An unlikely alliance: The 1907 Ukrainian-Jewish electoral coalition

Joshua Shanes*, Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper contextualises a political alliance between Ukrainian and Jewish national activists in Austrian Galicia during the 1907 parliamentary elections, Austria's first elections with universal manhood suffrage. This alliance represented a milestone in the making of a new paradigm of Ukrainian-Jewish relations. Ironically, the Ukrainian and Jewish nationalists, portrayed elsewhere as staunch enemies, were uniquely able to overcome the profound social, religious, political, and cultural barriers separating the two communities. Ukrainian nationalists recognised the potential of a nationalised Jewish community to undermine Polish hegemony in Galicia, while some Zionists saw the potential to elect Jewish parliamentary representatives in rural Ukrainian districts where Poles and Jews competed for the districts' second mandate. The alliance mobilised the Ukrainian and Jewish electorate around shared slogans and goals. It was a qualified success, leading to a more powerful national Ukrainian faction as well as the first Zionist faction in any European parliament. Although the two sides failed to repeat the alliance in the subsequent elections in 1911, the coalition sparked a new sense of history for both communities. It created a pro-Ukrainian discourse in Jewish politics, and a pro-Zionist one in Ukrainian politics. The alliance also exposes Zionism as a response to the European-wide nationalist revivalism rather than a reaction to rampant turn-of-the-century racial anti-Semitism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-505
Number of pages23
JournalNations and Nationalism
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009

Keywords

  • Eastern Europe
  • Jews
  • Poles
  • Ukrainians
  • Zionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations

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