Toward a Theory of World Jewish Politics and Jewish Foreign Policy

Shmuel Sandler

Abstract: The central question addressed in this paper is whether it is possible to characterize the interaction between Jews, whether in a Jewish state or in exile, and other national groups in terms of international politics and foreign policy. This question is not limited to a particular time or place. It begins with the Bible, continues through the period of the First and Second Temples, through generations when the Jewish people was stateless, and concludes with the era of a sovereign Jewish state. The point of departure is the school of thought that sees the political regime in Israel as the outcome of a Jewish political tradition of thousands of years, one that existed even when there was no Jewish polity in the land of Israel, a perspective that stands in contrast to the accepted approach in Israeli political science. This paper examines the main theories and concepts accepted in international relations today and then applies the analytic framework of international relations theory to the Jewish case. The conclusion is that after at least three thousand years of Jewish presence on the world scene, a coherent “Jewish foreign policy” – or international policy – can be discerned, defined, and studied as the subject of scholarly inquiry.

Biography: Shmuel Sandler is the Sara and Simha Leiner  Professor in Democracy and Civility, and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Bar-Ilan University. He earned his BA at Haifa University, his MA at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and his PhD at the Johns Hopkins. Sandler has been a visiting professor at Concordia, British Columbia, and Johns Hopkins University. He specializes in international politics and comparative government, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israeli politics and foreign policy, and ethno-national politics and foreign policy. His current research is in religion and international relations. He authored the books The State of Israel, The Land of Israel: Statist and Ethnonational Dimensions of Foreign Policy (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing, 1993) and The Nation-State: Introduction to International Relations (Tel-Aviv: The Open University, 1999), co-authored Bringing Religion Back to International Relations (Palgrave, NY: 2004), The Arab Israeli Conflict Transformed: Fifty Years
of Interstate and Ethnic Crises
(New York: State University of New York Press, 2002), and co-edited several other books. He has written numerous articles and chapters in books; has published in journals such as Comparative Politics, Nations and Nationalism, International Political Science Review, and Political Studies; and has lectured at conferences across the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel and India.

Volume 2, Number 3 (Summer 2007) pp. 326-360