Zionism: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aliyah to Israel and settlement
A rectangular flag, white background, blue bands close to the top and bottom, with a blue star of David in the middle. The flag is on a flagpole, with blue sky and sea in the background.

Pre-Zionist Aliyah
The Return to Zion • The Old Yishuv
Prior to the founding of Israel
First Aliyah • Second Aliyah • During WWI • Third Aliyah • Fourth Aliyah • Fifth Aliyah • During and after WWII • Berihah
After the founding of Israel
Operation Magic Carpet • Operation Ezra and Nehemiah • Jewish exodus from Arab lands • Polish aliyah in 1968 • Aliyah from the Soviet Union in the 1970s • Aliyah from Ethiopia • Aliyah from the Commonwealth of Independent States in the 1990s • Aliyah from Latin America in the 2000s
Judaism • Zionism • Law of Return • Jewish homeland • Yerida • Galut • Jewish Messianism
Persons and organizations
Theodor Herzl • World Zionist Organization • Knesset • Nefesh B'Nefesh • El Al
Related topics
Jewish history • Jewish diaspora  • History of the Jews in the Land of Israel  • Yishuv  • History of Zionism  • History of Israel  • Israeli Jews  • Anti-Zionism  • Revival of Hebrew language  • Religious Zionism  • Haredim and Zionism  •

Zionism (Hebrew: ציונות‎, Tsiyonut) is the international nationalist[1] political movement that originally supported the reestablishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel (Hebrew: Eretz Yisra'el), the historical homeland of the Jews. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to support it.

Zionism is based on historical ties and religious traditions linking the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.[2] Almost two millennia after the Jewish diaspora, the modern Zionist movement, beginning in the late 19th century, was mainly founded by secular Jews, largely as a response by Ashkenazi Jews to antisemitism and the Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire.[3]

It is included in diaspora politics as a broader phenomenon of modern nation liberation movements.[4] Although one of several Jewish political movements offering alternative responses to assimilation and antisemitism, Zionism grew rapidly and became the dominant force among Jewish political movements.

The political movement was formally established by the Austro-Hungarian journalist Theodor Herzl in the late 19th century following the publication of his book Der Judenstaat.[5] The movement seeks to encourage Jewish migration to the "Land of Israel" and was eventually successful in establishing Israel on 14 May 1948 (5 Iyyar 5708 in the Hebrew calendar), as the homeland for the Jewish people. Its proponents regard its aim as self-determination for the Jewish people.[6] The proportion of world Jewry living in Israel has steadily grown since the movement came into existence. Today roughly 40% of the world's Jews live in Israel. Nearly as many live in the United States (see American Jews).



The term "Zionism" itself is derived from the word Zion (Hebrew: ציון, Tzi-yon‎), referring to Jerusalem. The first use of the term is attributed to the Austrian Nathan Birnbaum, founder of the first nationalist Jewish students' movement Kadimah, in his journal Selbstemanzipation (Self Emancipation) in 1890.[7]


Members and delegates at the 1939 Zionist congress, by country/region (Zionism was banned in the Soviet Union). 70,000 Polish Jews supported the Revisionist Zionism movement, which was not represented.[8]
Country/Region Members Delegates
Poland 299,165 109
USA 263,741 114
Palestine 167,562 134
Romania 60,013 28
United Kingdom 23,513 15
South Africa 22,343 14
Canada 15,220 8

The multi-national, worldwide Zionist movement is structured on representative democractic principles. Congresses are held every four years (they were held every two years before the Second World War) and delegates to the congress are elected by the membership. Members are required to pay dues known as a shekel. At the congress, delegates elect a 30-man executive council, which in turn elects the movement's leader. The movement was democratic from its inception and women had the right to vote (before they won the right in Great Britain).

Until 1917, the World Zionist Organization pursued a strategy of building a homeland through persistent small-scale immigration and the founding of such bodies as the Jewish National Fund (1901 - a charity which bought land for Jewish settlement) and the Anglo-Palestine Bank (1903 - provided loans for Jewish businesses and farmers). In 1942, at the Biltmore Conference, Zionists changed their program and demanded the establishment of a Jewish state as the aim of the movement.

The 28th Zionist Congress, meeting in Jerusalem 1968, adopted the five points of the "Jerusalem Program" as the aims of Zionism today. They are:[9]

  • The unity of the Jewish People and the centrality of Israel in Jewish life
  • The ingathering of the Jewish People in its historic homeland, Eretz Israel, through Aliyah from all countries
  • The strengthening of the State of Israel which is based on the prophetic vision of justice and peace
  • The preservation of the identity of the Jewish People through the fostering of Jewish and Hebrew education and of Jewish spiritual and cultural values
  • The protection of Jewish rights everywhere.

Since the creation of Israel, the role of the movement has declined and it is now a peripheral factor in Israeli politics although different perceptions of Zionism continue to play a role in Israeli and Jewish political discussion.

Labor Zionism

Labor Zionism originated in Eastern Europe. Socialist Zionists believed that centuries of being oppressed in antisemitic societies had reduced Jews to a meek, vulnerable, despairing existence which invited further antisemitism, a view originally stipulated by Theodor Herzl. They argued that a revolution of the Jewish soul and society was necessary and achievable in part by Jews moving to Israel and becoming farmers, workers, and soldiers in a country of their own. Most socialist Zionists rejected the observance of traditional religious Judaism as perpetuating a "Diaspora mentality" among the Jewish people, and established rural communes in Israel called "kibbutzim". Though socialist Zionism draws its inspiration and is philosophically founded on the fundamental values and spirituality of Judaism, its progressive expression of that Judaism has often fostered an antagonistic relationship with Orthodox Judaism.

Labor Zionism became the dominant force in the political and economic life of the Yishuv during the British Mandate of Palestine and was the dominant ideology of the political establishment in Israel until the 1977 election when the Israeli Labor Party was defeated. The Israeli Labor Party continues the tradition, although the most popular party in the kibbutzim is Meretz.[citation needed]

Liberal Zionism

General Zionism (or Liberal Zionism) was initially the dominant trend within the Zionist movement from the First Zionist Congress in 1897 until after the First World War. General Zionists identified with the liberal European middle class (or bourgeoisie) to which many Zionist leaders such as Herzl and Chaim Weizmann aspired. Liberal Zionism, although not associated with any single party in modern Israel, remains a strong trend in Israeli politics advocating free market principles, democracy and adherence to human rights. Kadima, however, does identify with many of the fundamental policies of Liberal Zionist ideology, advocating among other things the need for Palestinian statehood in order to form a more democratic society in Israel, affirming the free market, and calling for equal rights for Arab citizens of Israel.

Nationalist Zionism

Nationalist Zionism originated from the Revisionist Zionists led by Jabotinsky. The Revisionists left the World Zionist Organization in 1935 because it refused to state that the creation of a Jewish state was an objective of Zionism. The revisionists advocated the formation of a Jewish Army in Palestine to force the Arab population to accept mass Jewish migration. Revisionist Zionism evolved into the Likud Party in Israel, which has dominated most governments since 1977. It advocates Israel maintaining control of the West-Bank and East Jerusalem and takes a hard-line approach in the Israeli-Arab conflict. In 2005 the Likud split over the issue of creation of a Palestinian state on the occupied territories and party members advocating peace talks helped form the Kadima party.

Religious Zionism

In the 1920s and 1930s Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (the first Chief Rabbi of Palestine) and his son Rabbi Zevi Judah Kook saw great religious and traditional value in many of Zionism's ideals, while rejecting its anti-religious undertones. They taught that Orthodox (Torah) Judaism embraces and mandates Zionism's positive ideals, such as the ingathering of exiles, and political activity to create and maintain a Jewish political entity in the Land of Israel. In this way, Zionism serves as a bridge between Orthodox and secular Jews.

While other Zionist groups have tended to moderate their nationalism over time, the gains from the Six-Day War have led religious Zionism to play a significant role in Israeli political life. Now associated with the National Religious Party and Gush Emunim, religious Zionists have been at the forefront of Jewish settlement in the West Bank and efforts to assert Jewish control over the Old City of Jerusalem.

Zionism and Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Judaism

Haredi Orthodox organizations do not belong to the Zionist movement; they view Zionism as secular, reject nationalism as a doctrine and consider Judaism to be first and foremost a religion.

Some Haredi rabbis do not consider Israel to be a halachic Jewish state because it is secular. However, they generally consider themselves responsible for ensuring that Jews maintain religious ideals and since most Israeli citizens are Jews they pursue this agenda within Israel. Others reject any possibility of a Jewish state, since according to them a Jewish state is completely forbidden by Jewish law, and a Jewish state is considered an oxymoron.

Two Haredi parties run in Israeli elections. They are sometimes associated with views which could be regarded as nationalist or Zionist and have shown a preference for coalitions with more nationalist Zionist parties, probably because these are more interested in enhancing the Jewish nature of the Israeli state.

The Sephardi-Orthodox party Shas rejects association with the Zionist movement. However, its voters generally regard themselves as Zionist and Knesset members frequently pursue what others might consider a Zionist agenda. Shas has supported territorial compromise with the Arabs and Palestinians but generally opposes compromise over Jewish holy sites.

The Ashkenazi Agudat Israel/UTJ party has always avoided association with the Zionist movement and usually avoids voting on or discussing issues related to peace because its members do not serve in the army. The party does work towards ensuring that Israel and Israeli law are in tune with the halacha, on issues such as Shabbat rest.

Many other Hasidic groups, most famously the Satmar Hasidim as well as the larger movement they are part of in Jerusalem, the Edah HaChareidis, are strongly anti-Zionist. Other groups included in the Edah HaChareidis include Dushinsky, Toldos Aharon, Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok, Spinka, and others, numbering tens of thousands in Jerusalem, and hundreds of thousands worldwide.

The Neturei Karta movement is a smaller, strongly anti-Zionist Haredi group.

The Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement has traditionally not identified itself as Zionist, although in recent years it has adopted an ultra-nationalist agenda and opposed any territorial compromise.

Particularities of Zionist beliefs

Zionism was established on the basis of the association between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. Aliyah (literally "Ascent", that is migration) to the Land of Israel is a recurring theme in Jewish prayers. Zionists consider the presence of Jews outside of Israel as living in exile.[10] Rejection of life in the Diaspora is a central assumption in Zionism,[11] underlying this attitude is the feeling that the Diaspora restricts the full growth of Jewish individual and national life.

Zionists generally preferred to speak Hebrew, a Semitic language that developed under conditions of freedom in ancient Judah, modernizing and adapting it for everyday use. Zionists sometimes refused to speak Yiddish, a language they considered affected by Christian persecution. Once they moved to Israel, many Zionists refused to speak their (diasporic) mother tongues and gave themselves new, Hebrew names.

Major aspects of the Zionist idea are represented in the Israeli Declaration of Independence:

The Jewish people have grown in the land of Israel, wherein their religious, spiritual and political identity reached the maturity, and in here they lived for the first time in a sovereign state, and in there they produced their human, national and cultural values.

When the Jewish people were forcefully dispersed out of their country, they kept their promise to return from the different countries of exile, and never stopped praying and believing in the hope of returning to their country and resuming their political freedom there.

Zionism is dedicated to fighting antisemitism. Some Zionists believe antisemitism will never disappear (and that Jews must conduct themselves with this in mind),[12] while others perceive Zionism as a vehicle with which to end antisemitism.


Population of Palestine by religions[13]
year Muslims Jews Christians Others
1922 486,177 83,790 71,464 7,617
1931 493,147 174,606 88,907 10,101
1941 906,551 474,102 125,413 12,881
1946 1,076,783 608,225 145,063 15,488
The delegates at the First Zionist Congress, held in Basel, Switzerland (1897).
Chaim Weizmann (right) with Harry S. Truman, 25 May 1948

Since the first century CE most Jews have lived in exile, although there has been a constant presence of Jews in the Land of Israel (Eretz Israel). According to Judaism, Eretz Israel, or Zion, is a land promised to the Jews by God according to the Bible. After the 1st century Great Revolt and the 2nd century Bar Kokhba revolt, the Romans expelled the Jews from Palestine, thus forming the Jewish diaspora.

In the 19th century, a current in Judaism supporting a return to Palestine grew in popularity,[14] particularly in Europe, where anti-semitism and hostility towards Jews were also growing. Jews began to emigrate to Palestine, pre-Zionist Aliyah, even before 1897, the year considered as the start of practical Zionism.[15]

Jewish immigration to Palestine started in earnest in 1882. Most immigrants came from Russia, escaping the frequent pogroms and state-led persecution. They founded a number of agricultural settlements with financial support from Jewish philanthropists in Western Europe. Further Aliyahs followed the Russian Revolution and Nazi persecution.

In the 1890s, Theodor Herzl infused Zionism with a new ideology and practical urgency, leading to the First Zionist Congress at Basel in 1897, which created the World Zionist Organization (WZO).[16] Herzl's aim was to initiate necessary preparatory steps for the attainment of a Jewish state. Herzl’s attempts to reach a political agreement with the Ottoman rulers of Palestine were unsuccessful and other governmental support was sought. The WZO supported small-scale settlement in Palestine and focused on strengthening Jewish feeling and consciousness and on building a worldwide federation.

The Russian Empire, with its long record of state organized genocide and ethnic cleansing ("pogroms") was widely regarded as the historic enemy of the Jewish people. As much of its leadership were German speakers, the Zionist movement's headquarters were located in Berlin. At the start of World War I, most Jews (and Zionists) supported Germany in its war with Russia.

Lobbying by a Russian Jewish immigrant, Chaim Weizmann and fear that American Jews would encourage the USA to support Germany culminated in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 by the British government (the Zionist congress had decided already by 1903 to decline an offer by the British to establish a homeland in Uganda). This endorsed the creation of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine. In addition, a Zionist military corps led by Jabotinsky were recruited to fight on behalf of Britain in Palestine.

In 1922, the League of Nations adopted the declaration in the Mandate it gave to Britain:

The Mandatory (…) will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.

Weizmann's role in obtaining the Balfour Declaration led to his election as the movement's leader. He remained in that role until 1948 and then became the first President of Israel.

Jewish migration to Palestine and widespread Jewish land purchases from feudal landlords led to landlessness and fueled unrest which was often led by the same landlords who sold the land. There were riots in 1920, 1921 and 1929, sometimes accompanied by massacres of Jews [18] The victims were usually from the non-Zionist Haredi Jewish communities in the Four Holy Cities. Britain supported Jewish immigration in principle, but in reaction to Arab violence imposed restrictions on Jewish immigration.

In 1933, Hitler came to power in Germany, and in 1935 the Nuremberg Laws made German Jews (and later Austrian and Czech Jews) stateless refugees. Similar rules were applied by the many Nazi allies in Europe. The subsequent growth in Jewish migration and impact of Nazi propaganda aimed at the Arab world led to the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. Britain established the Peel Commission to investigate the situation. The commission did not consider the situation of Jews in Europe but called for a two-state solution and compulsory transfer of populations. But Britain rejected this solution and instead implemented White Paper of 1939. This planned to end Jewish immigration by 1944 and to allow no more than 75,000 further Jewish migrants. The British maintained this policy until the end of the Mandate.

Growth of the Jewish community in Palestine and devastation of European Jewish life sidelined the World Zionist Organization. The Jewish Agency for Palestine under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion increasingly dictated policy with support from American Zionists who provided funding and influence in Washington, D.C. including via the highly effective American Palestine Committee.

After World War II and the Holocaust, a massive wave of stateless Jews, mainly Holocaust survivors, began migrating to Palestine in small boats in defiance of British rules. The British either imprisoned these Jews in Cyprus (including many orphaned children) or sent them to the British-controlled Allied Occupation Zones in Germany. This resulted in universal Jewish support for Zionism and the refusal of the U.S. Congress to grant economic aid to Britain. In addition, Zionist groups attacked the British in Palestine and, with its empire facing bankruptcy, Britain was forced to refer the issue to the newly created United Nations.

In 1947, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) recommended that western Palestine should be partitioned into a Jewish state, an Arab state and a UN-controlled territory (Corpus separatum) around Jerusalem.[19] This partition plan was adopted on November 29, 1947 with UN GA Resolution 181, 33 votes in favor, 13 against, and 10 abstentions. The vote led to celebrations in the streets of Jewish cities.[20] However, the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab states rejected the UN decision, demanding a single state and removal of Jewish migrants, leading to the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

David Ben-Gurion proclaiming Israel's independence beneath a large portrait of Theodor Herzl.

On 14 May 1948, at the end of the British mandate, the Jewish Agency, led by David Ben-Gurion, declared the creation of the State of Israel, and the same day the armies of seven Arab countries invaded Israel. The conflict led to an exodus of about 711,000 Arab Palestinians[21] and the exodus of 850,000 Jews from the Arab world, mostly to Israel.

Since the creation of the State of Israel, the World Zionist Organization has functioned mainly as an organization dedicated to assisting and encouraging Jews to migrate to Israel. It has provided political support for Israel in other countries but plays little role in internal Israeli politics. The movement's major success since 1948 was in providing logistical support for migrating Jews and, most importantly, in assisting Soviet Jews in their struggle with the authorities over the right to leave the USSR and to practice their religion in freedom.

Opposition to and criticism of Zionism

Zionism has been opposed by a wide variety of organizations and individuals. The Arab League and Arab Higher Committee rejected the UN Partition Plan (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181) approving the creation of a Jewish and Arab state in Palestine,[22] and viewed Israel as the "Zionist entity" occupying "Arab land".[23][24] Arab states continue to reject the Zionist philosophy which underwrote the creation of Israel and in particular allege that the displacement of some 700,000 Arab refugees in the 1948 Palestinian exodus[25] and the subsequent conflict is the inevitable consequence of the re-establishment of the Jewish State.

Haredi Jewish communities are non-Zionist but willing to participate in Israeli coalitions. A minority, (the Satmar Hasidim and the small Neturei Karta group) are strongly anti-Zionist.

Before Hitler, Jews seeking to assimilate in Europe feared that Zionism would undermine their claims to citizenship since antisemites claim that Jews are disloyal to their "host" societies.[26] These Jews sought to define themselves as loyal citizens of a different faith, sometimes styling themselves "of the Mosaic persuasion" . This movement was particularly prevalent in Germany, where most Jews supported German nationalism.[27]

Non-Zionist Israeli movements, such as the Canaanite movement led by poet Yonatan Ratosh in the 1930s and 1940s, have argued that "Israeli" should be a new pan-ethnic nationality. A related modern movement is known as post-Zionism, which asserts that Israel should abandon the concept of a "state of the Jewish people" and instead strive to be a state of all its citizens.[28] Another opinion favors a binational state in which Arabs and Jews live together while enjoying some type of autonomy.

During the last quarter of 20th century, classic nationalism in Israel declined. This led to the rise of two antagonistic movements: neo-Zionism and post-Zionism. Both movements mark the Israeli version of a worldwide phenomenon:

  • the emergence of globalization, a market society and liberal culture
  • a local backlash.[29]

Neo-Zionism and post-Zionism share traits with "classical" Zionism but differ by accentuating antagonist and diametrically opposed poles already present in Zionism. "Neo Zionism accentuates the messianic and particularistic dimensions of Zionist nationalism, while post-Zionism accentuates its normalising and universalistic dimensions".[30]

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

In 1903, following the Kishinev Pogrom, a variety of Russian antisemities, including the Black Hundreds and the Tzarist Secret Police, began combining earlier works alleging a Jewish plot to take control of the world into new formats.[31] One particular version of these allegations, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" (subtitle "Protocols extracted from the secret archives of the central chancery of Zion"), arranged by Sergei Nilus, achieved global notability. In 1903, the editor claimed that the protocols revealed the menace of Zionism:

....which has the goal of uniting all the Jews of the whole world in one union - a union that is more closely knit and more dangerous than the Jesuits.

The book contains fictional minutes of an imaginary meeting in which alleged Jewish leaders plotted to take over the world. Nilus later claimed they were presented to the elders by Herzl (the "Prince of Exile") at the first Zionist congress. A Polish edition claimed they were taken from Herzl's flat in Austria and a 1920 German version renamed them "The Zionist Protocols".[33] The "protocols were one of the earliest, and possibly the most important example of the many cases in which antisemitism has manifested asanti-Zionism or vice versa and were extensively used by the Nazis. They are widely distributed in the Arab world and are referred to in the 1988 Hamas charter (article 32):

The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"...

Resolutions condemning Zionism

The Organisation of African Unity and the Non-Aligned Movement passed resolutions condemning Zionism and equating it with racism and apartheid during the early 1970s. The United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 3151 72 to 36, with 32 abstentions, in December 1973, stating that there was an "unholy alliance between South African racism and Zionism." [34] Resolution 3379, stating in its conclusion that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination", passed in November 1975, with many Arab, African, South Asian, Latin American and Soviet bloc states voting in favor of it.[27][35] The resolution was opposed by most of the Western world.

As the war in Iraq began and the South Africa's apartheid government and the Soviet Union collapsed, the resolution was repealed in 1991 with Resolution 4686, after Israel declared that it would only participate in the Madrid Conference of 1991 if the resolution were revoked.[34] [36] [37]

At the session revoking the motion, U.S. President George H. W. Bush declared that 3379 mocked the founding principles of the United Nations and its charter's pledge "to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors."[38] The revocation motion was co-sponsored by 90 nations and supported by 111, and opposed by 26.[34]

Equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism

There is evidence to suggest that anti-Zionism is sometimes antisemitism masquerading in a more sanitized term.[39] The word Zionist is sometimes used as a synonym for Jew and anti-Zionists may use motifs previously associated with antisemitism. On October 21, 1973, then-Soviet ambassador to the United Nations Yakov Malik declared: "The Zionists have come forth with the theory of the Chosen People, an absurd ideology." Chosenness, a basic doctrine of Judaism, has no role in Zionism. Similarly, an exhibit about Zionism and Israel in the Museum of Religion and Atheism in Leningrad designates the following as Soviet Zionist material: Jewish prayer shawls, tefillin and Passover Hagaddahs,[40] even though these are all religious items used by Jews for thousands of years.[39]

Marcus Garvey and Black Zionism

Zionist success in winning British support for formation of a Jewish National Home in Palestine helped to inspire the Jamaican nationalist Marcus Garvey to form a movement dedicated to returning Americans of African origin to Africa. During a speech in Harlem in 1920, Garvey stated: "other races were engaged in seeing their cause through—the Jews through their Zionist movement and the Irish through their Irish movement—and I decided that, cost what it might, I would make this a favorable time to see the Negro's interest through."[41] Garvey established a shipping company, the Black Star Line, to allow Black Americans to emigrate to Africa, but for various reasons failed in his endeavour.

Garvey helped inspire the Rastafari movement in Jamaica, the Black Jews[42] and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem who initially moved to Liberia before settling in Israel.

Non-Jewish support for Zionism

Political support for the Jewish return to the Land of Israel predates the formal organization of Jewish Zionism as a political movement. In the 19th century, advocates of the Restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land were called Restorationists. The return of the Jews to the Holy Land was widely supported by such eminent figures as Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, President John Adams of the United States, General Smuts of South Africa, President Masaryk of Czechoslovakia, philosopher and historian Benedetto Croce from Italy, Henry Dunant (founder of the Red Cross and author of the Geneva Conventions), and scientist and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen from Norway.[citation needed]

The French government through Minister M. Cambon formally committed itself to “the renaissance of the Jewish nationality in that Land from which the people of Israel were exiled so many centuries ago".

In China, top figures of the Nationalist government, including Sun Yat-sen, expressed their sympathy with the aspirations of the Jewish people for a National Home.[43]

Hindus supporting Zionism

After Israel's creation in 1948, Indian leftists who controlled the government opposed Zionism in order to pander to Muslim voters in India (where they numbered over 30 million at the time)[44]. However, the conservative Hindus, led by the Sangh Parivar, openly supported Zionism, as did Hindu Nationalist intellectuals like Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Sita Ram Goel.[45] Zionism as a national liberation movement to repatriate the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland appealed to many Hindu Nationalists, who viewed their struggle for independence from British rule and the Partition of India as national liberation for long-oppressed Hindus.

An international opinion survey has shown that India is the most pro-Israel country in the world.[46][47][48][49]. In more current times, all conservative Indian parties and organizations support Zionism.[45][50] This has invited attacks on Hindus by the Indian left opposed to Zionism, and allegations that Hindus are conspiring with the "Jewish Lobby"[51], as well as from Islamist in Pakistan (see Zaid Hamid), who accuse Indian Hindus of participating in a "global Hindu-Zionist" conspiracy.

Christians supporting Zionism

Christians have a long history of supporting the return of Jews to the Holy Land prior to Zionism. One of the principal Protestant teachers who promoted the biblical doctrine that the Jews would return to their national homeland was John Nelson Darby. He is credited with being the major promoter of the idea following his 11 lectures on the hopes of the church, the Jew and the gentile given in Geneva in 1840. His views were embraced by many evangelicals and also affected international foreign policy. Notable early supporters of Zionism include British Prime Ministers David Lloyd George and Arthur Balfour, American President Woodrow Wilson and Orde Wingate whose activities in support of Zionism led the British Army to ban him from ever serving in Palestine. According to Charles Merkley of Carleton University, Christian Zionism strengthened significantly after the Six-Day War of 1967, and many dispensationalist Christians, especially in the United States, now strongly support Zionism.

The founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), Joseph Smith, Jr., in his last years alive, declared "the time for Jews to return to the land of Israel is now." In 1842, Smith sent Orson Hyde, an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to Jerusalem to dedicate the land for the return of the Jews.[citation needed]

Some Arab Christians publicly supporting Israel include US author Nonie Darwish, creator of the Arabs for Israel website, and former Muslim Magdi Allam, author of Viva Israele,[52] both born in Egypt. Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese-born Christian US journalist and founder of the American Congress for Truth, urges Americans to "fearlessly speak out in defense of America, Israel and Western civilization".[53]

Muslims supporting Zionism

In 1873, Shah of Persia Naser al-Din Shah Qajar met with British Jewish leaders, including Sir Moses Montefiore, during his journey to Europe. At that time, the Persian king suggested that the Jews buy land and establish a state for the Jewish people.[54]

On occasion, some non-Arab Muslims such as some Turks, Kurds and Berbers have also voiced support for Zionism.[55][56][57]

See also

Types of Zionism

Zionist institutions and organizations

History of Zionism and Israel



  1. ^ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/657475/Zionism
  2. ^ Aviel Roshwald, "Jewish Identity and the Paradox of Nationalism", in Michael Berkowitz, (ed.). Nationalism, Zionism and Ethnic Mobilization of the Jews in 1900 and Beyond, p. 15).
  3. ^ Wylen, Stephen M. Settings of Silver: An Introduction to Judaism, Second Edition, Paulist Press, 2000, p. 392).
  4. ^ A.R. Taylor, 'Vision and intent in Zionist Thought', in 'The transformation of Palestine', ed. by I. Abu-Lughod, 1971, ISBN 0-8101-0345-1, p. 10
  5. ^ Walter Laqueur, The History of Zionism (2003) p 40
  6. ^ A national liberation movement: Rockaway, Robert. Zionism: The National Liberation Movement of The Jewish People, World Zionist Organization, January 21, 1975, accessed August 17, 2006). Shlomo Avineri: (Zionism as a Movement of National Liberation, Hagshama department of the World Zionist Organization, December 12, 2003, accessed August 17, 2006). Neuberger, Binyamin. Introduction Zionism - an Introduction, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, August 20, 2001, accessed August 17, 2006).
  7. ^ De Lange, Nicholas, An Introduction to Judaism, Cambridge University Press (2000), p. 30. ISBN 0-521-46624-5.
  8. ^ Source: A survey of Palestine, prepared in 1946 for the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, Volume II page 907 HMSO 1946.
  9. ^ Hagshama.org
  10. ^ Esraten.com
  11. ^ E. Schweid, ‘Rejection of the Diaspora in Zionist Thought’, in Essential Papers on Zionism, ed. By Reinharz & Shapira, 1996, ISBN 0-8147-7449-0, p.133
  12. ^ For an example of this view see The New Anti-Zionism and the Old Antisemitism: Transformations By: Raphael Jospe at Hashama.org accessed 16/11/2008
  13. ^ Anonymous (1947-09-03). "Report to the General Assembly, Volume 1". United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/eed216406b50bf6485256ce10072f637/07175de9fa2de563852568d3006e10f3!OpenDocument. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  14. ^ Lds.org
  15. ^ C.D. Smith, 2001, 'Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict', 4th ed., ISBN 0-312-20828-6, p. 1-12, 33-38
  16. ^ Zionism & The British In Palestine, by Sethi, Arjun (University of Maryland) January 2007, accessed May 20, 2007.
  17. ^ League of Nations Palestine Mandate, July 24, 1922, sateofisrael.com/mandate
  18. ^ Peel Commission report 1937, chapter 3.
  19. ^ United Nations Special Committee on Palestine; report to the General Assembly, A/364, 3 September 1947
  20. ^ Three minutes, 2000 years, Video from the Jewish Agency for Israel, via YouTube
  21. ^ General Progress Report and Supplementary Report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, Covering the period from 11 December 1949 to 23 October 1950, GA A/1367/Rev.1 23 October 1950
  22. ^ Bregman, Ahron (2002), A History of Israel, Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0333676319, pp. 40-41.
  23. ^ El-Nawawy, Mohammed (2002). The Israeli-Egyptian Peace Process in the reporting of western Journalists. Ablex/Greenwood, pg. 19 ISBN 1567505449 "It is a barrier that has been created by years and years of antagonism with Israelis; a barrier that was strengthened by the Egyptian and Arab news media at large which have enforced the Arabs' stereotypes about the Israelis as invaders of Arab land."
  24. ^ Khalidi, Rashid (2006). The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. Beacon Press, pg. 19.
  25. ^ The U.N.'s final estimate of the total number of Palestinian Refugees was 711,000 according to the General Progress Report and Supplementary Report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, Covering the Period from 11 December 1949 to 23 October 1950, published by the United Nations Conciliation Commission, October 23, 1950. (U.N. General Assembly Official Records, 5th Session, Supplement No. 18, Document A/1367/Rev.1)
  26. ^ Social and political history of the Jews in Poland, 1919-1939 By Joseph Marcus page 421 published 1983 see also Adl.org
  27. ^ a b Mideastweb.org
  28. ^ Can Israel Survive Post-Zionism? by Meyrav Wurmser. Middle East Quarterly, March 1999
  29. ^ Uri Ram, The Future of the Past in Israel - A Sociology of Knowledge Approach, in Benny Morris, Making Israel, p.224.
  30. ^ Steve Chan, Anita Shapira, Derek Jonathan, Israeli Historical Revisionism: from left to right, Routledge, 2002, p.58.
  31. ^ Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide, Serif 2001 chapter 3
  32. ^ Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide, Serif 2001 page 74
  33. ^ Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide, Serif 2001 page 75-76
  34. ^ a b c http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign Relations/Israels Foreign Relations since 1947/1988-1992/260 General Assembly Resolution 46-86- Revocation
  35. ^ Mideastweb.org
  36. ^ Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 320. ISBN 0465041957.
  37. ^ CFR.org/
  38. ^ University of California, Santa Barbara
  39. ^ a b Prager, D; Telushkin, J. Why the Jews?: The Reason for Antisemitism. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983. page 169-175.
  40. ^ Korey, W., "Updating the Protocols," Midstream, May 1970, p. 17.
  41. ^ Negro World 6 March 1920, cited in University of California, Los Angeles (accessed 29/11/2007)
  42. ^ BlackJews.org - A Project of the International Board of Rabbis
  43. ^ Goldstein, Jonathan (1999), "The Republic of China and Israel", in Goldstein, Jonathan, China and Israel, 1948-1998: A Fifty Year Retrospective, Westport, Conn. and London: Praeger, pp. 1–39 
  45. ^ a b [1]
  46. ^ ynet article.
  47. ^ netwmd article.
  48. ^ daniel pipes article.
  49. ^ digg article.
  50. ^ [2]
  51. ^ [3]
  52. ^ ISBN 9788804567776
  53. ^ anonymous (unknown). "Mission/Vision". American Congress for Truth. http://americancongressfortruth.com/mission-vision.asp. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  54. ^ World Jewish Congress
  55. ^ anonymous (2009-02-26). "Berbers, Where Do You Stand on Palestine?". MEMRI. http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD226209. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 

Further reading

  • Beller, Steven. Herzl (2004)
  • Brenner, Michael, and Shelley Frisch. Zionism: A Brief History (2003) excerpt and text search
  • Cohen, Naomi. The Americanization of Zionism, 1897-1948 (2003). 304 pp. essays on specialized topics
  • Friedman, Isaiah. "Theodor Herzl: Political Activity and Achievements," Israel Studies 2004 9(3): 46-79, online in EBSCO
  • David Hazony, Yoram Hazony, and Michael B. Oren, eds., "New Essays on Zionism," Shalem Press, 2007.
  • Laqueuer, Walter. A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel (2003) survey by a leading scholar excerpt and text search
  • Medoff, Rafael. "Recent Trends in the Historiography of American Zionism," American Jewish History 86 (March 1998), 117-134.
  • Pawel, Ernst. The Labyrinth of Exile: A Life of Theodor Herzl (1992) excerpt and text search
  • Sachar, Howard M. A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Taylor, A.R., 1971, 'Vision and intent in Zionist Thought', in 'The transformation of Palestine', ed. by I. Abu-Lughod, ISBN 0-8101-0345-1, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, USA
  • Urofsky, Melvin I. American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust (1995), a standard history
  • Wigoder, Geoffrey, ed. New Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel (2nd ed. 2 vol. 1994); 1521pp

Primary sources

  • Herzl, Theodor. A Jewish state: an attempt at a modern solution of the Jewish question‎ (1896) full text online
  • Herzl, Theodor. Theodor Herzl: Excerpts from His Diaries‎ (2006) excerpt and text search

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Theodor Herzl, the seminal leader of early Zionism.

Zionism is the belief that the Jewish people should return to the Land of Israel.


  • Zionism proceeds from the assumption that the Jews are still a people or nation, many of whom cannot or will not assimilate themselves to other peoples, and wish to retain their identity as a national community.
    • The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia, 5th ed. 1977, art. Zionism, p.2016.
  • Zionism is as old as the Babylonian Exile, which began in 586BCE. Separation from the Land of Israel as they were being led into captivity by their conquerors rested crushingly upon the spirits of the Jewish exiles; a longing for the homeland consumed them. Turning in the direction of Judah, they then took an awesome vow: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy" (Psalms 137:5-6).
    • Nathan Ausubel, The Book of Jewish Knowledge, art. Zionism p.526
  • Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word — which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly — it would be this: At Basel, I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. Perhaps in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will know it.
    • Theodor Herzl in a diary entry, (3 September 1897), a few days after the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, as quoted in'Nonstate Nations in International Politics: Comparative System Analyses (1997) by Judy S. Bertelsen, p. 37
  • Anti-Zionists, last of all, exhibit a distaste for certain words. It was Thomas Hobbes who, anticipating semantics, pointed out that words are counters, not coins; that the wise man looks through them to reality. This counsel many anti-Zionists seem to have neglected. They are especially disturbed by the two nouns nationalism and commonwealth, and by the adjective political. And yet these terms on examination are not at all upsetting.
    Jewish nationalism means no more than recognition of the peoplehood of Israel, and of the propriety of that people's being a religio-cultural group in America, a nationality in Eastern Europe, and in Palestine an actualized nation.
    Nor is the word political more horrendous, even when it precedes Zionism. For what does it signify? It refers either to methods for realizing the Zionist objective or to the objective itself. If to the former, it denotes the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and their transactions with the Mandatory Power and others on immigration into Palestine and related problems. If this be political Zionism, what can be wrong with it? Anyone wishing Jews to be free to enter Palestine knows that governments must be dealt with and understandings negotiated. Or are there some so naive as to approve of results but not of the only means for attaining them?
  • The idea that Zionism is essentially racist is only consistent with the view that all nationalism is a form of racism. In that case all states that claimed to be based on nationalism would need to be removed as well. Anti-Zionism, however tends to argue one or some of the following ideas:
    (a) Jews are not a nation
    (b) Jews are only identifiable by attachment to Judaism as religion
    (c) there is only tenuous evidence linking Jews to Torah historical accounts
    (d) the Jews come from Eastern Europe, not the Middle East
    (e) Jews are not a homogeneous group
    (f) Jews have collaborated with oppressors (Imperialism, the Nazis)
    (g) Zionism inevitably means oppressing the Palestinians.
    There are of course other views. These arguments all lead to an uncomfortable position that whereas all other self-declared nationalisms have validity, the Jews have no such claims. Yet in different ways the arguments about Zionism can be easily adopted to almost all other national situations. Yet no one asks ‘So exactly how is it that you are Australian?’ This question is posed to Jews a great deal. While there are honorable Anti-Zionist positions they are few. On the whole Anti-Zionism is close to, or a mask for, Anti-Semitism.
  • Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs.
    • Mohandas Gandhi in Gandhi's Collected Works, Vol 74 (1938) [4][5]

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
Look up Zionism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ZIONISM. One of the most interesting results of the antiSemitic agitation (see Anti-SEMITIsm) has been a strong revival of the national spirit among the Jews in a political form. To this movement the name Zionism has been given. In the same way that anti-Semitism differs from the Jew-hatred of the early and middle ages, Zionism differs from previous manifestations of the Jewish national spirit. It was originally advocated as an expedient without Messianic impulses, and its methods and proposals have remained almost harshly modern. None the less it is the lineal heir of the attachment to Zion which led the Babylonian exiles under Zerubbabel to rebuild the Temple, and which flamed up in the heroic struggle of the Maccabees against Antiochus Epiphanes. Without this national spirit it could, indeed, never have assumed its present formidable proportions. The idea that it is a set-back of Jewish history, in the sense that it is an unnatural galvanization of hopes long since abandoned for a spiritual and cosmopolitan conception of the mission of Israel, is a controversial fiction. The consciousness of a spiritual mission exists side by side with the national idea. The great bulk of the Jewish people have throughout their history remained faithful to the dream of a restoration of their national life in Judea. Its manifestations have suffered temporary modifications under the influence of changing political conditions, and the intensity with which it has been held by individual Jews has varied according to their social circumstances, but in the main the idea has been passionately clung to.

The contention of some modern rabbis that the national idea. is Messianic, and hence that its realization should be left to the Divine initiative (e.g. Chief Rabbi Adler, Jewish Chronicle, 25th November 18 9 8), is based on a false analogy between the politics of the Jews and those of other oppressed nationalities. As all Hebrew politics were theocratic, the national hope was necessarily Messianic. It was not on that account less practical or less disposed to express itself in an active political form. The Messianic dreams of the Prophets, which form the framework of the Jewish liturgy to this day, were essentially politiconational. They contemplated the redemption of Israel, the gathering of the people in Palestine, the restoration of the Jewish state, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the re-establishment of the Davidic throne in Jerusalem with a prince of the House of David. How little the dispersed Jews regarded this essentially political programme as a mere religious ideal is shown by their attitude towards the pseudo-Messiahs who endeavoured to fulfil it. Bar Cochba (A.D. 117-138) lived at a period when a Jewish national uprising might well have been exclusively political, for the dissolution of the kingdom was 1 Christians of the 4th century removed the name to the S.W. hill, and this tradition has persisted until modern times, when archaeological and topographical evidence has re-identified Sion with the E. hill.

scarcely half a century old, and Palestine still had a large Jewish population. None the less Bar Cochba based his right to lead the Jewish revolt on Messianic claims, and throughout the Roman Empire the Jews responded with enthusiasm to his call. Three centuries later Moses of Crete attempted to repeat Bar Cochba's experiment, with the same results. In the 8th century, when the Jews of the West were sufficiently remote from the days of their political independence to have developed an exclusively spiritual conception of their national identity, the Messianic claims of a Syrian Jew named Serene shook the whole of Jewry, and even among the Jews of Spain there was no hestitation as to whether they had a right to force the hands of Providence. It was the same with another pseudo-Messiah named Abu-Isa Obadia, who unfurled the national banner in Persia some thirty years later.

During the middle ages, though the racial character of the Jews was being transformed by their Ghetto seclusion, the national yearning suffered no relaxation. If it expressed itself exclusively in literature, it was not on that account undergoing a process of idealization. (Cf. Abrahams's Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, pp. 24-25.) The truth is that it could not have expressed itself differently. There could have been no abandonment of national hopes in a practical sense, unless the prospect of entering the national life of the peoples among whom they dwelt had presented itself as an alternative. Of this there was not the remotest sign. The absence of militant Zionism during this period is to be accounted for partly by the want of conspicuous pseudo-Messiahs, and partly by the terror of persecution. Unlike the modern Greeks, the medieval Jews could expect no sympathy from their neighbours in an agitation for the recovery of their country. One may imagine what the Crusaders would have thought of an international Jewish conspiracy to recapture Jerusalem. In the 15th century the aversion from political action, even had it been possible, must have been strengthened by the fact that the Grand Signor was the only friend the Jews had in the world. The nationalist spirit of the medieval Jews is sufficiently reflected in their liturgy, and especially in the works of the poet, Jehuda Halevi. It is impossible to read his beautiful Zionide without feeling that had he lived another twenty years he would have gladly played towards the pseudo-Messiah David Alroy (circa 1160) the part that Akiba played towards Bar Cochba.

The strength of the nationalist feeling was practically tested in the 16th century, when a Jewish impostor, David Reubeni (circa 1530), and his disciple, Solomon Molcho (1501-1532), came forward as would-be liberators of their people. Throughout Spain, Italy and Turkey they were received with enthusiasm by the bulk of their brethren. In the following century the influence of the Christian Millenarians gave a fresh impulse to the national idea. Owing to the frenzy of persecution and the apocalyptic teachings of the Chiliasts, it now appeared in a more mystical form, but a practical bias was not wanting. Menasseh ben Israel (1604-1657) co-operated with English Millenarians to procure the resettlement of the Jews in England as a preliminary to their national return to Palestine, and he regarded his marriage with a scion of the Davidic family of Abarbanel as justifying the hope that the new Messiah might be found among his offspring. The increasing dispersion of the Marranos or crypto-Jews of Spain and Portugal through the Inquisition, and the persecution of the Jews in Poland, deepened the Jewish sense of homelessness the while the Millenarians encouraged their Zionist dreams. The Hebraic and Judeophil tendencies of the Puritan revolution in England still further stirred the prevailing unrest, and some Jewish rabbis are said to have visited England in order to ascertain by genealogical investigations whether a Davidic descent could be ascribed to Oliver Cromwell. It only wanted a leader to produce a national movement on a formidable scale. In 1666 this leader presented himself at Smyrna, in the person of a Jew named Sabbatai Zevi (1626-1676), who proclaimed himself the Messiah. The news spread like wildfire, and despite the opposition of some of the leading rabbis, the Jews everywhere prepared for the journey to Palestine. Not alone was this the case with the poor Jews of Lithuania and Germany, but also with well-to-do communities like those of Venice, Leghorn and Avignon, and with the great Jewish merchants and bankers of Hamburg, Amsterdam and London. Throughout Europe the nationalist excitement was intense. Even the downfall and apostasy of Sabbatai were powerless to stop it. Among the wealthier Jews it partially subsided, but the great bulk of the people refused for a whole century to be disillusionized. A Messianic frenzy seized upon them. Encouraged on the one hand by Christian Millenarians like Pierre Jurien, Oliger Pauli, and Johannes Speeth, pandered to by Sabbataic impostors like Cardoso, Bonafoux, Mordecai of Eisenstadt, Jacob Querido, Judah Chassid, Nehemiah Chayon and Jacob Franks, and maddened by fresh oppressions, they became fanaticized to the verge of demoralization.

The reaction arrived in 1778 in the shape of the Mendelssohnian movement. The growth of religious toleration, the attempted emancipation of the English Jews in 1753, and the sane Judeophilism of men like Lessing and Dohm, showed that at length the dawn of the only possible alternative to nationalism was at hand. Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786) sought to prepare his brethren for their new life as citizens of the lands in which they dwelt, by emphasizing the spiritual side of Judaism and the necessity of Occidental culture. His efforts were successful. The narrow nationalist spirit everywhere yielded before the hope or the progress of local political emancipation. In 1806 the Jewish Sanhedrin convened by Napoleon virtually repudiated the nationalist tradition. The new Judaism, however, had not entirely destroyed it. It had only reconstructed it on a wider and more sober foundation. Mendelssohnian culture, by promoting the study of Jewish history, gave a fresh impulse to the racial consciousness of the Jews. The older nationalism had been founded on traditions so remote as to be almost mythical; the new race consciousness was fed by a glorious martyr history, which ran side by side with the histories of the newly adopted nationalities of the Jews, and was not unworthy of the companionship. From this race consciousness came a fresh interest in the Holy Land. It was an ideal rather than a politico-nationalist interest - a desire to preserve and cherish the great monument of the departed national glories. It took the practical form of projects for improving the circumstances of the local Jews by means of schools, and for reviving something of the old social condition of Judea by the establishment of agricultural colonies. In this work Sir Moses Montefiore, the Rothschild family, and the Alliance Israelite Universelle were conspicuous. More or less passively, however, the older nationalism still lived on - especially in lands where Jews were persecuted - and it became strengthened by the revived race consciousness and the new interest in the Holy Land. Christian Millenarians also helped to keep it alive. Lord Ashley, afterwards Lord Shaftesbury, Colonel Gawler, Mr Walter Cresson, the United States consul at Jerusalem, Mr James Finn, the British consul, Mr Laurence Oliphant and many others organized and supported schemes for the benefit of the Jews of the Holy Land on avowedly Restoration grounds. Another vivifying element was the reopening of the Eastern Question and the championship of oppressed nationalities in the East by the Western Powers. In England political writers were found to urge the re-establishment of a Jewish state under British protection as a means Of assuring the overland route to India (Hollingsworth, Jews in Palestine, 1852). Lord Palmerston was not unaffected by this idea (Finn, Stirring Times, vol. i. pp. 106-112), and both Lord Beaconsfield and Lord Salisbury supported Mr Laurence Oliphant in his negotiations with the Porte for a concession which was to pave the way to an autonomous Jewish state in the Holy Land. In 1854 a London Jew attempted to float a company "for the purpose of enabling the descendants of Israel to obtain and cultivate the Land of Promise" (Hebrew Observer, 12th April). In 1876 the publication of George Eliot's Daniel Deronda gave to the Jewish nationalist spirit the strongest stimulus it had experienced since the appearance of Sabbatai Zevi.

It was not, however, until the spread of anti-Semitic doctrines through Europe made men doubt whether the Mendelssohnian denationalization of Judaism possessed the elements of permanency that the Jewish nationalist spirit reasserted itself in a practical form. As long as the anti-Semites were merely polemical, the nationalists were mute, but when in Russia their agitation took the form of massacres and spoliation, followed by legislation of medieval harshness, the nationalist remedy offered itself. In 1882 several pamphlets were published by Jews in Russia, advocating the restoration of the Jewish state. They found a powerful echo in the United States, where a young Jewish poetess, Miss Emma Lazarus, passionately championed the Zionist cause in verse not unworthy. of Jehuda Halevi. But the movement did not limit itself to literature. A society, "Chovevi Zion," was formed with the object of so extending and methodizing the establishment of agricultural colonies in Palestine as to make the eventual acquisition of the country by the Jews possible. From the beginning it was a great success, and branches, or "tents" as they were called, were established all over the world. At the same time two other great schemes for rescuing the Jewish people from oppression were brought before the public. Neither was Zionist, but both served to encourage the Zionist cause. One was due to the initiative of Mr Cazalet, a financier who was interested in the Euphrates Valley, Railway project. With the assistance of Mr Laurence Oliphant he proposed that the concession from the Porte should include a band of territory two miles wide on each side of the railway, on which Jewish refugees from Russia should be settled. Unfortunately the scheme failed. The other was Baron de Hirsch's colossal colonization association (see Hirsch, Maurice De). This was neither political nor Zionist, but it was supported by a good many members of the "Chovevi Zion," among them Colonel Goldsmid, on the ground that it might result in the training of a large class of Jewish yeomen who would be invaluable in the ultimate settlement of Palestine. (Interview in Daily Graphic, 10th March 1892.) None of these projects, however, proved sufficiently inspiring to attract the great mass of Jewish nationalists. The Chovevi Zion was too timid and prosaic; the Hirsch scheme did npt directly appeal to their strongest sympathies. In 1897 a striking change manifested itself. A new Zionist leader arose in the person of a Viennese journalist and playwright, Dr Theodore Herzl (1860-1904). The electoral successes of the anti-Semites in Vienna and Lower Austria in 1895 had impressed him with the belief that the Jews were unassimilable in Europe, and that the time was not far distant when they would be once more submitted to civil and political disabilities. The Hirsch scheme did not, in his view, provide a remedy, as it only transplanted the Jews from one uncongenial environment to another. He came to the conclusion that the only solution of the problem was the segregation of the Jews under autonomous political conditions. His first scheme was not essentially Zionist. He merely called for a new exodus, and was ready to accept any grant of land in any part of the world that would secure to the Jews some form of self-government. The idea was not new. In 1566 Don Joseph Nasi had proposed an autonomous settlement of Jews at Tiberias, and had obtained a grant of the city from the Sultan for the purpose. In 1652 the Dutch West India Company in Curacao, in 1654 Oliver Cromwell in Surinam, and in 1659 the French West India Company at Cayenne had attempted similar experiments. Marshal de Saxe in 1749 had projected the establishment of a Jewish kingdom in South America, of which he should be sovereign; and in 1825 Major M. M. Noah purchased Grand Island, in the river Niagara, with a view to founding upon it a Jewish state. All these projects were failures. Dr Herzl was not slow to perceive that without an impulse of real enthusiasm his scheme would share the fate of these predecessors. He accordingly resolved to identify it with the nationalist idea. His plan was set forth in a pamphlet, entitled The Jewish State, which was published in German, French and English in the spring of 1896. It explained in detail how the new exodus was to be organized and how the state was to be managed. It was to be a tribute-paying state under the suzerainty of the Sultan. It was to be settled by a chartered company and governed by an aristocratic republic, tolerant of all religious differences. The Holy Places were to be exterritorialized. The pamphlet produced a profound sensation. Dr Herzl was joined by a number of distinguished Jewish literary men, among whom were Dr Max Nordau and Mr Israel Zangwill, and promises of support and sympathy reached him from all parts of the world. The haute finance and the higher rabbinate, however, stood aloof.

The most encouraging feature in Dr Herzl's scheme was that the Sultan of Turkey appeared favourable to it. The motive of his sympathy has not hitherto been made known. The Armenian massacres had inflamed the whole of Europe against him, and for a time the Ottoman Empire was in very serious peril. Dr Herzl's scheme provided him, as he imagined, with a means of securing powerful friends. Through a secret emissary, the Chevalier de Newlinsky, whom he sent to London in May 1896, he offered to present the Jews a charter in Palestine provided they used their influence in the press and otherwise to solve the Armenian question on lines which he laid down. The English Jews declined these proposals, and refused to treat in any way with the persecutor of the Armenians. When, in the following July, Dr Herzl himself came to London, the Maccabaean Society, though ignorant of the negotiations with the Sultan, declined to support the scheme. None the less, it secured a large amount of popular support throughout Europe, and in 1910 Zionism had a following of over 300,000 Jews, divided into a thousand electoral districts. The English membership is about 15,000.

Between 1897 and 1910 the Zionist organization held nine international Congresses. At the first, which met at Basel, a political programme was adopted on the following terms: "Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine. For the attainment of this purpose the Congress considers the following means serviceable:

  • (1) The promotion of the settlement of Jewish agriculturists, artisans and tradesmen in Palestine.
  • (2) The federation of all Jews into local or general groups, according to the laws of the various countries.
  • (3) The strengthening of the Jewish feeling and consciousness.
  • (4) Preparatory steps for the attainment of those governmental grants which are necessary to the achievement of the Zionist purpose."

Subsequent congresses founded various institutions for the promotion of this programme, notably a People's Bank known as the Colonial Trust, which is the financial instrument of political Zionism, a National Fund for the purchase of land in Palestine and a Palestine Commission with subsidiary societies for the study and improvement of the social and economic condition of the Jews in the Holy Land. For the purposes of these bodies about 400,000 was collected in small sums and invested. Very little practical work of any abiding value, however, was accomplished, and on the political side the career of Zionism had up to the end of 1910 proved a failure.

In May 1901 and August 1902 Dr Herzl had audiences of the Sultan Abdul Hamid, and was received with great distinction, but the negotiations led to nothing. Despairing of obtaining an immediate charter for Palestine, he turned to the British government with a view to securing a grant of territory on an autonomous basis in the vicinity of the Holy Land, which would provisionally afford a refuge and a political training-ground for persecuted Jews. His overtures met with a sympathetic reception, especially from Mr Chamberlain, then Colonial Secretary, and Earl Percy, who was Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs (October 1902). At first a site for the proposed settlement was suggested in the Sinai peninsula, but owing to the waterless character of the country the project had to be abandoned. Then Mr Chamberlain, who in the interval had paid a visit to Africa, suggested the salubrious and uninhabited highlands of the East Africa Protectorate, and in 1903 the British government formally offered Dr Herzl the Nasin Gishiu plateau, 6000 sq. m. in area. No such opportunity for creating a Jewish self-governing community had presented itself since the Dispersion, and for a moment it seemed as if Zionism were really entering the field of practical politics. Unhappily it only led to bitter controversies, which nearly wrecked the whole movement. The British offer was submitted to the Sixth Congress, which assembled at Basel in August 1903. It was received with consternation and an explosion of wrath by the ultra-nationalist elements, who interpreted it as an abandonment of the Palestine idea. By his personal influence Dr Herzl succeeded in obtaining the appointment of a commission to examine the proposed territory, but its composition was largely nationalist, and in the following year the Congress gladly availed itself of certain critical passages in the report to reject the whole scheme.

Meanwhile Zionism had suffered an irreparable blow by the death of Dr Herzl (1904). He was succeeded by Mr David Wolffsohn, a banker of Cologne, but there was in truth nobody who in ability and personal dignity and magnetism could take his place. The movement was further shaken by the dissensions which followed the rejection of the East African project. Mr Israel Zangwill led an influential minority which combined with certain non-Zionist elements to found a rival organization under the name of the JTO (Jewish Territorial Organization) with a view to taking over the East African offer or to establish an autonomous place of refuge elsewhere. Thus freed from all moderating elements, the Zionists hardened into an exclusively Palestinian body, and under the auspices of Mr Wolffsohn fresh negotiations were opened with the Porte. These, however, were rendered finally hopeless by the Turkish revolution, which postulated a united Ottoman nationality, and resolutely set its face against any extension of the racial and religious autonomies under which the integrity of the Empire had already severely suffered.

During 1905-1910, the Jewish national idea, for all practical purposes, was in a state of suspended animation. The recovery of the Holy Land appeared more distant than ever, while even the establishment of an independent or autonomous Jewish state elsewhere, for which the JTO was labouring, had encountered unexpected difficulties. On the rejection of the British offer by the Zionists Mr Zangwill approached the Colonial Office, but he was too late, as the reserve on the Nasin Gishiu plateau had already been officially withdrawn. The JTO then turned its attention to Cyrenaica, and an expedition to examine the country was sent out (1908), but it was not found suitable. A project for combining all the Jewish organizations in an effort to secure an adequate foothold in Mesopotamia in connexion with the scheme for the irrigation of that region was subsequently proposed by Mr Zangwill, but up to January 1911 it had not been found practicable. The JTO, however, did valuable work by organizing an Emigration Regulation Department for deflecting the stream of Jewish emigration from the overcrowded Jewry of New York to the Southern states of the American Union, where there is greater scope for employment under wholesome conditions. For this purpose a fund was formed, to which Mr Jacob Schiff contributed £100,000 and Messrs Rothschild £ 20,000.

Although the Zionist organization was numerically strong - indeed, the strongest popular movement Jewish history had ever known - its experience from 1897 to 1910 rendered it very doubtful whether its nationalist aspirations could, humanly speaking, ever be fulfilled. From Turkey, either absolutist or democratic, it appeared hopeless to expect any willing relaxation of the Ottoman hold on Palestine, while in the event of a dissolution of the Empire it was questionable whether Christendom - and especially the Roman and Greek Churches - would permit the Holy Land to pass to the Jews, even though the Holy Places were exterritorialized. Should these obstacles be overcome, still more formidable difficulties would await the Jewish state. The chief of these is the religious question. The state would have to be orthodox or secular. If it were orthodox it would desire to revive the whole Levitical polity, and in these circumstances it would either pass away through internal chaos or would so offend the modern political spirit that it would be soon extinguished from outside. If it were secular it would not be a Jewish state. The great bulk of its supporters would refuse to live in it, and it would ultimately be abandoned to an outlander population consisting of Hebrew Christians and Christian Millenarians.

Modern Zionism is vitiated by its erroneous premises. It is based on the idea that antisemitism is unconquerable, and thus the whole movement is artificial. Under the influence of religious toleration and the naturalization laws, nationalities are daily losing more of their racial character. The coming nationality will be essentially a matter of education and economics, and this will not exclude the Jews as such. With the passing away of antisemitism, Jewish nationalism will disappear. If the Jewish people disappear with it, it will only be because either their religious mission in the world has been accomplished or they have proved themselves unworthy of it.


  • A Zionist bibliography has been published by the Federation of American Zionists.
  • Besides the works already cited in the body of this article, see on the early nationalist movement Graetz, Geschichte der Juden, under the heads of the various pseudo-Messiahs and their adherents.
  • Jewish agricultural colonies will be found discussed very fully in The Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. i. pp. 240-262.
  • For early Zionist projects see Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, No. 8, pp. 75-118; Laurence Oliphant, Land of Gilead; Mrs Oliphant, Life of Laurence Oliphant, pp. 168 et seq.
  • The Zionist movement since 1895 is fully recorded in its official organ, Die Welt (Vienna).
  • For proceedings of the Congresses see the Official Protocols published for each year by the society "Erez Israel" of Vienna; also Herzl, Der Baseler Congress (Vienna, 1897).
  • On the movement generally, see Herzl's. Zionistische Schriften, edited by Dr Leon Kellner; Ten Years of Zionism (Cologne, 1907); Nordau, Zionism, its History and its Aims (London, 1905); J. de Haas, Zionism, Jewish Needs and Jewish Ideals; also articles by I. Zangwill in Cosmopolis (October 1897), Contemporary Review (October 1899) and Fortnightly Review (April 1910); Dr Gaster in Asiatic Quarterly Review (October 1897); H. Bentwitch in Nineteenth Century (October 1897), and Fortnightly Review (December 1898); Reich in Nineteenth Century (August 1897); Lucien Wolf in Jewish Quarterly Review (October 1904: "The Zionist Peril").
  • On the JTO see pamphlets and leaflets published by the Jewish Territorial Organization; also the Report of the Commission on Cyrenaica (London, 1909). (L. W.)

<< Zion

Zircon >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




From "Zion" + "-ism".

Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. The Jewish national liberation movement which proclaims that the Jewish people constitute a nation and are entitled their national homeland.
  2. A religion practiced by people all over sub-Saharan Africa and is most popular in Swaziland. The religion is a mixture of Protestantism and Animism.

Related terms


Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Movement looking toward the segregation of the Jewish people upon a national basis and in a particular home of its own; specifically, the modern form of the movement that seeks for the Jews "a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine," as initiated by Theodor Herzl in 1896, and since then dominating Jewish history. It seems that the designation, to distinguish the movement from the activity of the Chovevei Zion, was first used by Matthias Acher (Birnbaum) in his paper "Selbstemancipation," 1886 (see "Ost und West," 1902, p. 576; Aḥad ha-'Am, "'Al Parashat Derakim," p. 93, Berlin, 1903).


Biblical Basis.

The idea of a return of the Jews to Palestine has its roots in many passages of Holy Writ. It is an integral part of the doctrine that deals with the Messianic time, as is seen in the constantly recurring expression, "shub shebut" or "heshib shebut," used both of Israel and of Judah (Jer 30:7, 1; Ezek 39:25; Lam. ii. 14; Hos 6:11; Joel iv. 1 et al.). The Dispersion was deemed merely temporal: "The days come . . . that . . . I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof . . . and I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land" (Amos 9:14; comp. Zeph 3:20); and "I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon" (Zech 10:10; comp. Isa 11:11). In like strain the Psalmist sings, "O that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad" (Ps 147; comp. cvii. 2, 3). According to Isaiah (ii. 1-4) and Micah (iv. 1-4), Jerusalem was to be a religious center from which the Law and the word of the Law were to go forth. In a dogmatic form this doctrine is more precisely stated in Deut 30:1-5.

Relation to Messianism.

The belief that the Messiah will collect the scattered hosts ( (missing hebrew text) ) is often expressed in Talmudic and midrashic writings; even though more universalistic tendencies made themselves felt, especially in parts of the Apocryphal literature (see Jew. Encyc. viii. 507, s.v. Messiah). Among Jewish philosophers the theory held that the Messiah b. Joseph "will gather the children of Israel around him, march to Jerusalem, and there, after overcoming the hostile powers, reestablish the Temple-worship and set up his own dominion" (ib. p. 511b). This has remained the doctrine of Orthodox Judaism; as Friedländer expresses it in his "Jewish Religion" (p. 161): "There are some theologians who assume the Messianic period to be the most perfect state of civilization, but do not believe in the restoration of the kingdom of David, the rebuilding of the Temple, or the repossession of Palestine by the Jews. They altogether reject the national hope of the Jews. These theologians either misinterpret or wholly ignore the teachings of the Bible and the divine promises made through the men of God."

Rejected by Reform Judaism.

The Reform wing of the Synagogue, however, rejects this doctrine; and the Conference of Rabbis that sat in Frankfort-on-the-Main July 15-28, 1845, decided to eliminate from the ritual "the prayers for the return to the land of our forefathers and for the restoration of the Jewish state." The Philadelphia Conference, Nov. 3-6, 1869, adopted as the first section of its statement of principles the following: "The Messianic aim of Israel is not the restoration of the old Jewish state under a descendant of David, involving a second separation from the nations of the earth, but the union of all the children of God in the confession of the unity of God, so as to realize the unity of all rational creatures, and their call to moral sanctification." This was re-affirmed at the Pittsburg Conference, Nov. 16-18, 1885, in the following words: "We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community; and we therefore expect neither a return to Palestine, nor a sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning a Jewish state."

In Talmudic Times.

Historically, the hope of a restoration, of a renewed national existence, and of a return to Palestine has existed among the Jewish people from olden times. After the first Exile, the Jews in Babylonia looked forward continually to the reestablishment of their ancient kingdom. However much the Jews spread from land to land, and however wide the dispersion and consequent Diaspora became, this hope continued to burn brightly; and from time to time attempts were made to realize it. The destruction of the Temple by Titus and Vespasian (70 C.E.) was perhaps the most powerful factor in driving the Jews east, south, and west. Nevertheless, in a short time the hope of a restoration was kindled anew. The risings under Akiba and Bar Kokba (118) soon followed; and the Jews drenched the soil of Palestine with their blood in the vain attempt to regain their national freedom against the heavy hand of the Roman power. Despite these checks, the idea of the restoration persisted and became a matter of dogmatic belief; as such it finds expression in Jewish literature, both prose and poetic. The Talmudic writings as a whole, while making suitable provision for the actual circumstances under which the Jews lived, are based upon the idea that at some time the ancient order of things will be reestablished, and the old laws and customs come again into vogue. These hopes found expression in numerous prayers which from time to time were inserted in the ritual. Various calculations were made as to when this time would arrive, e.g., in the eighth century ("Revelations of R. Simeon b. Yoḥai") and in the eleventh century (Apoc. Zerubbabel; see Zunz, "Erlösungsjahre," in "G. S." iii. 224; Poznanski in "Monatsschrift," 1901). The idea was given a philosophic basis by those who treated of Jewish theology. And the singers, both of the Synagogue and the home, were fervid in their lament for the glory that was past and in their hopes for the dignity that was to come (see Zionides).

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
Facts about ZionismRDF feed

Simple English

Zionism is the belief that there should be a Jewish country in Israel.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address