German Jerusalem

George Prochnik at Literary Review:

As a tormented young anarchist pacifist pining for radical deliverance while cooped up at home with his parents in Berlin during the First World War, Gershom Scholem felt absolutely committed to one cause: Zionism. The only problem, he acknowledged in his journal, was that Zionists had not yet defined the contents of their ideology. As far as Scholem was concerned, Zionism had no political implications. It did not necessitate an oceanic ingathering of the Jewish people from the diaspora. There was no imperative to farm the Holy Land. The movement, in the eyes of the future pioneering scholar of kabbalah, was a humanistic, anti-bourgeois endeavour that probably required a commitment to living in Palestine or thereabouts. But it did not require the acquisition of sovereign control over territory, let alone taking possession of land belonging to the Arab peoples resident in the country.

more here.