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, while the Zionist dream grew to become a truth. 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 many 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 battle 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 country on an old land. Laqueur's new preface analyzes the present-day problems, and locations them right into a historic context.
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Additional resources for A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel
There was a great deal of affectation in the exalted conversation and in the letters exchanged, an artificial ardour, a sensibility that did not always ring true. Their libertinism struck their contemporaries and the succeeding generation as very wicked; Graetz refers to these goings-on in almost apoplectic terms. Today it all seems naïve and tedious, but at that time whoever did not possess the depth of feeling demanded by contemporary fashion tried at least to go through the right motions of sentimentality and emotional ecstasy.
It had ‘throttled generations and drowned centuries in blood’; by what moral right could it demand the baptism of the Jews? But a critique of Christianity did not necessarily involve an attachment to Judaism. Free-thinking attitudes spread among those who came after Mendelssohn, and the third generation was even more remote from established religion. A leading orthodox rabbi wrote in 1848 about the young Jews of his time, that nine-tenths of them were ashamed of their faith. Statements like these abound; they were perhaps not meant to be taken literally but they indicated a general trend.
Many hundreds of new cities, towns, and suburbs came into being. While for years Israel depended on outside financial help, it gradually became economically independent. Its standard of living is comparable to that of many European countries, it has a vibrant cultural life, with many universities, theaters, and symphony orchestras, and its scientific institutions are second to none (as indeed Herzl had envisaged). In reports produced by international organizations that measure various types of economic and social progress, Israel usually appears among the first ten or twenty countries.