By Walter Laqueur

Walter Laqueur strains Zionism from its beginnings - with the emancipation of eu Jewry from the ghettos within the wake of the French Revolution - to 1948, while the Zionist dream grew to become a fact. He describes the contributions of such outstanding 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 diversities among a few of the Zionist philosophies of the early 20th century - socialist, Communist, revisionist, and cultural utopian - and he discusses either the spiritual and secular Jewish critics of the circulation. He concludes with a dramatic account of the cataclysmic occasions of worldwide conflict 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 international locations, and the fight to forge a brand new kingdom on an historical land. Laqueur's new preface analyzes the present-day problems, and locations them right into a historic context.

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

Sample text

In recent decades there has been a notable decline in the quality of national leadership; those who could and should have been leaders were put off by the rough-and-tumble of Israeli politics and looked instead for fulfillment in other fields of endeavor. Such a decline in the quality of leadership has taken place in countries throughout the world. But a newly created and embattled country such as Israel, a country by no means universally accepted, needs an enlightened and farsighted leadership more than any other.

To the Revisionist Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky, a nationalist in the liberal nineteenth-century mold, the anti-Western, isolationist character of today’s right-wing Zionism would have been incomprehensible and repugnant. What caused such changes to the character of post-independence Zionism? Probably it was the annus mirabilis of 1967, which culminated in a nationwide abandonment of a sense of reality regarding the newly acquired land. The rise of worldwide fundamentalism might also have played a part, as well as a decline in the quality of national leadership.

They were not Zionist pioneers, as the early settlers from Eastern and Central Europe had been, and their expectations were high. They were unwilling to put up with the living conditions in the hastily constructed development towns to which they had been sent. They expected the state to take better care of their social and economic needs, but the state was not financially able to do so. And even if the state had done more, they would still have had legitimate complaints about European paternalism and a lack of national respect for their culture and traditions.

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