Last week I read Judith Butler's piece in the London reviewon Hannah Arendt's Jewish Writings, which had some very interesting points to make and made me want to pick up the new collection:
In her critique of Fascism as well as in her scepticism towards Zionism, she clearly opposes those disparate forms of the nation-state that rely on nationalism and create massive statelessness and destitution. Paradoxically, and perhaps shrewdly, the terms in which Arendt criticised Fascism came to inform her criticisms of Zionism, though she did not and would not conflate the two.
She stated the matter quite clearly in The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951. Statelessness was not a Jewish problem, but a recurrent 20th-century predicament of the nation-state. What happened to the Jewish people under Hitler should not be seen as exceptional but as exemplary of a certain way of managing minority populations; hence, the reduction of 'German Jews to a non-recognised minority in Germany', the subsequent expulsions of the Jews as 'stateless people across the borders', and the gathering of them 'back from everywhere in order to ship them to extermination camps was an eloquent demonstration to the rest of the world how really to "liquidate" all problems concerning minorities and the stateless'. Thus, she continues,after the war it turned out that the Jewish question, which was considered the only insoluble one, was indeed solved -- namely, by means of a colonised and then conquered territory -- but this solved neither the problem of the minorities nor the stateless. On the contrary, like virtually all other events of the 20th century, the solution of the Jewish question merely produced a new category of refugees, the Arabs, thereby increasing the number of stateless and rightless by another 700,000 to 800,000 people. And what happened in Palestine within the smallest territory and in terms of hundreds of thousands was then repeated in India on a large scale involving many millions of people.