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Yoram Hazony: The Virtue of Nationalism

On the 26th of March, The Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade, together with the Danube Institute and the Mathias Corvinus Collegium, welcomed Yoram Hazony, president of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem at a roundtable discussion with John O’Sullivan, president of the Danube Institute. The event was moderated by Máté Szalai, senior researcher at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The conversation focused on the main arguments laid down by Dr. Hazony in his book entitled “The Virtue of Nationalism”, which won the Conservative Book of the Year award for 2019.


After a warm welcoming speech from Mr. Márton Ugrósdy, Director of IFAT, Dr. Hazony delivered his speech touching upon changes in the international political order which challenge the contemporary liberal order. He highlighted the importance of national independence by pointing out that each nation has its own identity, history, culture, religion, and visions, therefore it is hardly imaginable to create a single legal system for all nations without oppression. According to his opinion, it is an empire or an imperial order which wants to unite nations, which aims to be strong enough and has sufficient force to bring and maintain peace. He also highlighted the concept of “tolerance”, which he claimed that is inversely proportional to the liberal international order, by stating that nations need to be willing to limit themselves to the thinking that “my way is the best, but you can do it your way”. Later in his speech, he addressed his points of view on why the current world order is not stable and its position is challenged by the change in core elements that had kept nations, especially the West, to cooperate like back in 1945 or 1989.

Mr. O'Sullivan joined the discussion by addressing the importance of different religious backgrounds in world politics. He stated that religion influences the perception of peoples about themselves and about international issues greatly. The second point he brought up was about migration, saying that nations do not want unlimited immigration as it can endanger or disrupt their national harmony. He also addressed his concerns regarding the European Union as a regional group and its future. Since democracy is hard to manage because of the lack of tolerance, he suggested that either the EU should find a new way to accommodate nations or it can easily destabilize itself.

The panel discussion moved on with the Q&A sections where both speakers had chances to elaborate their opinions to address the audience's questions. Questions addressed various issues from the borderless world or the position of China in the global system to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict or the Catalonia-Spain issue. Although the two speakers shared common views on certain problems, they also have different opinions, for example, regarding the role of Germany in the future of the EU.

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