Tamir, Rawls, and the Temple Mount
Journal of Applied Philosophy
What gives ethical and political validity to a state? This is to ask what a state is for and to provide a means to determine whether or not a constitution is just. In this paper I compare the account given by Tamir in Liberal Nationalism with that of Rawls, in order to clarify the decisive differences. Although both recognize the importance of particular associations and the moral imperative to be fair, Tamir places priority on the first and Rawls on the second. I explore their practical implications in regard to the ethical defensibility of Israel’s selfidentification as a Jewish state and to conflicting nationalistic territorial claims for the Temple Mount (Haram esh-Sharif) in Jerusalem. I suggest that if Tamir is correct in her analysis of nationalism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a problem that is without the sort of solution that is sought by those who are both interested parties and rational agents of good will.