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This chapter examines the impact of the fusion between religious claims and nationalism on state policies – domestically, regionally, and internationally. It offers a comparative perspective on the extent to which religious claims bestow sacredness on the state’s workings of power – or what we define as sacralized politics. The chapter analyzes how, through hegemonic nationalism, states invoke religious claims to legitimize political and national strategic goals in domestic and international politics. To trace the matrix of power that sacralization of politics mobilizes, and when looking comparatively at various case studies, the chapter points to three main (among other) modes of sacralization’s profound impact on politics. The first operates through managing consciousness, including the construction of self-identity in relation to others; the second, through territoriality and the politics of land claims; and the third via political governance, using violence and a necropolitical regime of control. While each mode can operate separately, all operate through mutual reinforcement and each with elements of sacredness, resulting in an emergent power structure that is self-sustaining, religiously infused, and resistant to change.
This chapter examines how nationalism, religious claims, and settler colonialism enmesh within Zionism and demonstrates how their interaction played a major role for Israeli academia and politics in sidelining or obfuscating settler colonialism as an appropriate frame of analysis for Zionism’s encounter with the Palestinians. The chapter makes three main arguments: first, that while settler colonialism is an obvious framework for analyzing and understanding the unfolding of the Zionist project in Palestine, the framework has been obscured by highlighting the connection between Jewish nationalism and religious claims; second, that the steady rise in religious encroachment into institutions and the public sphere in Israel is rooted in the need for legitimation (grounded in religious claims) in face of rising Palestinian resistance to the expansion of the settler-colonial project from Israel to the West Bank; and third, that while secularization was possible in other settler-colonial contexts such as South Africa, Northern Ireland, and North America, it is impossible to achieve secularization within a Zionist regime. Rather, for secularization and democratization to take place, Israel has to recognize the settler-colonial reality of the Zionist project, a recognition that will make it possible to free Israeli Jewish nationalism from religionism and work toward decolonization.
Over the years, there have been increasing intersections between religious claims and nationalism and their power to frame and govern world politics. When Politics Are Sacralized interdisciplinarily and comparatively examines the fusion between religious claims and nationalism and studies its political manifestations. State and world politics, when determined or framed by nationalism fused with religious claims, can provoke protracted conflict, infuse explicit religious beliefs into politics, and legitimize violence against racialized groups. This volume investigates how, through hegemonic nationalism, states invoke religious claims in domestic and international politics, sacralizing the political. Studying Israel, India, the Palestinian National Movement and Hamas, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Iran, and Northern Ireland, the thirteen chapters engage with the visibility, performativity, role, and political legitimation of religion and nationalism. The authors analyze how and why sacralization affects political behaviors apparent in national and international politics, produces state-sponsored violence, and shapes conflict.