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Berlin and Popper between nation and empire: diaspora, cosmopolitanism, and Jewish life

Malachi Haim Hacohen

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies , volume 44, 2012 Berlin and Popper between nation and empire: diaspora, cosmopolitanism and Jewish life* MALACHI HAIM HACOHEN I . . . begin with the strange fact that the State of Israel exists The Jews have enjoyed rather too much history and too little geography. And . . . Israel must be regarded as . . . historical redress for this anomalous situation.1 [L]ike other human beings, [Jews now] can make a free choice either ... to live as . . . normal member[s] of a natural community without having to worry about . . . identity. Or [to accept] a certain degree of spiritual discomfort [and] remain in the Diaspora.2 Living in an overwhelmingly Christian society imposed [on Jews] the obliga- tion to give as little offense as possible - to become assimilated.3 I opposed Zionism initially because I was against . . . nationalism, but I never expected the Zionists to become racists. It makes me feel ashamed in my origin: I feel responsible for the . . . Israeli nationalists.4 Isaiah Berlin (i 909-1 997) and Karl Popper (1 902-1 994), leading twentieth- century liberal thinkers, were European émigrés to Great Britain, prominent in transatlantic intellectual life after the Second World War. Among the gen- eration of Cold War liberals, who struggled to reconcile their international- ist and pro-Western commitments with their Jewish sympathies for Zionism My thanks to Michael Berkowitz, Arie Dubnov, Stefano Gattei, Nancy Sinkoff and the anony- mous reviewers for Transactions. Earlier versions of this essay were presented at the Harvard Isaiah Berlin Centennial, 25 September 2009, and the conference "Karl Popper Today", University of Pisa, 26 April 2010. Parts of this essay rework material from Malachi Hacohen, '"The Strange Fact That the State of Israel Exists': The Cold War Liberals Between Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism", Jewish Social Studies 15, 2 (2009): 37-81. 1 Isaiah Berlin, "The Origins of Israel" (1953), in his The Power of Ideas , ed. Henry Hardy (Princeton, NJ, 2000), 143. 2 Isaiah Berlin, "The Achievement of Zionism" (1975), in The Isaiah Berlin Virtual Library, http://berlin.wolf.ox.ac.uk/lists/nachlass/achiezio.pdf, accessed 3 June 2012. 3 Karl Popper, Draft of Autobiography , section 20 (later 21), Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University, Popper Collection (135, 1; henceforth Popper Archives). I used the corrected type- script (pp. 140-41) but retained phrases that appeared in the earlier holograph (21 pp). See also p. 142 of the slightly later version (137, 3). 4 Karl Popper, interview with the author, 26 Jan. 1984. 51</page><page sequence="2">Malachi Haim Hacohen and Israel, Berlin and Popper represented polar positions on the Jewish Question - Diaspora Zionism versus anti-Zionist cosmopolitanism.5 In the aftermath of the Holocaust, both confronted the failure of Jewish emancipa- tion in the European nation state, and their responses to the Jewish predica- ment were formative for their liberalism. Popper rejected nationalism, envisioned a cosmopolitan empire and demanded Jewish assimilation. Berlin developed Diaspora Zionism and sought to pluralize the nation state to make room for a Jewish culture. Berlin came to Great Britain in 192 1 as a youth from Latvia (and Russia) and Popper came in 1935 as a young philosopher from Austria in search of a job and then again in 1945, after a sojourn in New Zealand during the war. The two held professorships at Oxford and the London School of Economics (LSE), respectively, were knighted and received multiple public recogni- tions. Yet, neither rid themselves altogether of the alien's unease in British intellectual life. They had warm feelings for British political culture but their discomfort as outsiders gave rise to innovative liberal thinking that was designed, partly, to resolve Jewish dilemmas. Berlin sought to accentuate British political pluralism to alleviate the problem of dual loyalty to Israel and the European nation state, while Popper drew on the British Empire, refracted through his youthful experience of the Austrian empire, to envision the Open Society. Putting Berlin and Popper in dialogue on the Jewish Question can inspire and guide contemporary thinking about cosmopolitanism. Popper's advo- cacy of assimilation violated his own cosmopolitan strictures, while Berlin's reconciliation of liberalism and Jewish nationality can serve as a corrective to Popper. Yet, Berlin's essentialist conception of Jewish ethnicity, and of nationhood in general, requires rectification, too. His essentialism blinded him to interaction across cultures and to the achievements of the German- speaking Central European Jewish intelligentsia. Popper's vision of cross- cultural interaction provides a more faithful portrait of the internationalism of the Jewish intelligentsia, both in interwar Central Europe and in the postwar transatlantic world. Popper can force Berlin to give a more persua- sive account of pluralism. Neither Berlin nor Popper, however, foresaw the great opening for Jewish culture in Europe and the US in the aftermath of 1968. Notwithstanding the recent challenges to multicultural and transnational ideals in Europe and the US, contemporary culture makes possible a rethinking of Jews' relations with non-Jews in ways not available to the Cold War cosmopolitans. Historians and cultural critics alike now recognize mutual borrowing between Jews and non-Jews, contingent Jewish identity, hybrid Jewish culture, in short, the authenticity of the Jewish American and Jewish European. 5 Hacohen, '"Strange Fact'", 37-81. 52</page><page sequence="3">Berlin and Popper between nation and empire Cold War liberalism and the Jewish Question: between cosmopolitanism and nationalism Berlin and Popper belonged to an anticommunist intelligentsia that operated across national borders and undertook to build a liberal-democratic transat- lantic culture. Among the more famous representatives were Raymond Aron, François Bondy, Margaret Buber-Neumann, Arthur Koestler, Melvin Lasky, Stephen Spender, Manès Sperber and, across the Atlantic, the New York Intellectuals, Daniel Bell, Sydney Hook, Irving Kristol and D wight McDonald. Born during the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Cold War liberals were generationally formed in the struggles against Nazism and Stalinism. They were antifascist with socialist sympathies in the 1930s - most were Marxists, some, for a while, communists - and became, in the postwar years, anticommunist proponents of the welfare state. A good number were émigrés fleeing Central Europe to the West, remnants of the intelligentsia destroyed by the Holocaust (or, in the US, children of Eastern European Jewish immigrants). Multicultural and cosmopolitan by convic- tion or by default, many of Jewish origin, they were well staged to maintain international dialogue in a Europe that had become, in the aftermath of the Holocaust and postwar ethnic cleansings, decidedly ethnonational. They played a crucial role in rebuilding European cultural relations beyond national borders. Their multicultural network, which integrated intellectual refugees from Eastern Europe, contributed to the formation of a Western European and transatlantic culture.6 Jewish culture and Zionism seemed ill suited to the cultural Cold War. The Cold War liberals - or, at any rate, the Jews among them - were as secular as any generation had been and unsympathetic to any form of hyper- nationalism. National and religious particularities rarely played an open role in their critique of communism. On the contrary, even when Soviet oppres- sion of Jewish nationality and religion called their attention, they found it necessary to confront communism on cosmopolitan terrain. They high- lighted the universal processes of modernization and explained totalitarian- ism as a misguided response, with catastrophic consequences, to the crises of modernity. To be sure, they exposed the antisemitism behind the commu- nist campaigns in the 1950s against cosmopolitanism and Zionism, which, in a series of public trials, purged the postwar Jewish communist leadership. Likewise, they were alert to neo-Nazi revivals in Germany and Austria. Yet 6 Malachi Hacohen, "From Empire to Cosmopolitanism: The Central European Jewish Intelligentsia, 1867-1968", Jahrbuch des Simon-Dubnow-Instituts 5 (2006): 117-33; Malachi Hacohen, "From Forum to Neues Forum: The 'Congress for Cultural Freedom', the 68ers and the Émigrés", in Das Jahr ig68: Ereignis , Symbol , Chiffre , eds. Oliver Rathkolb and Friedrich Stadler (Göttingen, 2010), 239-74. 53</page><page sequence="4">Malachi Haim Hacohen these remained asides. To be persuasive, the liberals needed to confront com- munism in its grandeur and not in its perversity. Anti-utopianism was the hallmark of Cold War liberal politics, while framing revolutionary politics as messianic was a preferred mode of delegit- imization. The liberal mentality, however, seemed also averse to nationalism. From the French to the Soviet revolutions, from the "Spring of Nations" to Wilsonian East-Central Europe, egalitarian democracy and national self- determination both seemed to run major totalitarian risks. Projects of reorder- ing the world along class or ethnonational lines became sites for terror, ethnic cleansing and mass murder. With few exceptions, the Cold War liberals' ambivalence about democracy and nationalism did not express itself as oppo- sition to political equality and nationhood. Indeed, they widely used both democracy and national self-determination to criticize the Soviet control of East-Central Europe and expose the hypocrisy of the "popular democracies" there. Still, they disliked nationalism of First, Second or Third World vintage and accommodated democracy and nationhood on condition that they remain liberal and not put civil liberties and constitutional guarantees at risk. Against this background of apprehension about nationalism and revolu- tionary politics, the Cold War liberals had a tough time dealing with Zionism and their own Jewish identity. It was one thing to reconcile allegiance to their country with their internationalist commitment, quite another to reconcile both with the claims of Jewish culture, Jewish nationality or attachment to Israel. Recent research of anticommunist intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic has been uncovering the Jewish roots of the critique of communism by intellectuals as diverse as Lucy Dawidowicz, Norman Podhoretz, Manès Sperber and Friedrich Torberg.7 Stalin's destruction of Yiddish culture filled them with terror as much as the Great Purges. For most liberals, however, and for the Congress for Cultural Freedom (1950-1967), the international organization coordinating their activities, the Jewish dimension remained decidedly subdued. They believed that only a liberal pluralist society would allow for integration and Jewish life - "they were universalists out of Jewish sensibilities", says Nancy Sinkoff - but, at least rhetorically, they rejected communism and promoted liberalism on universal, not Jewish grounds.8 As 7 For Dawidowicz, see Nancy Sinkoff, "The Polishness of Lucy S. Dawidowicz's Postwar Jewish Cold War", in A Jewish Feminine Mystique! Jewish Women in Postwar America, eds. Hasia Diner, Shira Kohn and Rachel Kranson (New Brunswick, NJ, 2010), 31-47; for Podhoretz, Michael Kimmage, "Lionel Trilling, Norman Podhoretz and the Evolution of the Jewish Cold War Intellectual", Fifteenth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 3 Aug. 2009; for Sperber see Hacohen, "Cold War Liberals", 37-81; for Torberg see Hacohen, "'Congress for Cultural Freedom'", 239-74. 8 Nancy Sinkoff, email to author, 30 May 2012. For the contemporary US Jewish liberals see David A. Hollinger, Science , Jews , and Secular Culture: Studies in Mid-Twentieth-Century American Intellectual History (Princeton, NJ, 1996). 54</page><page sequence="5">Berlin and Popper between nation and empire Jews, they demanded full citizenship and freedom of worship for all, not par- ticular cultural rights. The premises of Jewish integration into the nation state, which had just suffered a disastrous blow, remained unquestioned because no alternative seemed viable for the Jewish Diaspora. Israel represented the ultimate challenge. The fledgling state was the end result of a revolutionary ethnonational movement that made short shrift of the cosmopolitan and patriotic pretensions of Jewish intellectuals, claiming Jews everywhere for the national project in Palestine. Moreover, it resulted in a prolonged bloody conflict that further destabilized the Middle East and gave the Soviets opportunities to expand their influence. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, neither outright denial of one's Jewish identity nor hostility to Zionism seemed dignified. Many liberals had only limited familiarity with the variety of Zionism but, if they did, the conflict in Palestine and the fate of Europe's ethnic minorities seemed to discredit also non-statist and binational Zionist alternatives, and the foundation of Israel seemed to settle the ques- tion.9 The liberals had to negotiate between Jewish statehood and cos- mopolitanism, Jewish nationhood and internationalism. The Jewish Question brought into sharp relief the tensions between liberalism and nationalism. Contemporary critics, who have been interrogating nationality, valorizing diasporas and reclaiming non-statist Zionism, may wonder about the ease with which many Cold War liberals accepted the Zionist view about the nor- malcy of national life and the anomaly of diaspora. "Israelis have developed a normal life", wrote Berlin in 1975. "They are perfectly ordinary human- beings who do not suffer from the particular neuroses, which the Zionist movement was intended to cure."10 He spoke for the majority of Cold War liberals. They feared nationalism but accepted it almost as a natural force. Many liberals studied nationalism seriously and a few became great innova- tors in the field.11 They were not, for the most part, radical constructionists but they understood well nationalism's historicity - that is, the particular modern conditions of its making. All the same, the force of ethnonationalism across Europe and the traumas they had experienced were such that, even if they recognized the nation as an "invention" or an "imagined community", this would not sway their conviction that, in modernity, ethnic and national movements were bound to take the course they did. This course had just ended in the Holocaust. Their urge to protect the Jewish remnant in a hostile 9 For two recent accounts of the binational and non-statist alternatives see Adi Gordon, Brit h Shalom and Bi-National Zionism (Hebrew; Jerusalem, 2008) for Palestine and Noam Pianko, Zionism and the Roads Not Taken: Ramdowicz , Kaplan , Kohn (Bloomington, IN, 2010) for the US. 10 Berlin, "Achievement of Zionism". 11 Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Ithaca, NY, 1983); Hans Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism: A Study in its Origins and Background (New York, 1944). 55</page><page sequence="6">Malachi Haim Hacohen world by endowing it with a nation state was more than understandable - it seemed an imperative. It is paradoxical that, just as the ethnonational state became, with the ethnic expulsions, a European reality, the European nation state lost its autonomy. The Cold War liberals were among the first to recognize that, with the rise of the United States and the Soviet Union as superpowers, the European nation states had lost their sovereignty over foreign policy and required global alliances for their defence. They urged their compatriots to reconcile themselves to the "age of empires" but they continued to think of these empires as nation states wielding global power.12 Central and Eastern Europe had just been ethnically cleansed along nation-state boundaries, so alternative polities seemed Utopian. Multicultural empires, multiethnic nation states and cosmopolitan diasporas belonged to Europe's past and , future. They were beyond the horizon of even the most astute observers of postwar Europe. Karl Popper and the cosmopolitan empire: antinomies of cosmopolitanism and anti-Zionism The philosopher Karl Popper was the great exception. Among the few Cold War liberals who questioned the premise of the nation state, Popper was the most radical. Carrying the torch of cosmopolitanism passed over from the interwar Viennese Jewish intelligentsia, he was a trenchant critic of nation- alism, a vehement anti-Zionist and a cosmopolitan who pleaded for a pro- gressive empire. Born, raised and buried in Vienna, Popper first arrived in England in September 1935, after having published a foundational work in the philosophy of science: Logik der Forschung ( The Logic of Scientific Discovery ).13 A non-Marxist socialist in the interwar years, and prescient about the future of Central Europe, he was in search of a job that would take him out of Austria. He was unable to secure a permanent position, emigrated to New Zealand early in 1937 and spent the war years there, teaching at Canterbury University College. In New Zealand, he wrote The Open Society and Its Enemies, which has become a classic of political philosophy.14 Friedrich Hayek facilitated his return to England as a Reader at the LSE early 12 Raymond Aron, L'Age des empires et V avenir de la France (Paris, 1946); Raymond Aron, République impériale: les Etats-Unis dans le monde , 7945-/972 (Paris, 1973); Isaiah Berlin, "The Anglo-American Predicament", The Listener 42 (1949): 518-19, «8. 1 3 Karl Popper, Logik der Forschung: Zur Erkenntnistheorie der modernen Naturwissenschaft (Vienna, r935); The Logic of Scientific Discovery , trans. Karl Popper (London, 1959). 14 Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies , 2 vols. (London, 1945). All references are to the first edition, unless otherwise noted. 56</page><page sequence="7">Berlin and Popper between nation and empire in 1946. He lived most of the second half of his life in Penn on the outskirts of London, secluded in a rural house with a beautiful garden, a small circle of émigrés and students his main conduit to the social world. Admired among the literary public, his popularity ever increasing, he was reviled by most aca- demic philosophers, who rejected his ideas and found him personally insuf- ferable. However richly decorated, he never quite found his place in the British academy or society. The social and intellectual milieu of assimilated Viennese Jewry shaped Popper's philosophy and their dilemmas of national identity informed his cosmopolitanism. Striving for recognition as German-Austrians, the pro- gressive Jewish intelligentsia sought to strip religion and ethnicity of signifi- cance - their own, first and foremost. Being German was a matter of culture, not race. They represented a group that, to emancipate itself from its own ethnicity, needed to dissolve all ethnicity and claim universal humanity.15 Like them, Popper advocated Jewish assimilation into German culture but, unlike them, he decried German nationalism and held it responsible for the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. His cosmopolitanism was radical. The principle of national self-determination, he argued, was respon- sible for the catastrophes of modern European history, for the dissolution of multicultural and multi-ethnic empires, for ethnic cleansing and murder. It destroyed the blissful world of his childhood, shattered Central European culture and sent him into permanent exile. He was not going to sanction national self-determination for the Jews. Indeed, they needed to be the first to give it up. To Popper, nationalism was fraudulent, an invention of reactionary German intellectuals from Herder to Fichte to Hegel. Already in 1927, as a young socialist in Vienna, he made short shrift of the concept of Heimat (homeland).16 Writing The Open Society during the Second World War, he developed a formidable critique of the nation state. "The idea that there exist natural units like nations or linguistic or racial groups is entirely fictitious", he said.17 "None of the theories, which maintain that a nation is united by common origin, or a common language, or a common history, is acceptable, or applicable in practice. The principle of the national state ... is a myth."18 To his contemporaries, his view of nationalism as a curiously successful 15 For an account of the assimilated Jewish Viennese intelligentsia and its formative role for Popper, see Malachi Hacohen, "Dilemmas of Cosmopolitanism: Karl Popper, Jewish Identity, and 'Central European Culture'", Journal of Modern History 71 (1999): 105-49, an(1 Malachi Hacohen, Karl Popper - The Formative Years , igo2-iQ4$: Politics and Philosophy in Interwar Vienna (New York, 2000), 23-61 . 16 Karl Popper, "Zur Philosophie des Heimatgedankens" (1927), in his Frühe Schriften , ed. Troeis Eggers Hansen (Tübingen, 2006), 10-26. 17 Popper, Open Society , vol. 1, ch. 9, n. 7 (1). 18 Ibid., vol. 2, 49. 57</page><page sequence="8">Malachi Haim Hacohen intelligentsia's fraud, a catastrophe brought on Central Europe by treacher- ous intellectuals - la trahison des clercs par excellence - seemed incredulous. Recent decades have seen younger US historians of Central Europe - progenies of the "postnational" age - developing a historiography that sustains precisely such a view.19 Central European conceptions of nationality and imperialism shaped Popper's views. Imperial Austria made ethnicity ( Volksstamm, also tribe or race) the basis of claims for nationality ( Nationalität ) and cultural autonomy. Popper decried "tribal nationalism" or, in current parlance, ethnonational- ism. The French Revolution's political nation was the only one he accepted but he had no sympathy for French republicanism's assimilatory policies, which suppressed minorities and dialects to create homogenous popula- tions.20 He celebrated universal humanity, not multicultural diversity, but assimilation's virtue, as he saw it, was that it provoked a "culture clash", not that it produced nationhood. Czech and Jewish immigrants in Vienna who had to study German faced a cultural dissonance conducive to creativity. They opened up to new cultural traditions, creating the unparallelled cul- tural effervescence of the fin-de-siècle years.21 "Culture clash" must not, however, become territorial. National borders were conventional and nationalist claims to set "natural borders" were groundless and dangerous. Wilson's and Masaryk's "well meant" effort to apply national self-determination consistently throughout Central Europe - "one of the most mixed of all the thoroughly mixed regions of Europe" - was an incredible folly that brought about the failure of the Versailles Settlement after the First World War. "An international federation in the Danube basin might have prevented much."22 National Socialism represented the culmi- nation of the nation state. So did also the tragedy of Bosnia, he said in his 1994 Prague speech, the last in his life. If the principle of national self-determina- tion did not lose its authority, postcommunist Central Europe could fall prey to ethnic terrorism. The only remedy was abandoning self-determination, sanctioning the status quo and establishing an armed international organiza- tion to guarantee peace.23 19 Rogers Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed (New York, 1996); Pieter Judson, Guardians of the Nation (Cambridge, MA, 2007); Jeremy King, Budweisers into Germans and Czechs (Princeton, NJ, 2002). 20 Karl Popper, "Masaryk and the Open Society", in his All Life Is Problem Solving (London, 1999), 145-49. 21 Karl Popper, "Ein Interview mit Sir Karl Popper über Kurt Gödel und den Wiener Kreis", Wissenschaft aktuell 4 (1980): 50-51; Karl Popper, "On Culture Clash" (1981), in his In Search of a Better World ( London, 1992), 124. 22 Popper, Open Society , vol. 2, ch. 12, n. 53. 23 Ibid., vol. i, ch. 5, n. 13 (2); ch. 6, n. 44 (in later editions Popper expanded this note to rebut Hans Morgenthau's dismissal of an international legal order); ch. 9, n. 7; vol. 2, 238; ch. 12, nn. 19, 53; 58</page><page sequence="9">Berlin and Popper between nation and empire There was yet a superior antidote to ethnonationalism: pluralist imperi- alism. Imperialism, thought Popper, promoted the unity of humankind. Western history was a continuous struggle between progressive imperialism and reactionary nationalism. "From Alexander onward, all the civilized states of Europe and Asia were empires, embracing populations of infinitely mixed origin."24 Like other Central European émigrés to England, he regarded the British Commonwealth as the largest free community on earth. It extended hospitality to him in England and provided a wartime refuge in New Zealand. As he was writing The Open Society , German totalitarianism and British democracy were at war. If the democratic cosmopolitan empire survived, nationalism could subside and enlightenment spread. The progressive empire, an "Open Society", represented the Central European émigrés' multinational Habsburg ideal, projected onto the British Empire.25 Popper ingeniously deconstructed nationality, pointing out its complex historical formation and diffuse character, but he never extended this mode of questioning to imperialism. The nation state was historicized and delegit- imized; empires went unexamined and were vindicated. His recollection of historical episodes of imperialism was selective. He recalled Alexander the Great's cosmopolitanism, the Napoleonic Code and Habsburg pluralism, imagined the classical Athenian empire in an idealized image of the British Empire and overlooked Spanish colonialism, the Middle Passage and Nazi Lebensraum . The possibilities for abuse of the imperial ideal - by nationalism, no less - were colossal but Popper somehow hoped that empire would promote enlightenment rather than racial domination. Imperialism repre- sented cosmopolitanism's possibility: this was enough.26 Popper never became engaged in the postwar debate on the future of the British Commonwealth. He emerged periodically from his seclusion in Penn to comment on the Cold War but not on decolonization.27 Like most liberals ch. 13, n. 2 (i); Popper, "Kant's Critique and Cosmology", in Conjectures and Refutations (New York, 1963), esp. 182; Popper, "Epistemology and Industrialization", in his The Myth of the Framework , ed. M. A. Notturno (London, 1994), 185-87; Popper, "On Culture Clash", 118-21; Popper, "Prague Lecture", www.lf3.cuni.cz/aff/p2_e.html, accessed 3 June 2012. On early European intervention in Yugoslavia see Popper, After The Open Society: Selected Social and Political Writings, ed. Jeremy Shearmur and Piers Norris Turner (London, 2008), 41 1-12. 24 Popper, Open Society, vol. 2, 48. 25 For the émigrés' imperial ideals and nostalgia, see Malachi Hacohen, "Kosmopoliten in einer ethnonationalen Zeit? Juden und Österreicher in der Ersten Republik", in Das Werden der Ersten Republik. . . . der Rest ist Österreich , ed. Helmut Konrad and Wolfgang Maderthaner, 2 vols. (Vienna, 2008), vol. i, 281-316; Hacohen, "Dilemmas of Cosmopolitanism", 105-49; Claudio Magris, Der habsburgische Mythos in der modernen österreichische Literatur (1963), trans, from the Italian by Madeleine von Pásztory (Vienna, 2000). 26 Popper, Open Society , vol. 1, ch. 10; vol. 2, ch. 12; Hacohen, "Dilemmas of Cosmopolitanism", •36-39- 27 Popper, "What does the West believe in?" In Search of a Better World , 204-22; After The Open Society , esp. 231-68. 59</page><page sequence="10">Malachi Haim Hacohen of his generation, his traumas, hopes and dreams remained focused on Europe and the transatlantic world. If he bemoaned, at the end of his life, the premature ending of European colonialism, which did not permit a gradual growth of democratic traditions in the Third World, he also presaged the current rehabilitation of empire among historians and political theorists and envisioned a democratic empire.28 The globe was to become an arena for his imagined Athens, Austria and Britain: liberal democratic empires, extending citizenship to all, establishing international law, advancing towards an orderly global government. Popper presented his views on the Jewish Question as flowing from his cosmopolitanism. Jewish religion and nationality were impediments to cos- mopolitanism, he thought; hence, assimilation was a moral imperative. In fact, he got the relationship between cosmopolitanism and assimilation wrong. It was precisely the difficulties of assimilation that gave rise to cos- mopolitanism. Finding itself excluded from the nation, the Central European Jewish intelligentsia imagined cosmopolitan communities that would accept it. Cosmopolitanism became a precondition to assimilation, not, as Popper surmised, vice versa. An unbridgeable gap separated cosmopolitan dreams from reality, the Open Society from nationalizing Central Europe. The gap haunted Popper with a vengeance as he tackled the Jewish Question. Like many assimilation- ist intellectuals in Austria and Germany - and even some who remained Jewish - Popper internalized the liberal Protestant critique of Judaism.29 In stark contrast with his constructionist view of the nation, he held an essen- tialist racial vision of Jews and Jewish history. The Hebrew Bible was, he said, the fountainhead of tribal nationalism, the doctrine of the Chosen People pre- saging modern racism.30 Rabbinic Judaism had shut Jews off from the world for two millennia and the ghetto was the ultimate closed society, a "petrified form of Jewish tribalism".31 Its inhabitants lived in misery, ignorance and superstition, their separate existence evoking the suspicion and hatred of non-Jews and fuelling antisemitism. It was imperative that the ghetto's gates be opened and that enlightenment would follow. Integration into non-Jewish society was the only solution to the Jewish problem. 28 Popper, Open Society , vol. i, eh. io; vol. 2, ch. 12; Karl Popper, "Kriege fiihren fur den Frieden", Der Spiegel 13 (23 March 1992): 208; Hacohen, "Dilemmas of Cosmopolitanism", 136-39; Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, MA, 2000); Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History (Princeton, NJ, 2010). 29 The philologist and literary historian, Erich Auerbach, remained Jewish, yet shared such views: Malachi Hacohen, "Typology and the Holocaust: Erich Auerbach and Jewish European History", Religions 3 (2012): 600-45. 30 Karl Popper, "Toleration and Intellectual Responsibility", In Search of a Better World , 188-90; Popper, Open Society , vol. 1, 6-8, ch. 2, n. 3; vol. 2, 21-22. 31 Popper, Open Society , vol. 2, ch. 1 1, n. 56. 60</page><page sequence="11">Berlin and Popper between nation and empire For Popper, Zionism reaffirmed tribal bonds and was a colossal mistake. Until the last decade of his life, he rarely expressed himself in public about Zionism or the Jewish Question but he poured out his wrath on Israel in private.32 He made no distinction between cultural and political Zionism: both were misguided, the reviving of an ancient language (Hebrew) no more legitimate than colonization. An ethnonational response to antisemitism, Zionism was bound to increase hatred of the Jews and incite a new conflict with the Arabs in Palestine. Israel was a tragic error. "The status quo is the only possible policy in that maze of nations which peoples Europe and the Near East."33 Once Israel was founded, there was no way to undo the mistake and he "strongly opposed all those who sympathize with the Arab attempts to expel the [Jews]."34 Yet he remained highly critical of the Jewish state, insisting that its "racial" character give way to equal citizenship. Of all the countries benefiting from European civilization, only South Africa and Israel have racial laws that distinguish between rights of different groups of citizens. The Jews were against Hitler's racism, but theirs goes one step further. They determine Jewishness by mother alone.35 A viable Jewish diaspora could have solved Popper's quandary but, in a world threatened by the National Socialists or dominated by their memory, a secure diaspora appeared just as much a dream as cosmopolitanism. Popper was not alone among his generation to feel this way. Even George Steiner, who conceived of the cosmopolitan diaspora as the Jewish contribution to humanity, could not foresee a secure future for it and wondered whether its burden, for Jews and the rest of humanity alike, was justified.36 A separate Jewish community, however acculturated, endangered the Jews. Antisemitism was to be feared in all places and times and assimilation was the only viable response: "all people of Jewish origin [had] to do their best not to provoke [antisemitism]." The Jews, thought Popper, did the opposite. They "insisted that they were proud of their [racial origins]", "invaded politics and journalism", and drew attention to their wealth and success. Assuming leadership positions among the socialists, they contributed to the triumph of fascism.37 They ended up triggering a racial war that brought their own destruction. "It was most 32 Popper's single major treatment of the Jewish Question is in his Autobiography: Unended Quest -An Intellectual Autobiography (LaSalle, IL, 1984), sec. 21. It proved highly controversial. 33 Popper, Draft of Autobiography. 34 Ibid. 35 My interview with Popper, 26 Jan. 1984. 36 George Steiner, The Portage to San Cristóbal of A. H. (New York, 1981); George Steiner, "Our Homeland, the Text" (1985) and "Through That Glass Darkly" (1991), both in his No Passion Spent: Essays 1 978-1 9Q5 (New Haven, CT, 1996), 304-27, 328-47. 37 Popper, Draft of Autobiography. 6l</page><page sequence="12">Malachi Haim Hacohen understandable that [the Jews] who were despised for their racial origin should insist that they were proud of it. But the logic of this racial pride was, obviously, mutual contempt, and ultimately racial war."38 In his critique of Austrian Jews, Popper descended from cosmopolitanism dangerously close to the antisemitism he feared. The increasing nationaliza- tion and ethnicization of Central European politics overwhelmed his cosmo- politan dreams. Jews were not to expect the fulfillment of cosmopolitanism but to accommodate themselves to ethnonationalism. They had to disappear as Jews. They could only become cosmopolitan citizens in a Kantian Kingdom of Ends. In 1969, an editor inquired if Popper would be willing to be included in the Jewish Chronicle Yearbook . No, answered Popper, "I am of Jewish descent, but ... I abhor any form of racialism or nationalism; and I never belonged to the Jewish faith. Thus I do not see on what grounds I could possibly consider myself a Jew."39 Given his rejection of Jewish identity and his claim to have cut his ties to the Jewish community, his feeling of "shame" in his origin and of "responsibility" for the Zionists seemed odd. At points, he thought of Jewish identity as a historically contingent and subjective commitment; at other times, he treated it as an ethnic destiny. He was ambivalent about his Jewish background but the problem was not, for the most part, psychologi- cal or individual. Subjective identity was his wish but Jewish ethnicity had become a reality. "Collective identities ... are products of histories; Once labels [as 'Jew'] are applied to people, ideas about people who fit the label come to have social and psychological effects."40 Antisemitism severely restricted the contingency and subjectivity of Jewish identity. Having first given rise to Jewish cosmopolitanism by denying Jews integration, it then made cosmopolitanism a Utopian dream. The antinomies of cosmopolitanism meant that Popper did not leave much more room for the assimilated Jew than he did for the Zionist. He resolved the tensions between liberalism and nationalism by declaring nationality a dangerous fiction and nationhood of secondary importance. Jews were citi- zens of the "Open Society" but advised to keep a low profile in politics. This was unacceptable to most Cold War liberals. A number were sympathetic to the assimilationist imperative and critical of Zionism but they considered themselves both internationalists and patriots and would not forego their leading role as public intellectuals. 38 Popper, Draft of Autobiography. 39 Popper to Michael Wallach, 6 Jan. 1969, Popper Archives (313, 10). He softened his stance in later years, agreeing to be included in Herlinde Koelbl, Jüdische Portraits: Photographien und Interviews (Frankfurt-am-Main, 1989), 189-90. 40 Kwame Anthony Appiah, "Liberalism, Individuality, and Identity", Critical Inquiry 27 (2001): 326; Kwame Anthony Appiah, In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (New York, 1992), 178. 62</page><page sequence="13">Berlin and Popper between nation and empire Isaiah Berlin and Jewish national life: liberal pluralism, diaspora Zionism and the problem of dual loyalty Isaiah Berlin eased the tensions between liberalism and nationalism, Jewish identity and cosmopolitanism, diaspora and Zionism.41 He reshaped liberal- ism so that both citizenship and cosmopolitanism could accommodate Jewish nationality. His liberal pluralism gestured towards the multiculturalism that became popular in the aftermath of 1968 in Europe and the US. This is one reason that Berlin is read today more than any other Cold War liberal. Descended from the Schneersohns, the dynasty of Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidism, Berlin grew up in Riga, in an affluent, Russian- and German- speaking family. The Baltic milieu permitted no Western-style integration and the Berlin family retained, even cultivated, its Jewish identity. Berlin received a modicum of Jewish education but he found it uninspiring. The Berlins left Riga in 191 5, fearing a German attack, reached Petrograd in 191 7 in time for both revolutions, returned briefly to Riga, then the chaotic capital of independent Latvia, in 1920 and, in 1921, went to England. In London, Isaiah attended St Paul's School and then went to Corpus Christi College in Oxford. In 1932, at the age of 23, he became the first Jewish Fellow ever of All Souls College.42 Throughout his years at Corpus Christi and All Souls, both environments suffused with Christian traditions, Berlin cultivated his famous sociability, which made him acceptable in circles not commonly enamoured of Jews. Still, his attachment to his Russian-Jewish background was evident from the start. An ex-Menshevik, Solomon Rachmilevich, tutored him in the Russian classics. As a youth, Berlin walked with the future Sovietologist Leonard Schapiro the poor Jewish neighbourhoods of the East End, a world away from his affluent family. A 1928 school-prize-winning essay on "Freedom" hinted at Berlin's discomfort with his own "conformity ... a kind of manners, a sort of universal etiquette."43 He was acutely aware of his otherness at All Souls. His witty conversational style and rapid speech may have reflected, among other factors, a newcomer's survival strategy. He also cultivated the persona of the stranger, the urbane Russian cosmopolite and agnostic ethnic Jew out to subvert British provincialism, a welcomed member in Maurice Bowra's 41 The term Diaspora Zionism belongs to Arie Dubnov, "Negative Freedom as an Answer to the National Question: Young Isaiah Berlin between Zionism and Liberalism, 1934-1952", Modern Intellectual History (2007): 4: 303-26, esp. 310-1 1. 42 Michael Ignatieff, Isaiah Berlin: A Life (New York, 1998), 10-61. 43 Isaiah Berlin, "Freedom", Debater (St Paul's School) 10: 3; 1 1 : 22 (1928-29), reprinted in Isaiah Berlin, Flourishing: Letters iQ28-ig4Ô , ed. Henry Hardy (London, 2004), 634. Here and else- where in my discussion of Berlin, I am much indebted to Arie Dubnov, Isaiah Berlin: The Journey of a Jewish Liberal (New York, 2012). 63</page><page sequence="14">Malachi Haim Hacohen "immoral front". He would receive repeated assurances throughout his life that he had become Oxford's most prominent don but nothing overcame his feeling of being something of an outsider. Berlin seemed inclined to identify his discomfort as an outsider in Oxford with Jewish diasporic existence. The Zionist trope of "normalization" gave his sentiments theoretical groundings. As early as 1929, he read Lewis Namier on Zionism and the Jewish Question, and, in 1932, the two met. An émigré of Jewish origin from Austrian Galicia, Namier (né Ludwik Bernsztajn vel Niemirowski) became one of England's most renowned and influential histo- rians. He was the political secretary of the Jewish Agency in 1 929-1 931, a member of Chaim Weizmann's circle and an avowed Zionist.44 He propagated an unrefined Zionist vision of Jewish history, insisting on the psychological damage that diasporic life had inflicted on the Jews. Acculturation was no solution - it created sickly hybrids. National life in Palestine provided the sole solution.45 Berlin's 1930s Zionism was more timid than Namier's but the latter's views on Jewish authenticity struck a cord in him. The crisis of emancipation in the 1930s made affirmations of "authentic" Jewish identity against acculturation common among European Jewish com- munities. Berlin himself repeatedly poured his wrath on Jews he deemed assimilationist, especially of German vintage, using uncharacteristically strong language. He also identified with the British OstjuderC s struggle against the old liberal Jewish establishment. His essays on Jews and Israel over the years refined Namier but Namier's essentialist ethnonational vision of the Jew and his conviction that the absence of a homeland {Heimat) was deform- ing for the Jews and that national life in Palestine was the cure became Berlin's own point of departure. There was no essential contradiction, however, between Namier's "hawkish" Zionism and British imperialism.46 Prior to the 1937 Peel Commission's proposal to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, a homeland did not entail Jewish statehood. Berlin did not yet face the dilemma of conflicting British and Zionist loyalties. Berlin's hostility to Jewish assimilation remains a puzzle. His intellectual commitments in 1930s Oxford were remote from Jewish life. He was a member of the Pink Lunch Club, antifascist and antipathetic to British impe- rialism. He assailed late Victorian British idealism, especially Hegelianism, in the name of a new analytic philosophy, associated in Britain with Russell and 44 Isaiah Berlin, "L. B. Namier" (1966), in his Personal Impressions, ed. Henry Hardy, 2nd ed. (Princeton, NJ, 2001), 91-92. 45 Lewis Namier, "Zionism" (1927), in his Skyscrapers , and Other Essays (London, 1931), 128-37; Lewis Namier, "The Jews" (1 941), in his Conflicts: Studies in Contemporary History (London, 1942), 121-36. 46 Arie Dubnov, email to author, 16 January Jan. 2012; Norman Rose, Lewis Namier and Zionism (Oxford, 1980), esp. pp. 32-33. 64</page><page sequence="15">Berlin and Popper between nation and empire on the Continent with the Vienna Circle. He regarded the Enlightenment as the fountain of progress and criticized Marx, in his 1939 book, for reneging on its promise. His liberal anticommunism would speak, in the future, to uni- versal concerns. What could have made this rising star of Oxford philosophy, a paragon of British sociability, imagine himself, or feel, a maladjusted ethnic intellectual and stage himself as an opponent of assimilation? His conscious Jewish identity entailed initially no Zionist commitment but Chaim Weizmann, the foremost Zionist leader, drew him closer to Zionism. They first met in 1938-39 and spent much time together during Berlin's wartime sojourn in the US. Weizmann was, like Berlin, an acculturated anglophile Russian Jew who had found his way to the upper echelons of British society yet retained a proud Jewish identity. Berlin saw him as a model of statesmanship and Weizmann reinforced Berlin's Zionism by demon- strating the possible combination of British acculturation, Russian-Jewish identity and Zionist politics.47 Yet, Weizmann's fall from power in the Zionist World Congress in 1946 in Basle, and the Yishuv's armed uprising against Britain the same year, cooled Berlin's enthusiasm for Zionism. His support for Zionism was always contingent on it not disrupting British loy- alties. When it did, it was unclear where Berlin stood. Berlin's wartime service as a press reporter and diplomat, first in New York, then at the British Embassy in Washington, DC, presented him with conflicting British and Jewish loyalties. He found himself in the thick of US Zionist politics as it was gaining momentum, articulating, beginning in 1942, the demand for a Jewish state in Palestine. He was exposed to Zionist designs to put pressure on Britain to reverse its anti-Zionist stand and, conversely, to British designs to frustrate Zionist hopes. Whose eyes and ears was he - His Majesty's or the Jewish people's?48 He negotiated artfully and inconsistently between the two, feeling the burden of "dual loyalty". Earlier than most, he received reports about the Holocaust, yet he could not comprehend the magnitude of the destruction. Read today, his response to Victor Gollancz's appeal to push the British government to be more proac- tive in efforts to save Jews is chilling: "As a Government official, however temporary, I really cannot offer advice to how this may best be done."49 Intensely involved with Washington's "Russian circle" - scholars, journal- ists and diplomats who laid the foundations of postwar US foreign policy - 47 Isaiah Berlin, "Chaim Weizmann's Leadership" (1954), in his Power of Ideas , 186-94; Isaiah Berlin, "Chaim Weizmann" (1958), in his Personal Impressions, 34-65. 48 Isaiah Berlin, "Dispatches from Washington" (1981) and "Zionist Politics in Wartime Washington" (1972), both in his Flourishing , 654-62, 663-93; Dubnov, Isaiah Berlin , 159-77; Ignatieff, Isaiah Berlin , 103-21. 49 Isaiah Berlin to Victor Gollancz, 10 Nov. 1943, Sir Isaiah Berlin Papers, Bodleian Library, Oxford University, 1 1 1, fol. 109, quoted in Dubnov, Isaiah Berlin , 173. 65</page><page sequence="16">Malachi Haim Hacohen Berlin had no illusion about postwar Stalinist Russia. His long visit to Moscow and Leningrad in 1945-46, when he met relatives and leaders of the intelligentsia, sealed his hostility to Soviet communism. The crucial years leading to the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948 found him meditating the Middle East situation from the perspective of Cold War British interests, not Jewish ones. He came to endorse Jewish statehood only when events had already forced the break with Britain. The Jewish state radically reconfigured the options open to the Jewish Diaspora. Berlin's choice to remain a Diaspora Zionist came under attack from all sides. In a 1950 interview in the London Jewish Chronicle , the nov- elist Arthur Koestler - a Central European émigré to Britain, formerly a Zionist then a communist, then an anticommunist crusader and among the founders of the Congress for Cultural Freedom - rearticulated Namier's stark choice for the Jews: emigrate to Israel or assimilate.50 There was no room for a diaspora Jewish culture. Berlin had to respond. His 1951 essay, "Jewish Slavery and Emancipation", affirmed Zionism but argued for the possibility of Jewish life in the Diaspora. Life in the Diaspora was, however, strange - marvellous in its cultural achievements, yet miserable. Emancipation did not solve the Jewish Question and assimilation proved a pathetic failure. The diasporic Jew was sick. The Diaspora produced geniuses the way irritated oysters produced pearls. Emancipationist ideologies, proclaiming a universalist Jewish diasporic mission, were equivalent to a hunchback declaring his pride in his deformity. The achievement of Zionism was to have removed the major handicap to Jewish life by creating normal national life for the Jewish people and giving the diasporic Jew the choice of living uncomfortably among others or emi- grating to Israel.51 The eminent liberal sounded downright Romantic when speaking of nationality and nationhood, tying culture and community to land - to Heimat. Like Ahad Ha- Am, the Russian Jewish founder of cultural Zionism, he never doubted the existence of a "national character" - Jewish, Russian or English - and a primordial ethnicity was crucial in delineating it. Israel trans- formed Jewish character, he thought, but it still carried the marks of the old ethnic culture. Berlin drew attention to the Eastern European Utopian social- ist origins of the Zionist welfare state. His warm sympathy for its "other- ness", as contrasted with Western liberalism, reflected a projection of his own 50 Maurice Carr, "Arthur Koestler's Renunciation", Jewish Chronicle (5 May 1950): 15, 20. See also Arthur Koestler, Promise and Fulfilment: Palestine 1Q17-1Q47 (London, 1949), esp. 332-35, and Arthur Koestler, "Judah at the Crossroads" (1954), in his The Trail of the Dinosaur and Other Essays (London, 1955), 106-39, esP- 1 16~23&gt; where much of the 1950 interview is reproduced. 51 Isaiah Berlin, "Jewish Slavery and Emancipation" (1951), in his Power of Ideas, 162-85; Berlin, "Achievement of Zionism". 66</page><page sequence="17">Berlin and Popper between nation and empire imagined other self - the Russian Jew.52 Ever aware of the differences between Jews and non-Jews, this "Russian Jew" marvelled at the "normal" Israelis, healthy humans - not sick geniuses - free of the Diaspora's irrita- tions, flourishing in the land to which Zionism had returned them. Berlin's ethnically accented nationalism exacerbated the tensions between his liberalism and Zionism and aggravated the question of dual loyalty. In response, he moved to reconceptualize liberalism and nationalism. He sought to pluralize liberalism, citizenship and the nation state, so that they accom- modated Diaspora Zionism, and to distinguish pluralistic from monolithic nationalism, recognizing the former as compatible with liberalism, the latter as dangerous. His first step, modest and surreptitious, was to relativize the claims of citizenship and nationhood. In his most famous essay, "Two Concepts of Liberty" (1958), he declared any monolithic aim, any demand for total loyalty and any set hierarchy of putatively common values as anti- thetical to liberalism and as potentially totalitarian.53 The little noticed result was to set limits to the demands of nationhood. If the nation state wished to remain liberal, it could not demand absolute loyalty. Dual loyalty, the coex- istence of conflicting ideals and commitments, became the quintessential mark of liberalism. Cold War liberalism and Diaspora Zionism converged in Berlin's "nega- tive liberty". Throughout the early 1950s, Berlin engaged his fellow liberals Popper and the Israeli historian Jacob Talmon. He found Popper helpful in arguing against Marxist determinism and Talmon in dissecting the paradoxes of republican citizenship, exemplified in Rousseau's "we shall force him to be free".54 Berlin dwelt on the ironies of Enlightenment universalism and nationalism, originating as progressive emancipation projects and ending up in totalitarianism. The Enlightenment's Achilles heel was, he thought, its monism, the search for all-encompassing theory, manifest truth and cer- tainty, the refusal of contingency, experimentation and imperfection. "Two Concepts of Freedom" gave expression to a generational mood and, purging liberalism of potential Trojan horses, made pluralism the motto of Cold War liberalism. This represented no progress, however, in resolving Berlin's own ambiva- lence about nationalism. He regarded nationalism as dangerous but also as emancipatory and he was himself a Jewish nationalist. Like other Cold War 52 Berlin, "Origins of Israel", in his Power of Ideas , 14/1-61 . 53 Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty" (1958), in his Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford, 1969). 54 Berlin used primarily Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism (1944-45; London, 1957), and Jacob T almon, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy (London, 1 95 1 ). See Arie Dubnov, "A T ale of Trees and Crooked Timbers: Jacob Talmon and Isaiah Berlin on the Question of Jewish Nationalism", History of European Ideas 34: 2 (2008): 220-38; Malachi Hacohen, "Jacob Talmon and the Worldview of Cold War Liberalism", History of European Ideas 34: 2 (2008): 146-57. 67</page><page sequence="18">Malachi Haim Hacohen liberals, he had so far operated mostly within Enlightenment traditions, yet they were of no help with nationalism. His 1952 Bryn Mawr lectures began his exploration of the Romantics but they only hinted at his future fascina- tion with them.55 Intellectually and psychologically, he was ready for a break. In 1956, he married, ending a long bachelorhood; in 1957, he became the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at Oxford. If he were to rec- oncile the daring pluralism of his inaugural lecture, "Two Concepts of Freedom", with nationalism, he had to bid farewell to Popper, Talmon and the Enlightenment. He needed to find new intellectual resources to help him sort out nationalism, realize a rapprochement between nationalism and lib- eralism and make good on the promise of pluralism. He found them in the Counter-Enlightenment.56 In Johann Gottfried von Herder's concept of humanity, Humanität , Berlin found the balance that he eagerly sought between nationalism and cos- mopolitanism, plurality and universal humanity. Herder's "nation" was not a political but a cultural community and he despised the absolutist state. His insistence on the primacy of communal belonging, his critique of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism in the name of individuality {Individualität) and his empathy for a diversity of national cultures, expressed Berlin's sen- timents. Kant's cosmopolitanism, he thought, left no room for the Jews. Herder's multicultural world - a wonderful mosaic of ethno-linguistic com- munities native to their historical and geographic environment - could well accommodate them. Berlin overlooked Herder's ambivalence towards post- biblical Jews - a parasite, Herder called the Jews on one occasion57 - and his equivocation on Jewish emancipation58 and chose to regard it as resistance to forced assimilation. He made Herder the liberal pluralist par excellence.59 This was a surprising move. Berlin was not known for partiality to German thinkers and Herder had long been recognized as the fountainhead of German nationalism. Popper denounced Herder for his Romantic organic 55 Revised, the lectures were published as Isaiah Berlin, Political Ideas in the Romantic Age : Their Rise and Influence on Modern Thought , ed. Henry Hardy, intro. Joshua L. Cherniss (Princeton, NJ, 2006). 56 Isaiah Berlin, "The Counter-Enlightenment" (1973), in his Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas, ed. Henry Hardy (New York, 1980), 1-24; Joseph Mali and Robert Wokler, eds., Isaiah Berlin s Counter-Enlightenment (Philadelphia, PA, 2003). 57 "[E]ine parasitische Pflanze auf den Stammen andrer Nationen": Johann Gottfried Herder (1787), Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, 3rd Part, Book XII, Ch. 3, Sämmtliche Werke , ed. Bernhard Suphan, 33 vols. (Berlin, 1877-1913), vol. 14: 67. 58 Johann Gottfried Herder, "Über der Bekehrung der Juden" (1802), Adrastea IV, Sämmtliche Werke , vol. 24: 61-74. 59 Isaiah Berlin, "Herder and the Enlightenment" (1965), in his Three Critics of the Enlightenment: Vico , Hamann , Herder , ed. Henry Hardy (Princeton, NJ, 2000), 168-242. For a recent exchange on Berlin's Herder between Robert Norton and Steven Lestition, see Journal of the History of Ideas 68: 4 (2007): 635-81; 69: 2 (2008): 339-47. 68</page><page sequence="19">Berlin and Popper between nation and empire concept of the nation and, in the aftermath of the Second World War, few disagreed.60 Hans Kohn made a valiant effort to rescue Herder in The Idea of Nationalism but his book became famous precisely for the dichotomy between Western civic nationalism and Central European ethnic nationalism, which doomed Herder.61 Concomitantly with Herder's foremost English inter- preter, F. M. Barnard, Berlin led the postwar reconfiguration of Herder as a philosemitic pluralist thinker that made Herder within three decades a founding father of multiculturalism.62 Equally important, for Barnard and Berlin, Herder became a crypto-Zionist.63 Herder provided the theoretical grounding for Berlin's Diaspora Zionism. Berlin undermined the priority of the nation state to the ethno- cultural community and made nationalization, the demand for assimilation, the melting pot, appear illegitimate, a violation of the ethnolinguistic com- munity. The nation state must remain culturally pluralistic or, in contem- porary parlance, multicultural. Counterposing Herder's multiculturalism to both civic and ethnic nationalism, Berlin deprived the nation state of its emancipatory potential but he cared little. He thought that Jewish emanci- pation was a fraud. He now had a criterion for distinguishing between benevolent and dangerous nationalism. Herder's nation was perfectly com- patible with liberal pluralism but the nationalizing state was not. The exis- tence of multiple nationalities was an indisputable historical fact and their claims for protection and cultural autonomy were incontrovertible. However, irredentist nationalism and nationalization were dangerous, the source of modernity's greatest tragedies.64 Diaspora Zionism, a Herderian national culture, found its space in a pluralistic nation state and, importantly, its chief exponent was not Ahad Ha- Am, or another cultural Zionist, but a non-Jewish European thinker. Berlin could thence live, almost comfortably, as an Oxford don, a Russian Jew, a Zionist and a British citizen all at the same time. Still, significant tensions between his liberalism and Zionism remained. In the 1970s, he reformulated his theory on the origins of nationalism as the 60 Popper, Open Society, 2: 52-53. 61 Hans Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism (New York, 1944), ch. 7. 62 F. M. Barnard, Herder s Social and Political Thought: From Enlightenment to Nationalism (Oxford, 1965); Charles Taylor, "The Importance of Herder", Philosophical Arguments (Cambridge, MA, 1995), 79-99- 63 F. M. Barnard, "The Hebrews and Herder's Political Creed", Modern Language Review 54 (ï959): 533-46; F. M. Barnard, "Herder and Israel", Jewish Social Studies 28 (1966): 25-33. 64 Isaiah Berlin, "The Problem of Nationalism: A Dialogue with Stuart Hampshire, chaired by Bryan Magee" (1972), The Isaiah Berlin Virtual Library, http://berlin.wolf.ox.ac.uk/lists/ nachlass/probnati.pdf, accessed 5 June 2012; Isaiah Berlin, "Nationalism: The Melting Pot Myth" (1992), ibid., http://berlin.wolf.ox.ac.uk/lists/nachlass/bigidea.pdf, accessed 5 June 2012. 69</page><page sequence="20">Malachi Haim Hacohen "bent-twig theory".65 Nationalism arose as a response to previous oppression and humiliation: it was the rebellion of the slaves. In their liberation strug- gle, they claimed superiority to their oppressors and, having won their inde- pendence, instituted illiberal measures to guard their exclusivity and superiority. Berlin's own account of Zionism - "Jewish Slavery and Emancipation" - fitted this theory of nationalism rather than Herder's. Moreover, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, political Zionism displaced the cultural one. Zionism was now entirely about nationhood and the State of Israel and not about Herder's cultural community. Diaspora Zionism could make peace with liberalism but Israeli policies, which conformed to Berlin's outlook for nationalism and resembled European ethnonationalism, could not. Berlin did not quite overlook the similarities but he was a gentle critic. He was apprehensive about post- 1967 Israeli policies but willing to forgive much and always ready to defend the Zionist achievement - an achievement he formulated as liberation according to the bent-twig theory. Berlin's ambivalence about nationalism continued to the end.66 Berlin's Herder: the limits of multiculturalism Berlin's ethnic essentialism limited his understanding of the Central European Jewish intelligentsia. He was hostile to German Jewish intellectu- als and suspicious of Central Europe, "the terrible twisted Mitteleuropa , in which nothing is straight, simple, truthful. [A]ll human relations and all political attitudes are twisted into ghastly shapes by [intellectuals] . . . who, because they are crippled, recognize nothing pure and firm in the world!"67 German intellectual traditions reflected a distorted national character and German Jewish intellectuals exemplified both the national malaise and the trauma of failed assimilation. Berlin could not empathize with them because he had no theoretical interest in cross-cultural interaction and he was suspi- cious of efforts to transcend the ethnocultural community. He remained indifferent to the creativity unleashed by German acculturation and unim- pressed by German Jewish culture. He sought to pluralize the nation state to make room for a Jewish national culture, not to facilitate communication between Jews and non-Jews, let alone bridge their differences. 65 Isaiah Berlin, "The Bent Twig" (1972), in his The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Chapters in the History of Ideas, ed. Henry Hardy (New York, 1991), 238-61; Isaiah Berlin, "Nationalism: Past Neglect and Present Power" (1978), in his Against the Current , 333-55. 66 David Miller notices the tensions in his "Crooked Timber or Bent Twig? Isaiah Berlin's Nationalism", Political Studies 53 (2005): 100-23. 67 Berlin to Jean Floud, 8 March 1969, quoted in Ignatieff, Isaiah Berlin , 253 and Dubnov, Isaiah Berlin , 212-13. 70</page><page sequence="21">Berlin and Popper between nation and empire Berlin dismissed the foremost German Jewish philosopher, Hermann Cohen (1842-1918), for imagining "affinity between Jews and Germans" and suggesting that "their cultures developed along similar lines", the two tra- jectories converging towards cosmopolitanism. An ostrich attitude, said Berlin, of "people who choose to regard themselves as being similar to people from whom they are in fact historically different."68 To Cohen, the nation, as shaped by the modern state, transcended ethnicity and nationality ( Volksstam and Nationalität) and presaged cosmopolitanism. In his 1916 exchange on Zionism with Martin Buber, Cohen responded to criticism similar to Berlin's. Buber had no right to treat him as "pseudo-Jew", said Cohen, and to assume that Jews do not "possess a homeland among the cul- tures of other countries", for Buber was ignoring the Jewish prophets' cos- mopolitan messianism, their envisioning of the Jews as the avant-garde of the unity of mankind.69 Cohen may well have been wrong to place his hopes in the German state but Berlin's reification of ethnic differences between Germans and Jews suggest the limits of his Herderian pluralism. Berlin's turn to Herder was a defensive move in an academic world where Jewish intellectuals could still not speak out about Jewish concerns. Even Berlin did not openly draw the connection between the new pluralism and the Jewish Question.70 Prima facie, he fashioned pluralism as a response to totalitarianism alone. His reticence reflected a transatlantic pattern for Jewish liberals: they made their great advance in the US academy during the Cold War years under the banner of universal civil rights and not minority cultural rights.71 Herder, in contrast, was Berlin's protagonist for communal culture. Berlin's pluralism suggests greater continuity between Cold War liberalism and post-1968 multiculturalism than previously assumed. Yet it is also true that only the legitimization of ethnic solidarities in the aftermath of 1968 freed liberals to argue pluralism from a Jewish perspective. Nowadays, the Jewish voice runs little risk of being muffled, at least in the US and many European academies. Liberal cosmopolitanism, in contrast, encounters chal- lenges, from both right and left. This is surprising, as liberal cosmopolitanism provides a more hopeful account of global cultural exchange and has a greater stake in it than illiberal multiculturalism. In such a world, Berlin needs Popper, not Herder. 68 Berlin, "Achievement of Zionism". 69 Martin Buber, "Begriffe und Wirklichkeit, Brief an Herrn Geh. Regierungsrat Prof. Dr. Hermann Cohen", Der Jude 5 (1916): 281-89; Hermann Cohen, "Antwort auf das offene Schreiben des Herrn Dr. Martin Buber", K. -C. -Blätter 12 (1916), 683-88; Martin Buber, "Zion, der Staat und die Menschheit", Der Jude 7(1916): 425-33. 70 He did so much later in his 1979 address on receiving the Jerusalem Prize: "Three Strands in My Life", in his Personal Impressions , 255-59. 71 On this and related issues see David Hollinger, Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism (New York, 1995); Hollinger, Science, Jem, and Secular Culture. 71</page><page sequence="22">Malachi Haim Hacohen Popper's vision of cultural exchange in a cosmopolitan commonwealth becomes a useful corrective to Berlin. In acculturation, Popper saw an oppor- tunity, not a threat. The encounter with the Other, with the foreign and new, with the different and unexpected, was often uncomfortable but it was excit- ing, an opportunity to learn and expand - to change. To be sure, he did not think through the preconditions for cross-cultural exchange and was oblivi- ous to the disparities of power, which could make culture-clash less a learn- ing experience, more enforced assimilation. Yet, like scholarly criticism, cultural exchange was the sine qua non for progress. At the height of Thomas Kuhn's popularity, when his incommensurable scientific paradigms - world- views which made arbitrating evidence impossible because they spoke dif- ferent languages - were used to explain difficulties in cultural exchange, Popper insisted that paradigms were myths: communication across cultures was always possible, although not easy.72 He preferred empires to nation states because they encouraged cross-cultural interaction, the litmus test of the Open Society. The cosmopolitan commonwealth opened up closed com- munities and loosened ethnocultural identities. To Berlin's Herderian mosaic of closed ethnic cultures, Popper counterposed a dynamic Open Society, a liberal cosmopolitan alternative. Popper's cosmopolitanism could force Berlin (or his biographers) to give an account of his Jewishness and Russianness more compatible with the expe- rience of the Cold War generation - and his own life. The Cold War liberals make no sense as spokespeople for national cultures. Precisely Berlin's journey through multiple European cultures, his Russian-Latvian-German- Jewish childhood, British education and British-Jewish life, Oxford social- ization and multiple international engagements shaped his world. If he could somehow imagine his solidarity with the Jewish Diaspora and Zionism as ethnic, his Russianness was completely a cultural construct. It was a claim to membership in Belinsky's "community of readers of Russian literature", which Berlin imagined stretching beyond ethnic and territorial borders: "Russian literature became my homeland."73 Moreover, his attachment to Russian culture, re-imagined in exile, and his Jewish ethnic belonging need to be considered in the context of his remarkable Oxford integration and international career. There was nothing indigenous about his Russianness or Jewishness. Herderian multiculturalism could not make such a life possible and Berlin found Herder's world unlivable. The counter-enlightenment anti- cosmopolitan was an Enlightenment cosmopolitan par excellence . 72 Popper, "Myth of the Framework", 33-64. 73 Berlin is paraphrasing Vladimir Korolenko: Russian Thinkers , ed. Henry Hardy and Aileen Kelley, 2nd ed. (London, 2008), 179. Světlana Boym describes Belinsky's intelligentsia as a "community of readers of Russian literature": Common Places: Mythologies of Everyday Life in Russia (Cambridge, MA, 1994), 103. 1 am indebted to conversations with Boym (email of 8 Oct. 2009) and Arie Dubnov (email of 4 Oct. 2009). 72</page><page sequence="23">Berlin and Popper between nation and empire Berlin's Herder exposes the limits of the postwar liberal understanding of interaction across cultures. The Cold War liberals did not always compre- hend their own making as an international intelligentsia, their own cultural hybridity. This should not come as a surprise: there could be little apprecia- tion for hybridity in a world that made a mockery of emancipation-era hopes for Jewish-Christian relations and exposed German Jewish syntheses, such as Hermann Cohen's, as delusions. No less than Berlin, Popper thought of Jewish culture in ethnic terms and of Jewish ethnicity as primordial. Berlin protected Jewish ethnicity against the nationalizing state, imagining (with Herder) a mosaic of cultures; Popper imagined the cosmopolitan empire dis- solving ethnicity. Neither envisioned a commonwealth emerging from the cultural exchange between Jews and non-Jews. The expanded opportunities for Jewish life and culture throughout the Western hemisphere, and beyond, in the recent decades have coincided with the emergence of historical narratives emphasizing Jewish-Christian cultural exchange and shared urbanity, the hybridity of Jewish cultures, the con- structed character of Jewish ethnicity and the viability of diaspora. Berlin's Herder becomes irrelevant in such a world and Popper draws an attractive cosmopolitan vision but little instruction on how we may get there. It is a world Berlin and Popper could not have foreseen in the interwar and early postwar years but one that they began enjoying late in their life and, I think, one they would have been eager to protect and advance today. Conclusion The Jewish Question loomed behind Berlin's liberal pluralism. Cold War lib- erals had difficulty reconciling their Jewishness with their cosmopolitanism because the triumph of ethnonationalism left no space for the Jewish Diaspora. The European nation-state paradigm was so powerful that they overlooked the multicultural and multiethnic setting of the North American Jewish Diaspora, which became, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, the largest Jewish commu- nity in the world. US Jews had had, since Justice Brandeis, their own "Diaspora Zionism" and, in Horace Kallen, they found a Zionist theoretician of multiculturalism avant la lettre. Berlin was familiar with American Zionism from his wartime Washington sojourn but he seemed to care little for or about it. Like other Cold War liberals, he could not imagine that, in the long run, the North American Diaspora would prove any different from Europe. "It cannot happen in Scarsdale [?] I am not sure, not completely", said George Steiner as late as 1965. "America is no more immune than any other nationalistic, pro- fessedly Christian society from the contagion of anti-Semitism."74 74 George Steiner, "A Kind of Survivor", in his George Steiner : A Reader (New York, 1984), 225, 224, respectively. 73</page><page sequence="24">Malachi Haim Hacohen The Cold War liberals combated European cultural prejudices against the US but, paradoxically, they shared many prejudices about European cultural superiority. This made it easier for them to overlook American Zionism and disregard the US as an alternative political model. Berlin, who was a saga- cious advisor on US-British relations, confessed to have little interest in American history and to have never read the Federalist Papers.75 He lived to see the Jews becoming a US success story, model U.S. immigrants, symbol of national ideals and proof of their viability but the US failed to register in his political theory. Recent decades have created a radically different environment from the postwar era: a thriving and confident US Jewish community, a new European Jewish intelligentsia, conscious of its ethnicity yet well integrated, wide aca- demic recognition of multiple global diasporas, a European Union (EU) that, for a while, seemed to move towards integrating the nation states and, again for a while, a diminishing existential threat to Israel. Throughout the 1990s and into the first decade of this century, the European nation state appeared diminished, multiculturalism successful, diaspora normal and a Jewish intel- ligentsia openly critical of Israel was - and is - a matter of course. It became easy, for a while, to be critical of Berlin, Popper and the Cold War liberals and dismissive of their dilemmas. Recent reversals for the EU and multicultur- alism and the prospect of a nuclear Middle East may alert us to the contin- gency, peculiarity and fragility of the present. Measured against two millennia of no good options for Jewish life, the choice Jews presently have between viable national and diasporic life is nothing short of extraordinary. It is not clear how long it will remain open. Berlin's and Popper's dilemmas may yet come back to haunt us in new guises. Responding to the Holocaust and Israel, Berlin signalled a major change in the European Jewish intelligentsia. He identified himself as Jewish, pro- moting, however surreptitiously, a Jewish agenda and recognizing a stake in the Zionist project, and he became the leading liberal thinker of his age. Popper, adhering to earlier anti-Zionist and cosmopolitan percepts, formed a vision of a democratic empire that the postnational age has made look espe- cially attractive. Berlin inherited the European nation state and the problem of dual loyalty, and negotiated creatively among Jewish nationalism, British citizenship and cosmopolitan ideals, while Popper disposed of nationalism and subjected the state to international law. Their negotiations produced the most innovative liberal thinking of the Second World War and the postwar era - liberal pluralism and liberal cosmopolitanism. To have a future, they must remain in dialogue. 75 Berlin's interview with Jack Rakove of Stanford University, reported 1 1 Nov. 1997 in http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&amp;list=h-oieahc&amp;month=97ii&amp;week =b&amp;msg=DNPY7Ciccho3PMOQlFWg6w&amp;user=&amp;pw=, accessed 7 June 2012. 74</page></plain_text>