Since the founding of the State of Israel, the term Zionism is generally considered to mean support for Israel. However, a variety of different, and sometimes competing, ideologies that support Israel fit under the general category of Zionism, such as Religious Zionism, Revisionist Zionism, and Labor Zionism. Thus, the term is also sometimes used to refer specifically to the programs of these ideologies, such as efforts to encourage Jewish emigration to Israel. The term Zionism is also sometimes used retroactively to describe the millennia-old Biblical connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, which existed long before the birth of the modern Zionist movement. In some cases, the label "Zionist" is also used improperly as a euphemism for Jews in general by those wishing to whitewash anti-Semitism (as in the Polish anti-Zionist campaign).
1 Establishment of the Zionist movement
2 Zionist initiatives
3 Jewish reaction to Zionism
4 Zionism and the Arab Muslims and Arab Christians
5 The struggle for Palestine
6 Zionism and Israel
7 Anti-Zionism and post-Zionism
8 Non-Jewish Zionism
8.1 International support of Zionism
8.2 Christian Zionism
8.3 Secular left-wing Zionism
10 See also
10.1 Types of Zionism
10.2 Zionist institutions and organization
10.3 History of Zionism and Israel
11 Further reading
12 External links
12.1 Jewish denominations' view of Zionism
Establishment of the Zionist movement
The desire of Jews to return to their ancestral homeland has remained a universal Jewish theme ever since the defeat of the Great Jewish Revolt, and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman Empire in the year 70, the defeat of Bar Kochba's revolt in 135, and the dispersal of the Jews to other parts of the Empire that followed, although during the Hellenistic Age many Jews had decided to leave Palestine to live in other parts of the of Mediterranean basin by their own free will  (famous figures who are the result of these migrations are for example Philo of Alexandria). Due to the disastrous results of the revolt, what was once a human driven movement towards regaining national sovereignty based on religious inspiration, over centuries tradition and broken hopes of one "false messiah" after another took much of the human element out of messianic deliverance and put it all in the hands of God. Although Jewish nationalism in ancient times had always taken on religious connotations, from the Maccabean Revolt to the various Jewish revolts during Roman rule, and even during the Medieval period when intermittently national hopes were incarnated in the "false messianism" of Shabbatai Zvi, among other less known messianists, it was not until the rise of ideological and political Zionism and its renewed belief in human based action toward Jewish national aspirations, did the notion of returning to the homeland become widespread among the Jewish people.
Jews lived continuously in the Land of Israel even after the Bar Kochba revolt, and indeed there is much historical documentation to show vibrant communities there. For example, the Palestinian Talmud was created in the centuries following that revolt. The inventor of Hebrew vowel-signs in the 5th century lived in a vibrant Jewish community in Palestine; and so forth. The slow and gradual decline of the Palestinian Jews occurred across a period of several centuries, and can be attributed to Hadrian's crushing of Bar Kochba's revolt, the Arab conquest of Palestine in the 600's, the Crusader wars in the 11th century and beyond, and the inefficiencies of the Ottoman empire from the 15th century on, by which time the land had greatly decreased in fertility and its economy was virtually nil. Despite this, several Zionist movements over the centuries saw the revival of particular Jewish communities, such as the middle-ages community of Safed which was bolstered by so many Jews fleeing the persecution following the Christian Reconquista of Al-Andalus, the Muslim name of the Iberian peninsula. In Portugal, they were expelled by Manuel I or forced to convert to Christianity — creating the Marrano Jews, from which Spinoza came — while the Inquisition imposed the limpieza de sangre doctrine, breaking away with the Caliph of Córdoba's tolerance.
The Haskala of Jews in European countries in the 18th and 19th centuries following the French Revolution, and the spread of western liberal ideas among a section of newly emancipated Jews, created for the first time a class of secular Jews, who absorbed the prevailing ideas of rationalism, romanticism and, most importantly, nationalism. Jews who had abandoned Judaism, at least in its traditional forms, began to develop a new Jewish identity, as a "nation" in the European sense. They were inspired by various national struggles, such as those for German and Italian unification, and for Polish and Hungarian independence. If Italians and Poles were entitled to a homeland, they asked, why were Jews not so entitled?
A precursor to the Zionist movement of the later 1800s occurred with the 1820 attempt by journalist, playwright and American-born diplomat Mordecai Manuel Noah to establish a Jewish homeland on Grand Island, New York, (north of Buffalo, New York, USA). Noah called it "Ararat" after Mount Ararat, the Biblical resting place of Noah's Ark.
Before the 1890s there had already been attempts to settle Jews in Palestine, which was in the 19th century a part of the Ottoman Empire, inhabited (in 1890) by about 520,000 people, mostly Muslim and Christian Arabs but including 20-25,000 Jews. Pogroms in Russia led Jewish philanthropists such as the Montefiores and the Rothschilds to sponsor agricultural settlements for Russian Jews in Palestine in the late 1870s, culminating in a small group of immigrants from Russia arriving in the country in 1882. This has become known in Zionist history as the First Aliyah (aliyah is a Hebrew word meaning "ascent," referring to the act of spiritually "ascending" to the Holy Land. In modern Hebrew, this word is used in place of an equivalent to "immigration.").
Proto-Zionist groups such as Hibbat Zion were active in the 1880s in the Eastern Europe where emancipation had not occurred to the extent it did in Western Europe (or at all). The massive anti-Jewish pogroms following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II made emancipation seem farther than ever and influenced Judah Leib Pinsker to publish the pamphlet Auto-Emancipation in January 1, 1882. The pamphlet became influential for the Political Zionism movement.
There had also been several Jewish thinkers such as Moses Hess, a comrade of Karl Marx, whose 1862 work Rome and Jerusalem; The Last National Question argued for the Jews to settle in Palestine as a means of settling the national question. Hess proposed a socialist state in which the Jews would become agrarianised through a process of "redemption of the soil" which would transform the Jewish community into a true nation in that Jews would occupy the productive layers of society rather than being an intermediary non-productive merchant class which is how he perceived European Jews. Hess, along with later thinkers such as Nahum Syrkin and Ber Borochov, is considered a founder of Socialist Zionism and Labour Zionism and one of the intellectual forebears of the kibbutz movement.
The first aliyah: Biluim used to wear the traditional Arab headdress, the kaffiyehAmerican evangelical Christian Zionists such as William Eugene Blackstone also pursued the Zionist ideal during late 19th century, especially in the American Blackstone Memorial (1891).
A key event said to trigger the modern Zionist movement was the Dreyfus Affair, which erupted in France in 1894. Jews were profoundly shocked to see this outbreak of anti-Semitism in a country which they thought of as the home of enlightenment and liberty. Among those who witnessed the Affair was an Austrian-Jewish journalist, Theodor Herzl, who published his pamphlet Der Judenstaat ("The Jewish State") in 1896 and described the Affair as a turning point -- prior to the Affair, Herzl had been anti-Zionist, afterwards he became ardently pro-Zionist. Herzl's own account has since been downplayed by historians, who instead point to the rise of anti-Semitic demagogue Karl Lueger as the primary motivating factor. In 1897 Herzl organised the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, which founded the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) and elected Herzl as its first President.
1892 issue of Self Emancipation describing the principles of ZionismThe word "Zionism" itself derived from the word "Zion" (Hebrew: ציון, Tziyyon), one of the names of Jerusalem, as mentioned in the Bible. It was coined as a term for Jewish nationalism by Austrian Jewish publisher Nathan Birnbaum in his journal Self Emancipation in 1890.
While Zionism is based heavily upon religious tradition linking the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, the modern movement was originally secular, beginning largely as a response to rampant antisemitism in late 19th century Europe. It was the Jewish answer to the Eastern European, mainly Russian Pogroms.
In 1883, Nathan Birnbaum, nineteen years old, founded Kadimah, the first Jewish Students Association in Vienna. In 1884 the first issue of Selbstemanzipation or Self Emancipation appeared, completely made by Nathan Birnbaum himself. Kadimah was the first Jewish nationalist orientated organisation; in 1890 he coined the term Zionist and Zionism.
In 1878 the first Zionist Settlement appeared Petah Tikva, inhabited by former residents of Jerusalem hoping to escape the cramped quarters of Jerusalem's walls.
Rishon LeZion was founded on 31 July 1882 by a group of 10 members of the Zionist group Hovevei Zion from Kharkov, in modern Ukraine. Led by Zalman David Levontin, they purchased 835 acres (3.4 km²) of land south-east of present-day Tel Aviv for this purpose near an Arab village named Uyun Qara. Along with Petah Tikva, it is considered the first Zionist settlement in Israel and its founders were members of the First Aliyah. The land was owned by Tzvi Leventine and was purchased by the "Pioneers of Jewish Settlement Committee" that was formed in Jaffa, the port of arrival for many of the immigrants to the area.
Theodor Herzl (May 2, 1860 – July 3, 1904) was an Austrian Jewish journalist who became the founder of modern political Zionism. In 1897, he founded Die Welt of Vienna. Then he planned the first Zionist Congress in Basel, together with Nathan Birnbaum. During the congress, the following agreement was reached:
Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Eretz-Israel secured under public law. The Congress contemplates the following means to the attainment of this end:
The promotion by appropriate means of the settlement in Eretz-Israel of Jewish farmers, artisans, and manufacturers.
The organization and uniting of the whole of Jewry by means of appropriate institutions, both local and international, in accordance with the laws of each country.
The strengthening and fostering of Jewish national sentiment and national consciousness.
Preparatory steps toward obtaining the consent of governments, where necessary, in order to reach the goals of Zionism.
After the first Zionist Congress, the first four years they met every year, later they gathered every second year till the Second World War. After the war the Congress met every four years until present time.
The WZO's initial strategy was to obtain permission of the Ottoman Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid II to allow systematic Jewish settlement in Palestine. The good offices of the German Emperor, Wilhelm II, were sought, but nothing came of this. Instead the WZO pursued a strategy of building a homeland through persistent small-scale immigration, and the founding of such bodies as the Jewish National Fund in 1901 and the Anglo-Palestine Bank in 1903.
Theodor Herzl addresses the Second Zionist Congress in 1898.Before 1917 some Zionist leaders took seriously proposals for Jewish homelands in places other than Palestine. Herzl's Der Judenstaat argued for a Jewish state in either Palestine, "our ever-memorable historic home", or Argentina, "one of the most fertile countries in the world". In 1903 British cabinet ministers suggested the British Uganda Program, land for a Jewish state in "Uganda" (actually in modern Kenya). Herzl initially rejected the idea, preferring Palestine, but after the April 1903 Kishinev pogrom Herzl introduced a controversial proposal to the Sixth Zionist Congress to investigate the offer as a temporary measure for Russian Jews in danger. Notwithstanding its emergency and temporary nature, the proposal still proved very divisive, and widespread opposition to the plan was fueled by a walkout led by the Russian Jewish delegation to the Congress. Nevertheless, a majority voted to establish a committee for the investigation of the possibility, and it was not dismissed until the 7th Zionist Congress in 1905.
In response to this, the Jewish Territorialist Organization led by Israel Zangwill split off from the main Zionist movement. The territorialists attempted to establish a Jewish homeland wherever possible, but went into decline after 1917 and were dissolved in 1925. From that time Palestine was the sole focus of Zionist aspirations. Few Jews took seriously the establishment by the Soviet Union of a Jewish Autonomous Republic in the Russian Far East.
One of the major motivations for Zionism was the belief that the Jews needed to return to their historic homeland, not just as a refuge from anti-Semitism, but also to govern themselves as an independent nation. Some Zionists, mainly socialist Zionists, believed that the Jews' centuries of being oppressed in anti-Semitic societies had reduced Jews to a meek, vulnerable, despairing existence which invited further anti-Semitism. They argued that Jews should redeem themselves from their history by becoming farmers, workers, and soldiers in a country of their own. These socialist Zionists generally rejected religion as perpetuating a "Diaspora mentality" among the Jewish people.
One such Zionist ideologue, Ber Borochov, continuing from the work of Moses Hess, proposed the creation of a socialist society that would correct the "inverted pyramid," of Jewish society. Borochov believed that Jews were forced out of normal occupations by gentile hostility and competition, explaining why there was a relative predominance of Jewish professionals, rather than workers. Jewish society would not be healthy until the inverted pyramid was righted, and the majority of Jews became workers and peasants again. This could only be accomplished by Jews in their own country. Another, A. D. Gordon, was influenced by the völkisch ideas of European romantic nationalism, and proposed establishing a society of Jewish peasants. Gordon made a religion of work. These two thinkers, and others like them, motivated the establishment of the first Jewish collective settlement, or kibbutz, Deganiah, on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee, in 1909 (the same year that the city of Tel Aviv was established). Deganiah, and many other kibbutzim that were soon to follow, attempted to realise these thinkers' vision by creating a communal villages, where newly arrived European Jews would be taught agriculture and other manual skills.
Degania was the first kibbutz, the unique communal villages that were a key feature of socialist Zionism. Picture from the 1930s.Another aspect of this strategy was the revival and fostering of an "indigenous" Jewish culture and the Hebrew language. One early Zionist thinker, Asher Ginsberg, better known by his penname Ahad Ha'am ("One of the People") rejected what he regarded as the over-emphasis of political Zionism on statehood, at the expense of the revival of Hebrew culture. Ahad Ha'am recognised that the effort to achieve independence in Palestine would bring Jews into conflict with the native Palestinian Arab population, as well as with the Ottomans and European colonial powers then eying the country. Instead, he proposed that the emphasis of the Zionist movement shift to efforts to revive the Hebrew language and create a new culture, free from Diaspora influences, that would unite Jews and serve as a common denominator between diverse Jewish communities once independence was achieved.
The most prominent follower of this idea was Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, a linguist intent on reviving Hebrew as a spoken language among Jews (see History of the Hebrew language). Most European Jews in the 19th century spoke Yiddish, a language based on mediaeval German, but as of the 1880s, Ben Yehudah and his supporters began promoting the use and teaching of a modernised form of biblical Hebrew, which had not been a living language for nearly 2,000 years. Despite Herzl's efforts to have German proclaimed the official language of the Zionist movement, the use of Hebrew was adopted as official policy by Zionist organisations in Palestine, and served as an important unifying force among the Jewish settlers, many of whom also took new Hebrew names.
Tel Aviv, its name taken from a work by Theodor Herzl, was founded by Zionists on empty dunes north of the existing city of Jaffa. This photograph is of the auction of the first lots in 1909.The development of the first Hebrew-speaking city (Tel Aviv), the kibbutz movement, and other Jewish economic institutions, plus the use of Hebrew, began by the 1920s to lay the foundations of a new nationality, which would come into formal existence in 1948. Meanwhile, other cultural Zionists attempted to create new Jewish artforms, including graphic arts. (Boris Schatz, a Bulgarian artist, founded the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem in 1906.) Others, such as dancer and artist Baruch Agadati, fostered popular festivals such as the Adloyada carnival on Purim.
The Zionist leaders always saw Britain as a key potential ally in the struggle for a Jewish homeland. Not only was Britain the world's greatest imperial power; it was also a country where Jews lived in peace and security, among them influential political and cultural leaders, such as Benjamin Disraeli and Walter, Lord Rothschild. There was also a peculiar streak of philo-Semitism among the classically educated British elite to which the Zionist leaders hoped to appeal, just as the Greek independence movement had appealed to British phil-Hellenism during the Greek War of Independence. Chaim Weizmann, who became the leader of the Zionist movement after Herzl's death in 1904, was a professor at a British university, and used his extensive contacts to lobby the British government for a statement in support of Zionist aspirations.
This hope was realised in 1917, when the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, made his famous Declaration in favour of "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people". Balfour was motivated partly by philo-Semitic sentiment, partly by a desire to weaken the Ottoman Empire (an ally of Germany during the First World War), and partly by a desire to strengthen support for the Allied cause in the United States, home to the world's most influental Jewish community. In the Declaration, however, Balfour was careful to use the word "home" rather than "state," and also to specify that its establishment must not "prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine."
Jewish reaction to Zionism
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Support for the Zionist movement was not initially a mainstream position in the world Jewish community, and it was actively opposed by many Jewish organizations. While traditional Jewish belief held that Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) was given to the ancient Israelites by God, and that therefore the right of the Jews to that land was permanent and inalienable, most Orthodox groups held that the Messiah must appear before Israel could return to Jewish control, and Reform Judaism (prior to the Holocaust) explicitly rejected Zionism. Still, return to the Land of Israel had remained a recurring theme among generations of diaspora Jews, particularly in Passover and Yom Kippur prayers which traditionally concluded with, "Next year in Jerusalem", and the thrice-daily Amidah (Standing prayer). 
Aliyah, or emigration to Israel, has always been considered by Judaism to be a praiseworthy and mandatory act for Jews according to halakha. Aliyah is included in most versions of the 613 commandments, although not in the widely used version of Maimonides. Maimonides' other writings, however, indicate that he considered return to the Land of Israel a matter of extreme importance for Jews. 
From the Middle Ages and onwards a number of prominent Jews (e.g. Nahmanides) and groups (including the students of the Vilna Gaon, and Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk and 300 of his followers) emigrated to Israel.
Many Jewish religious leaders were opposed to Zionism before the 1930s. The secular, socialist language used by many pioneer Zionists was contrary to the outlook of most religious Jewish communities, and many religious organisations opposed it, both on the grounds that it was a secular movement, and on the grounds that any attempt to re-establish Jewish rule in Israel by human agency was blasphemous, since (in their view) only the Messiah could accomplish this. There was, however, a small but vocal group of religious Jews that began to develop the concept of Religious Zionism in the 1920s and 1930s under such leaders as Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (the Chief Rabbi of Palestine) and his son Zevi Judah, and gained substantial following during the latter half of the 20th century. Only the desperate circumstances of the 1930s and 1940s converted most (though not all) of these communities to Zionism.
Poster from the Zionist Tarbut schools of Poland in the 1930s. Zionist parties were very active in Polish politics. In the 1922 Polish elections, Zionists held twenty-four seats of a total of thirty-five Jewish parliament members.Secular Jewish opinion was also ambivalent in its attitudes to Zionism. Many argued that Jews should join with other progressive forces in bringing about changes which would eradicate anti-Semitism and make it possible for Jews to live in safety in the various countries where they lived. Before the 1930s, many Jews believed that socialism offered a better strategy for improving the lot of European Jews. In the United States, most Jews embraced the liberalism of their adopted country. In the United States, for example, there were only 12,000 members of Zionist organizations in 1912, out of a Jewish population of 3 million.
Still, in 1911, the Jewish Encyclopedia included the statement, "there is hardly a nook or corner of the Jewish world in which Zionistic societies are not to be found." By 1940, there were 171,000 members of Zionist organizations, and by 1942, 80% of American Jews surveyed agreed that a homeland in Palestine was required. 
The chain of events between 1881 and 1945, beginning with waves of anti-Semitic pogroms in Russia and the Russian-controlled areas of Poland, and culminating in the Holocaust, converted the great majority of surviving Jews to the belief that a Jewish homeland was an urgent necessity, particularly given the large population of disenfranchised Jewish refugees after World War II. Most also became convinced that Palestine was the only location that was both acceptable to all strands of Jewish thought and within the realms of practical possibility. This led to the great majority of Jews supporting the struggle between 1945 and 1948 to establish the State of Israel, though many did not condone violent tactics used by some Zionist groups.
Zionism and the Arab Muslims and Arab Christians
The Jews who already lived in the region of Palestine had a long and complex history of interaction with their Muslim neighbours and rulers, which was complicated by the relationship between Islam and Judaism.
Outside of Jerusalem, Safed, and Tiberias, Arabs and/or Muslims constituted the overwhelming majority of the population. The early Zionists were well aware of this, but claimed that the inhabitants could only benefit from Jewish immigration. They also were inclined to settle in uninhabited areas, such as the coastal plain and the Jezreel Valley, thus avoiding conflict with the Arabs. Within Zionist literature, the Arab presence was largely ignored, as in the famous slogan "A land without a people for a people without a land." This slogan is often attributed to Israel Zangwill, but its original form, "A country without a nation for a nation without a country," was penned by Lord Shaftesbury. Generally such statements were propaganda invented by leaders who did not foresee the subsequent conflict with the Arabs and thought of them as allies against the big empires whom they viewed as the main obstacle. Agreements with the Ottoman authorities, or with Arab rulers outside Palestine were their main concern and concerns of the local Arabs were overlooked. 
One of the earlier Zionists to warn against these ideas was Ahad Ha'am, who warned in his 1891 essay "Truth from Eretz Israel" that in Palestine "it is hard to find tillable land that is not already tilled", and moreover,
From abroad we are accustomed to believing that the Arabs are all desert savages, like donkeys, who neither see nor understand what goes on around them. But this is a big mistake... The Arabs, and especially those in the cities, understand our deeds and our desires in Eretz Israel, but they keep quiet and pretend not to understand, since they do not see our present activities as a threat to their future... However, if the time comes when the life of our people in Eretz Israel develops to the point of encroaching upon the native population, they will not easily yield their place.
Though there had already been Arab protests to the Ottoman authorities in the 1880s against land sales to foreign Jews, the most serious opposition began in the 1890s after the full scope of the Zionist enterprise became known. This opposition did not arise out of Palestinian nationalism, which was in its infancy at the time, but out of a sense of threat to the livelihood of the Arabs. This sense was heightened in the early years of the 20th century by the Zionist attempts to develop an economy in which Arabs were largely redundant, such as the "Hebrew labor" movement that campaigned against the employment of Arabs. The severing of Palestine from the rest of the Arab world in 1918 and the Balfour Declaration were seen by the Arabs as proof that their fears were coming to fruition.
Zeev JabotinskyA wide range of opinion could be found among Zionist leaders after 1920. However, the division between these camps did not match the main threads in Zionist politics so cleanly as is often portrayed. To take an example, the leader of the Revisionist Zionists, Vladimir Jabotinsky, is often presented as having had an extreme pro-expulsion view but the proofs offered for this are rather thin. According to Jabotinsky's Iron Wall (1923), an agreement with the Arabs was impossible, since they
look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie. To think that the Arabs will voluntarily consent to the realization of Zionism in return for the cultural and economic benefits we can bestow on them is infantile.
The solution, according to Jabotinsky, was not expulsion (which he was "prepared to swear, for us and our descendants, that we will never [do]") but to impose the Jewish presence on the Arabs by force of arms until eventually they came to accept it. Only late in his life did Jabotinsky speak of the desirability of Arab emigration though still without unequivocally advocating an expulsion policy. After the World Zionist Organization rejected Jabotinsky's proposals, he resigned from the organization and founded the New Zionist Organization in 1933 to promote his views and work independently for immigration and the establishment of a state. The NZO rejoined the WZO in 1951.
The situation with socialist Zionists such as David Ben-Gurion was also ambiguous. In public Ben-Gurion upheld the official position of his party that denied the necessity of force in achieving Zionist goals. The argument was based on the denial of a unique Palestinian identity coupled with the belief that eventually the Arabs would realise that Zionism was to their advantage. Privately, however, Ben-Gurion believed that the Arab opposition amounted to a total rejection of Zionism grounded in fundamental principle, and that a confrontation was unavoidable. The British plan was soon shelved, but the idea of a Jewish state with a minimal population of Arabs remained an important thread in Labour Zionist thought throughout the remaining period until the creation of Israel.
The attitude of the Zionist leaders towards the Arab population of Palestine in the lead-up to the 1948 conflict is one of the most hotly debated issues in Zionist history. This article does not cover it; see The Great Arab Revolt of 1936 - 1939, Israel-Palestinian conflict, and the Palestinian exodus for more information on this.
The struggle for Palestine
With the defeat and dismantlement of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, and the establishment of the British Mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations in 1922, the Zionist movement entered a new phase of activity. Its priorities were the escalation of Jewish settlement in Palestine, the building of the institutional foundations of a Jewish state, raising funds for these purposes, and persuading — or forcing — the British authorities not to take any steps which would lead to Palestine moving towards independence as an Arab-majority state. The 1920s did see a steady growth in the Jewish population and the construction of state-like Jewish institutions, but also saw the emergence of Palestinian Arab nationalism and growing resistance to Jewish immigration.
International Jewish opinion remained divided on the merits of the Zionist project. While many Jews in Europe and the United States argued that a Jewish homeland was not needed because Jews were able to live in the democratic countries of the West as equal citizens, others supported Zionism.
Albert Einstein was one of the prominent supporters of zionism, and was active in the establishment of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which published in 1930 a volume titled About Zionism: Speeches and Lectures by Professor Albert Einstein, and to which Einstein bequeathed his papers. However, he opposed nationalism and expressed skepticism about whether a Jewish nation-state was the best solution. He said: "I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain, especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks."
Many Jews who embraced socialism and proletarian internationalism opposed Zionism as a form of bourgeois nationalism. The General Jewish Labor Union (Bund), which represented socialist Jews in eastern Europe, was anti-Zionist. Some Jewish factions tried to blend Jewish Autonomism with Zionism, favoring Jewish self-rule in the diaspora until diaspora Jews make aliyah.
The Communist parties, which attracted substantial Jewish support during the 1920s and 1930s, were even more virulently internationalist and therefore anti-Zionist, if one defines Zionism as the advocacy of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. During this time the Soviet OZET/Komzet actively promoted an alternative Jewish homeland — the Jewish Autonomous Oblast with its capital in Birobidzhan set up in the Russian Far East.
At the other extreme, some American Jews went so far as to say that the United States was Zion, and the successful absorption of two million Jewish immigrants in the 30 years before World War I lent force to this argument. Some American Jewish socialists supported the Birobidzhan experiment, and a few even migrated there during the Great Depression.
The rise to power of Adolf Hitler in Germany in 1933 produced a powerful new impetus for Zionism. Not only did it create a flood of Jewish refugees but it undermined the faith of Jews that they could live in security as minorities in non-Jewish societies. Some Zionists allegedly supported the rise of the Nazi party, recognising that it would increase the possibility of a Jewish state. It is claimed by Marxist author Lenni Brenner that The Zionist Federation of Germany even sent Hitler a letter calling for collaboration in 1933; however the strongly anti-Semitic Nazis rejected the offer and later abolished the organisation in 1938. Jewish opinion began to shift in favour of Zionism, and pressure for more Jewish immigration to Palestine increased. But the more Jews settled in Palestine, the more aroused Palestinian Arab opinion became, and the more difficult the situation became in Palestine. In 1936 serious Arab rioting broke out, and in response the British authorities held the unsuccessful St. James Conference and issued the MacDonald White Paper of 1939, severely restricting further Jewish immigration.
The Jewish community in Palestine responded by organising armed forces, based on smaller units developed to defend remote agricultural settlements. Two military movements were founded, the Labor-dominated Haganah and the Revisionist Irgun. The latter group did not hesitate to take military action against the Arab population. With the advent of World War II, both groups decided that defeating Hitler took priority over the fight against the British. However, attacks against British targets were recommenced in 1940 by a splinter group of the Irgun, later known as Lehi, and in 1944 by the Irgun itself.
The revelation of the fate of six million European Jews murdered during the Holocaust had several consequences. Firstly, it left hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees (or displaced persons) in camps in Europe, unable or unwilling to return to homes in countries which they felt had betrayed them to the Nazis. Not all of these refugees wanted to go to Palestine, and in fact many of them eventually went to other countries, but large numbers of them did, and they resorted to increasingly desperate measures to get there; over 250,000 were smuggled out of Europe by an organization called Berihah.
Secondly, it evoked a world-wide feeling of sympathy with the Jewish people, mingled with guilt that more had not been done to deter Hitler's aggressions before the war, or to help Jews escape from Europe during its course. This was particularly the case in the United States, whose federal government had halted Jewish immigration during the war. Among those who became strong supporters of the Zionist ideal was President Harry S. Truman, who overrode considerable opposition in his State Department and used the great power of his position to mobilise support at the United Nations for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, although he expressed very negative views of Jews in his diaries, and had, in a letter written years before he entered the White House, referred to New York City as "kike town". Since Britain was desperate to withdraw from Palestine, Truman's efforts were the crucial factor in the creation of Israel. This also corresponded with the Soviet effort to establish their influence in the Middle East. During the 1947 UN Partition Plan debate on May 14, 1947, the Soviet ambassador Gromyko announced:
"As we know, the aspirations of a considerable part of the Jewish people are linked with the problem of Palestine and of its future administration. This fact scarcely requires proof... During the last war, the Jewish people underwent exceptional sorrow and suffering... The United Nations cannot and must not regard this situation with indifference, since this would be incompatible with the high principles proclaimed in its Charter... The fact that no Western European State has been able to ensure the defence of the elementary rights of the Jewish people and to safeguard it against the violence of the fascist executioners explains the aspirations of the Jews to establish their own State. It would be unjust not to take this into consideration and to deny the right of the Jewish people to realize this aspiration."
Thirdly, it swung world Jewish opinion almost unanimously behind the project of a Jewish state in Palestine, and within Palestine it led to a greater resolution to use force to achieve that objective. American Reform Judaism was among the elements of Jewish thought which changed their opinions about Zionism after the Holocaust. The proposition that Jews could live in peace and security in non-Jewish societies was certainly a difficult one to defend in 1945, although it is one of the ironies of Zionist history that in the decades since World War II anti-Semitism has greatly declined as a serious political force in most western countries, though it increased greatly in Middle Eastern countries.
Zionism and Israel
Jewish immigration in the wake of World War II, 1945-1947In 1947 Britain announced its intention to withdraw from Palestine, and on 29 November the United Nations General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state (with Jerusalem becoming an international enclave). The Jewish Agency accepted the plan, while the Arabs of Palestine and the neighboring countries rejected it and commenced to use force to abort the establishment on a Jewish state in the area allotted to it by the UN. Civil conflict between the Arabs and Jews in Palestine ensued immediately. On 14 May 1948 the leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine made a declaration of independence, and the state of Israel was established. This marked a major turning point in the Zionist movement, as its principal goal had now been accomplished. Many Zionist institutions were reshaped, and the three military movements combined to form the Israel Defence Forces.
The majority of the Arab population having either fled or been expelled during the War of Independence, Jews were now a majority of the population within the 1948 ceasefire lines, which became Israel's de facto borders until 1967. In 1950 the Knesset passed the Law of Return which granted all Jews the right to immigrate to Israel. This, together with the influx of Jewish refugees from Europe and the later flood of expelled Jews from Arab countries, had the effect of creating a large and apparently permanent Jewish majority in Israel.
Since 1948 the international Zionist movement has undertaken a variety of roles in support of Israel. These have included the encouragement of immigration, assisting the absorption and integration of immigrants, fundraising on behalf of settlement and development projects in Israel, the encouragement of private capital investment in Israel, and mobilisation of world public opinion in support of Israel.
The 1967 war between Israel and the Arab states (the "Six-Day War") marked a major turning point in the history of Israel and of Zionism. Israeli forces captured the eastern half of Jerusalem, including the holiest of Jewish religious sites, the Western Wall of the ancient Temple. They also took over the remaining territories of pre-1948 Palestine, the West Bank (from Jordan) and the Gaza Strip (from Egypt). Religious Jews regarded the West Bank (ancient Judaea and Samaria) as an integral part of Eretz Israel, and within Israel voices of the political Right soon began to argue that these territories should be permanently retained. Zionist groups began to build Jewish settlements in the territories as a means of establishing "facts on the ground" that would make an Israeli withdrawal impossible.
The 1968 conference of the WZO adopted the following principles:
The unity of the Jewish people and the centrality of Israel in Jewish life
The ingathering of the Jewish people in the historic homeland, Eretz Israel, through aliyah from all countries
The strengthening of the State of Israel, based on the "prophetic vision of justice and peace"
The preservation of the identity of the Jewish people through the fostering of Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education and of Jewish spiritual and cultural values
The protection of Jewish rights everywhere.
Control of the West Bank and Gaza placed Israel in the position of control over a large population of Palestinian Arabs. Whether or not there had been a distinct Palestinian national identity in the 1920s may be debated, but there is no doubt that by the 1960s such an identity was firmly established — the founders of Zionism had thus, ironically, created two new nationalities, Israeli and Palestinian, instead of one.
The faith of the Palestinians in the willingness and ability of the Arab states to defeat Israel and return Palestine to Arab rule was destroyed by the war, and the death of the most militant and popular Arab leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, in 1970 reinforced the belief of Palestinians that they had been abandoned. The PLO, created in 1964 after a proposal by Nasser at the first Arab Summit, took on new life as an autonomous movement led by Yasser Arafat, and soon turned to terrorism as its principal means of struggle.
From this point the history of Israel and the Palestinians can be followed in the article Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In 1975 the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 was passed. It stated that "zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination" The resolution 3379 was rescinded in 1991 by the Resolution 4686. This issue is discussed in length in the article on anti-Zionism.
Since 1948 most Jews have continued to identify as Zionists, in the sense that they support the State of Israel even if they do not choose to live there. This worldwide support has been of vital importance to Israel, both politically and financially. This has been particularly true since 1967, as the rise of Palestinian nationalism and the resulting political and military struggles have eroded sympathy for Israel among non-Jews, at least outside the United States. In recent years, many Jews have criticised the morality and expediency of Israel's continued control of the territories captured in 1967.
Anti-Zionism and post-Zionism
Main article: Anti-Zionism
More than 50 years after the founding of the State of Israel, and after more than 80 years of Arab-Jewish conflict over Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, some groups have misgivings about current Israeli policies. The overwhelming majority of Jewish organizations and denominations are strongly pro-Zionist. Some liberal or socialist Jews, as well as some Orthodox Jewish communities (the most vocal and visible Neturei Karta group, estimates of whose membership range between 1000 and 5000), oppose Zionism as a matter of religious belief. Well-known Jewish scholars and statesmen who have opposed Zionism include Bruno Kreisky, Hans Fromm, and Michael Selzer. In the United States, a small number of Jewish intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein oppose modern Zionism. Chomsky says he supports a Jewish homeland, but not a Jewish state, and claims that this view is consistent with the original meaning of Zionism.
Some elements within Orthodox Judaism remain strongly anti-Zionist, while other mainstream Orthodox groups, such as the Agudat Israel, have changed their positions since 1948 and have reached a modus vivendi with the State of Israel. Others have often assumed right-wing stances regarding important political questions such as the peace process.
Among the important minority threads within Zionism is one that holds Israelis to be a new nationality, not merely the representatives of world Jewry. The "Canaanite" or "Hebrew Renaissance" movement led by poet Yonatan Ratosh in the 1930s and 1940s was built on this idea. A modern movement based partly on the same idea is known as post-Zionism. There is no agreement as to how this movement should be defined, nor even of who belongs to it, but the most common idea is that Israel should leave behind the concept of a "state of the Jewish people" and instead strive to be a state of all its citizens according to pluralistic democratic values. Many Israeli historians hold "Caananism" or "Pan-Semitism" as an aberration outside the bounds of Zionism. Self-identified post-Zionists differ on many important details, such as the status of the Law of Return. Critics tend to associate post-Zionism with anti-Zionism or postmodernism, both of which claims are strenuously denied by proponents.
Another opinion favors a binational state in which Arabs and Jews live together while enjoying some type of autonomy. Variants of the idea were proposed by Chaim Weizmann in the 1930s and by the Ichud (Unity) group in the 1940s, which included such prominent figures as Judah Magnes (first dean of The Hebrew University) and Martin Buber. The emergence of Israel as a Jewish state with a small Arab minority made the idea irrelevant, but it was revived after the 1967 war left Israel in control of a large Arab population. Never more than the opinion of a small minority, the idea is nevertheless supported by a few prominent intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, the late Edward Said, Meron Benvenisti (since 2003), and Tony Judt. Opponents of a binational state argue that since Arabs, whose population growth rates are much higher than among Jews, would form the majority of the population in such a state, the Jewish character on which the state was founded would be lost and the Jewish population's existence threatened, as it was threatened under other Turkish and Arab regimes in the past. They also suggest that such a state is unlikely to remain a democracy for long, as all Arab countries today have either autocratic or theocratic governments.
Critics of Zionism see the changes in demographic balance which created a Jewish state and displaced over 700,000 Arab refugees, and the methods used to cause this, as an inevitable consequence of Zionism. Critics also point to current inequities between Jews and Arabs in Israel, similarly viewing them as attributable to Zionist beliefs and ideologies. Some consider this ethnic and cultural discrimination to be a form of racism.
Defenders of Zionism disagree with the identification of Zionism with racism on a number of grounds; they state that the basis of the charge is too vague, as the views of Zionist groups differ widely from each other (see Types of Zionism). They also disagree on the basis that Palestinians and Jews are not racially distinct from each other, and that Israeli Jews themselves are racially "mixed" (nearly half of Israel's Jews come from Arab countries, and there are also almost 100,000 black Jews from Ethiopia); thus even if Zionism discriminates against Arabs, such discrimination cannot accurately be termed racist, but rather ethnic and/or cultural. They also argue that discrimination based on culture or ethnicity is a fact in almost all countries in the world, and that any discrimination in Israel, including discrimination between Jewish groups, is similarly based on such differences, and is not an inevitable consequence of Zionism. They also point at the fact that, unlike the situation in neighboring Arab countries, Arab citizens of Israel can vote in free elections, are represented in the Israeli parliament and enjoy a much higher standard of living than Arabs in Arab countries, and that most differences in income between Israeli Jews and Arabs have more to do with a difference in educational background than with actual discrimination, either by the government or by private actors. They also point out that while perhaps 700,000 Muslims either fled or were forced out of Israel upon the creation of the State, almost a million Jews were forced out of Muslim controlled lands and fled to Israel. They would also point out that Muslims are free to vote in Israel, and have their own MK's, while Jews are forbidden citizenshp in many Muslim coutries, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism (external - login to view)
I especially loved the excuses of the Zionist supporters. Yeah we did that but alot more Muslims countries (Israel only one country) kicked out a few hundred thousands more Jews than we did Arabs and so that is okay then.
They get to vote and who cares why they may live in poorer areas and have worst jobs. Yeah real good excuses.