Monday, February 17, 2014

The Model of Ethnic Democracy. By Sammy Smooha.

The model of ethnic democracy: Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. By Sammy Smooha. Nations and Nationalism, Vol. 8, No. 2 (October 2002). Earlier version at European Centre for Minority Issues.

Can Israel Be Both Jewish and Democratic? By Ruth Gavison. Social Science Research Network, January 1, 2011.

The Jews’ Right to Statehood: A Defense. By Ruth Gavison. Azure, No. 15 (Summer 2003).

Ruth Gavison Offers a Vision of a Democratic, Jewish Israel. By Leslie Evans. UCLA, February 19, 2004.

Jewish and Democratic?: A Rejoinder to the “Ethnic Democracy” Debate. By Ruth Gavison. Israel Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Spring 1999).

The Rise of Secondary States in the Iron Age Levant. By Alexander H. Joffe. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 45, No. 2 (2002).

On the antiquity of ethnic states, going back to around 1000 BC. Ancient Israel, the kingdom of David, was one of the first ethnic states.


“Ethnic states” are not types or stages in an evolutionary scheme. Rather they are novel and historically contingent political systems which appear in the Levant during the first millennium BCE thanks to the confluence of several factors, not least of all the collapse of imperial domination and the longstanding city-state system. New forms of local identity and organization developed during the centuries of relative dislocation, which were later utilized in part by reemergent elites. The phenomenon has recurred periodically in the interstices between larger units such as empires, along the margins, and during periods of collapse. This approach necessarily sees the clustering of certain behaviors, symbols, and historical evidence as indicative of “ethnic” or identity organized groups (contra Jones 1997). The extensive use of symbolism and particular forms of administration make the “ethnic state” archaeologically detectable.