'Not One Inch of Retreat': The Transnational Jewish Far Right, 1929-1996

Roth-Rowland, Natasha, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Loeffler, James, AS-History (HIST), University of Virginia

“‘Not One Inch of Retreat’: The Transnational Jewish Far Right, 1929-1996,” investigates the history of the far-right Zionist movement in the U.S. and Israel-Palestine across the twentieth century. It explores the interwar origins of the transnational Jewish far right’s ideology and praxis, showing how this period shaped the movement’s formal politics and its ideas about nationhood, gender, land, and colonialism, as well as some of its adherents’ tendency toward fascism. The dissertation also considers how the movement adapted to the realities of sovereignty, and then to the longer-term pursuit of political power, exploring how the trappings of statehood at first undermined, and then revitalized, the transnational Jewish far right as it sought to capitalize on moments of political and social instability in both countries. This project argues that a specific mechanism led to the greatest advances in the far right’s vision: a cycle of crisis and victory, whereby a perceived setback to the movement’s aims sparked grassroots mobilization, radicalization, and violence, ending each time with cooptation by the Israeli state.

This dissertation also examines overlaps between far-right and centrist streams of Zionism, ultimately arguing that far from being an anomaly, the Jewish far right is deeply embedded into the history of Jewish national politics—and that, despite its ultranationalism and fixation on territory, it is, in fact, a profoundly internationalist movement. In particular, it assesses the interdependence of the movement in each country, and explores how the transnational relationship altered over the decades in response to changing geopolitical circumstances; shifting domestic and international sociopolitical concerns; and, above all, the Jewish far right’s steady progress from the margins to the mainstream.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Jewish history, Israel-Palestine, Jewish far right, Israeli history, American-Jewish history
Issued Date: