a Latin alphabet used for writing the Turkish language, consisting of 29 letters, seven of which have been modified from their Latin originals for the phonetic requirements of the language. This alphabet represents modern Turkish pronunciation with a high degree of accuracy...

 as undertaken by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Atatürk's Reforms
Atatürk's Reforms were a series of political, legal, cultural, social and economic reforms that were designed to modernize the new Republic of Turkey into a democratic and secular nation-state...

 in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

; the reform of Turkish spelling, which had previously been written in the Arabic
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

-based Ottoman Turkish alphabet
Ottoman Turkish alphabet
The Ottoman Turkish alphabet was the version of the Perso-Arabic alphabet that was used for the Ottoman Turkish language during the time of the Ottoman Empire and in the early years of the Republic of Turkey, until the adoption of the new Turkish alphabet, derived from the Latin script, on...

 for over 1,000 years until the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
The Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire included the watershed events of the Young Turk Revolution and the establishment of the Second Constitutional Era, and ended with the Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by the victorious sides of World War I.- Establishment of the Second Constitutional Era, 24...

, was similarly motivated by Atatürk's attempts to secularize and modernize post-Ottoman Turkish society.

Scope and Influence


The political influence of the Canaanites was limited, but their influence on literary and intellectual life in Israel was great. Among the avowed Canaanites were the poet Yonatan Ratosh
Yonatan Ratosh
Uriel Shelach , better known by his pen name Yonatan Ratosh , was an Israeli poet and the founder of the Canaanite movement.-Biography :...

 and thinkers such as Edya Horon. A series of articles which Horon published in the journal "Keshet" in 1965 were compiled after his death into a book and published in 2000. These articles constituted political and cultural manifestos that sought to create a direct connection between Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 culture from the second millennium BCE and contemporary Israeli culture, relying on advancements in the fields of archeology and research of Semitic languages
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

 in linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

.

Some of the artists who took after the movement were the sculptor Yitzhak Danziger
Yitzhak Danziger
Yitzhak Danziger was an Israeli sculptor. He was one of the pioneer sculptors of the Canaanite Movement, and later joined the "Ofakim Hadashim" group.- Biography :Danziger was born in Berlin in 1916 to a Zionist family...

 (whose Nimrod became a visual emblem of the Canaanite idea), novelist Benjamin Tammuz
Benjamin Tammuz
Benjamin Tammuz was an Israeli writer and artist who contributed to Israeli culture in many disciplines, as a novelist, journalist, critic, painter, and sculptor.Benjamin Tammuz was born in Soviet Russia...

, writer Amos Kenan, novelist and translator Aharon Amir
Aharon Amir
Aharon Amir was an Israeli Hebrew poet, a literary translator and a writer.- Biography :Amir was born in Kaunas, Lithuania. He moved to Palestine with his family in 1933 and grew up in Tel Aviv. His father,...

, thinker and linguist Uzzi Ornan
Uzzi Ornan
Uzzi Ornan is an Israeli linguist and social activist. Ornan is a member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, professor of natural languages computing at the Technion and professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ornan was a member of the Israeli Canaanite movement, founded by...

 and many others.

The journalist Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement.A member of the Irgun as a teenager, Avnery sat in the Knesset from 1965–74 and 1979–81...

 praised Horon's journal Shem in 1942 but did not subscribe to Ratosh's orthodoxy; in 1947 he derided the Canaanites as romantic, anachronistic, and divorced from reality. However, the influence of Canaanism is still evident in some of his political thought, such as his 1947 proposal for a pan-Semitic union of Middle Eastern states. Avnery, along with several former Canaanites (notably Kenan and Boaz Evron
Boaz Evron
Boaz Evron is a left-wing Israeli journalist and critic. Evron was born in Jerusalem and attended Herzliya Hebrew High School and Hebrew University. Evron's family had lived in Palestine since the early nineteenth century; he is the great-grandson of Yoel Moshe Salomon, one of the founders of...

) later changed positions drastically, becoming advocates for a Palestinian state. Israeli leftists and secularists are sometimes accused of Canaanism or Canaanite influence by their opponents.

The idea of creating a new people in Palestine different from the Jewish life in the diaspora which preceded it never materialized in purist Canaanite conception, but nevertheless had a lasting affect on the self-understanding of many spheres of Israeli public life.

Criticism


The Canaanite movement, since soon after its inception, has met with heavy criticism. In 1945 Nathan Alterman
Nathan Alterman
Nathan Alterman was an Israeli poet, playwright, journalist, and translator who – though never holding any elected office – was highly influential in Socialist Zionist politics, both before and after the establishment of the State of Israel.-Biography:...

 published the poem Merivat Kayitz (later included in the collection Yr HaYona, published in 1958), which took issue with the central tenets of the Canaanite movement. Alterman and others claimed that so many years in the diaspora cannot be simply expunged. Alterman argued that no one should coerce the Jewish settlement to adopt an identity; its identity will be determined through its experience in time.

Ratosh responded with an article in 1950 in which he claimed that Alterman was dodging important questions about Israeli identity. He argued that a return to ancient Hebrew traditions is not only feasible but necessary.

Alterman was not the only person to speak out against the Canaanites. Among the important critics of the movement was Baruch Kurzweil
Baruch Kurzweil
Baruch Kurzweil was a pioneer of Israeli literary criticism.-Biography:Kurzweil was born in Pirnice, Moravia in 1907, to an Orthodox Jewish family. He studied at Solomon Breuer's yeshiva in Frankfurt and the University of Frankfurt. Kurzweil emigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1939...

, who published The Roots and Quintessence of the 'Young Hebrews' Movement in 1953, which analyzed and sharply criticized Canaanite ideas. Kurzweil argued that the Canaanite ambition to motivate the variegated ethnography of the region in a single direction was not as easy as the Canaanites believed. Kurzweil believed the Canaanites replaced logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

 with mythos
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

, producing a religious delusion:

Since it itself neglects the historical continuity of its people, introduces obscure concepts into their political vision in its declarations of a 'Hebrew Land on the Euphrates', and relies on increasingly irrational argumentation, the movement is liable to find itself an escape into the realm of myth.

The Young Hebrews are not the first to launch themselves into the task of mythic renewal. Their original contribution is rather stale. For over a hundred years, the world has pined for a return to the lap of myth. The escapes into various myths have hitherto inflicted disasters upon humanity. In the spirit of good faith, it is best to assume that the whole chapter of mythic renewal in European thought is unclear to them. For the moment, we shall content ourselves with this quotation from Huizinga
Johan Huizinga
Johan Huizinga , was a Dutch historian and one of the founders of modern cultural history.-Life:Born in Groningen as the son of Dirk Huizinga, a professor of physiology, and Jacoba Tonkens, who died two years after his birth, he started out as a student of Indo-Germanic languages, earning his...

: "Barbarization sets in when, in an old culture… the vapors of the magic and fantastic rise up again from the seething brew of passions to cloud the understanding: when the mythos supplants the logos."


In the same article Kurzweil argues that, if no viable alternative was found, the Canaanite movement might become the leading political ideology in Israel.

See also


  • Aramaeanism
  • Assyrianism
    Assyrianism
    The term Assyrianism refers to Assyrian nationalism which increased in popularity in the late 19th century in a climate of increasing ethnic and religious persecution of the indigenous Assyrians of the Middle East....

  • Negation of the Diaspora
  • Panbabylonism
    Panbabylonism
    Panbabylonism is a school of thought within Assyriology and Religious Studies that considers the Hebrew Bible and Judaism as directly derived from Babylonian culture and mythology...

  • Pharaonism
    Pharaonism
    Pharaonism is an ideology that rose to prominence in Egypt in the 1920s and 1930s. It looked to Egypt's pre-Islamic past and argued that Egypt was part of a larger Mediterranean civilization. This ideology stressed the role of the Nile River and the Mediterranean Sea...

  • Phoenicianism
    Phoenicianism
    Phoenicianism is a form of Lebanese nationalism, especially popular from the 1920s through the 1950s. It promotes the theory that Lebanese people are not Arabs and that the Lebanese speak a distinct language and have their own culture, separate from that of the surrounding Middle Eastern countries...



External links

  • Two Brief Introductions to Hebrew Canaanism by Ron Kuzar.
  • Benjamin's Inn 2007 Haaretz
    Haaretz
    Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

     article by Uri Avnery
    Uri Avnery
    Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement.A member of the Irgun as a teenager, Avnery sat in the Knesset from 1965–74 and 1979–81...

    discussing Canaanism.
  • "'Canaanism': Solutions and Problems" by Boas Evron