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By Walter Laqueur

Walter Laqueur lines Zionism from its beginnings - with the emancipation of ecu Jewry from the ghettos within the wake of the French Revolution - to 1948, whilst the Zionist dream grew to become a truth. He describes the contributions of such amazing figures as Benjamin Disraeli, Moses Hess, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, and Sir Herbert Samuel, and he analyzes the seminal achievements of Theodor Herzl, Chaim Weitzmann, and David Ben Gurion.

Laqueur outlines the variations among a number of the Zionist philosophies of the early 20th century - socialist, Communist, revisionist, and cultural utopian - and he discusses either the non secular and secular Jewish critics of the circulate. He concludes with a dramatic account of the cataclysmic occasions of worldwide warfare II, the clandestine immigration of Holocaust survivors, the tragic neglected possibilities for co-existence with either the Arab citizens of Palestine and people within the surrounding nations, and the fight to forge a brand new country on an old land. Laqueur's new preface analyzes the present-day problems, and locations them right into a old context.

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Extra info for A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel

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One is the ultra-Orthodox, or haredi, camp, which in Eastern Europe had rejected and fought Zionism tooth and nail from the very beginnings of the movement. In Palestine, too, there had long been a small anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim neighborhood and in a few other areas as well, which kept strictly apart from the Jewish community and its organizations. But since 1948 ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods have greatly expanded (due in part to the high birth rate in ultra-Orthodox families).

Testing their theories against more recent historical events, they now doubt whether the mortally wounded Yosef Trumpeldor ever said at Tel Hai that it was good to die for one’s country. Sometimes their arguments were inconsistent: on the one hand they maintain that the Zionists should never have settled in Palestine in the first place, but at the same time they blame them for not having done enough to save European Jewry during World War II. According to them, Zionists persuaded Jewish displaced persons to move on to Palestine after World War II even though the refugees were reluctant to do so.

For them, Jerusalem symbolized the negative past of Jewish history, that part of the tradition from which they wanted to disassociate themselves. The idea that Jerusalem was the beginning and the end of Zionism, that Israel could not exist without having full sovereignty over the entire city, emerged only after 1967 and with the growth of a religious fanaticism and aggressive nationalism that had more in common with the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood than the founding fathers of Zionism. And so, guarding the holy sites has become a nightmare and Jerusalem itself has become a dangerous flashpoint.

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A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel by Walter Laqueur


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