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1929Mapping the Jewish World$
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Hasia Diner and Gennady Estraikh

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720202

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720202.001.0001

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From Universal Values to Cultural Representations

From Universal Values to Cultural Representations

(p.127) 8 From Universal Values to Cultural Representations

Avner Ben-Zaken

NYU Press

This chapter examines how the circulation of Marxism in the Middle East turned into a struggle between eastern European Jews who insisted on a universal application of Marxist values and local Marxists who rejected such universal values in favor of shaping Marxism from below according to particular cultural conditions. It considers the Comintern's efforts to recruit Arabs, to transform local political culture, and to maintain the international universal vision, along with the Palestinian Communist Party's role in the circulation of Communist ideology. It also discusses the belief by eastern European Jewish Marxists in the Middle East that the values of internationalism can be applied in any country without taking into consideration local and cultural conditions. The forced process of Arabization, the chapter argues, is a reflection of the Comintern's acknowledgement of both the limits of the internationalist vision and the strength of local and cultural identities.

Keywords:   political culture, Marxism, Middle East, European Jews, Arabs, Palestinian Communist Party, internationalism, Arabization

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