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Title: An intellectual biography of Abba Ahimeir
Author: Bergamin, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 9449
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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My thesis focuses on the ideological development of the Maximalist Revisionist Zionist leader Abba Ahimeir, and positions him more accurately within the contexts of the Zionist Right, the period of his political activity, and the Zionist movement in general. Through an examination of his doctoral thesis on Oswald Spengler and first publications, I conclude that Spenglerian theory exerted a fundamental influence upon Ahimeir throughout his entire life, and that his embrace of Fascist ideology began six years earlier than is generally accepted. I thus contend that Ahimeir's ideological path was already set in 1924, far earlier than is generally believed. A survey of his journalistic output, while a member of the moderately socialist party HaPoel HaTzair, shows that Ahimeir's apparent shift from Left to Right was not the radical defection that it is currently considered to be. A study of primary source archival material allows me to demonstrate that as a leader of the Revisionist Youth Group Betar and instructor in its Leadership Training School, Ahimeir's ideological influence upon Revisionist youth was far greater than is commonly accepted. A discussion of more general intellectual-historical concepts - Spenglerian-, Fascist-, and Revolutionary- theory, Jewish Völkisch-nationalism, secular Messianism - allows me to re-weight certain ideological outlooks in the current body of research regarding Ahimeir, the Revisionist Party, and the Zionist Left. Notably, I suggest we view Ahimeir as a 'Revolutionary' who used Fascism merely as a modus operandi in the service of his revolution. This particularistic ideological outlook was exemplified in his semi-clandestine, anti-British resistance group Brit HaBiryonim, as a thorough examination of court documents from the group's trial demonstrates. The study provides the first intellectual biography of one of the most influential figures on the Zionist Right, and rights some historical wrongs that exist within Revisionist- and Labour-Zionist myths, and indeed, Israeli collective memory.
Supervisor: Penslar, Derek J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Revisionist Zionists--Biography ; Revisionist Zionism--Israel--History ; Israel--History ; Israel--Politics and government