Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-v

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-xviii

read more

Foreword

Natan Sharansky

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xix-xxii

The Zionist idea gave me— and millions of others— a meaningful identity. In June 1967, when I was nineteen, the call from Jerusalem— “The Temple Mount Is in Our Hands”— penetrated the Iron Curtain. Democratic Israel’s surprising victory in the Six-Day War, defeating Arab dictatorships threatening to destroy it, inspired many of us all over the world to become active participants in Jewish history. This notion that the Jews are a people with collective rights to establish a Jewish state in our ancient homeland, the Land of Israel, connected us to something...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xxiii-xxvi

Although I first absorbed the Zionist idea in the home of my parents, Elaine and Bernard Dov Troy, I first encountered Arthur Hertzberg’s book The Zionist Idea at Camp Tel Yehudah, the summer home of Young Judaea, America’s largest Zionist youth movement. While steeping us in Zionist thought back when we loved arguing Zionism— and life— into the night, the book taught me and my peers that conversations about Zionism often bubble over: exploring Jewish civilization, interpreting Jewish history, confronting modernity, critiquing society, understanding nationalism....

read more

Introduction. How Zionism’s Six Traditional Schools of Thought Shape Today’s Conversation

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xxvii-lvii

In the beginning was the idea, the Zionist idea. In 1959, when the rabbi, historian, and Zionist leader Arthur Hertzberg published what would become the classic Zionist anthology in English, the State of Israel was barely a decade old. The Zionist idea, recognizing the Jews as a people with rights to establish a state in their homeland, Eretz Yisra’el, was still relatively new. True, Zionism had biblical roots. True, Jews had spent 1,878 years longing to rebuild their homeland after the Romans destroyed the Second Temple. True, Europeans had spent more than a century...

Part One. Pioneers: Founding the Jewish State

read more

1. Pioneers: Political Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 3-34

Political Zionism identified the fundamentals that still define the Zionist project. As the Russian Jewish novelist Peretz Smolenskin exclaimed, “We are a people”— the Jews share national ties, not merely religious ones. Beyond that, as the Zionist pioneer Leon Pinsker and others proclaimed, this people, like all peoples, needed and deserved a state: “Since the Jew is nowhere at home, nowhere regarded as a native, he remains an alien everywhere.” Finally, as Theodor Herzl discovered by the mass Jewish rejection of his Kenya Highlands– Uganda proposal in 1903, Jews...

read more

2. Pioneers: Labor Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 35-62

Labor Zionism envisioned a Jewish working class settling in Palestine and constructing a progressive Jewish society— treating Political Zionism as the start, not the end, of the journey. These left-wing Zionists were sufficiently realistic— and scarred— to reject Marxism’s faux cosmopolitanism, the delusion that class solidarity transcended Europe’s addiction to ethnic, religious, and national hatreds. Nevertheless, they did not just want to solve the Jewish Problem, or fashion a strong and self-sufficient New Jew. They wanted to save the world by creating a new...

read more

3. Pioneers: Revisionist Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 63-84

Treating Revisionist Zionism simply as a reaction to the moderation of Political Zionism and the leftism of Labor Zionism is like considering the winter merely the absence of the heat of summer and the colors of fall. Shaped by the fertile, farseeing, flamboyant mind of Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky, honed— and sometimes distorted— by his followers, Revisionist Zionism fully envisioned who the New Jew should be and what the Jewish state should and should not do....

read more

4. Pioneers: Religious Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 85-102

Although many Zionists rejected rabbinic authority and strictures, the Zionist movement was deeply, quintessentially Jewish. Religious Jews had been building a case for a Jewish return to the homeland long before Theodor Herzl in the 1890s— or Moses Hess in the 1860s. Religious Zionists sought heavenly redemption and national redemption. Among the early leading Religious Zionists, some paralleled the emerging Zionist conversation yet remained distant; others worked within the Zionist movement itself....

read more

5. Pioneers: Cultural Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 103-124

To those who assume the Jewish national home must be a Jewish state, Ahad Ha’am may be the most enigmatic Zionist. The Hebrew essayist and founder of Cultural Zionism Asher Zvi Ginsberg chose the Hebrew pen name Ahad Ha’am, meaning “one of the nation,” to emphasize his Zionist faith that pairing this long-exiled people with its long-longed-for land would revolutionize both. Yet he harbored the galut Jew’s doubts that this crazy scheme to reestablish Jewish sovereignty could succeed.

It takes greatness to be so wrong yet so right. Ahad Ha’am’s Cultural...

read more

6. Pioneers: Diaspora Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 125-140

With more than half of today’s Jewish population living in Israel, it is hard to see Zionism in historical proportion. From 1880 to 1920, as two million Eastern European Jews moved to America, barely 115,000 moved to Palestine. Yet despite being so marginal demographically, Zionism threatened American Jewry ideologically: American Jews had arrived in the Golden Medina; they did not want to feel caught between dueling Promised Lands.

Steeped in liberal ideals and committed to helping other Jews, American Zionism...

Part Two. Builders: Actualizing and Modernizing the Zionist Blueprints

read more

7. Builders: Political Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 143-182

Political Zionism was never just about survival, although it often looked that way. Political Zionism was the home of Israel’s realists, first in their sober assessment of European antisemitism, then in their defense against Israel’s Arab neighbors. Nevertheless, Theodor Herzl’s romantic, utopian, European liberal nationalism animated this realism with idealism. As the State of Israel found its footing, its leaders remembered that Zionism was the Jewish people’s national liberation movement, charged with developing a nation-state that could be a light unto the...

read more

8. Builders: Labor Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 183-210

As a movement shaped by Jewish history and Western civilization, with many of its founders shtetl born, Zionism began with an Eastern European accent. As such, the Eastern European search for a classless society shaped early Zionism. Yet, in many ways it was a mismatch. Marxism, after all, rejected nationalism, Judaism, particularism, and Zionism itself.

Labor Zionism worked, however— more than most forms of socialism— because Zionists were not crusading communists seeking perfection, but pragmatic Jews accepting imperfect solutions to messy...

read more

9. Builders: Revisionist Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 211-232

Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the Israeli right’s ideological father, was a complex thinker with a rich legacy. His ideological heir, Menachem Begin, maintained Jabotinsky’s mix of individualistic, rights-oriented democracy and proud nationalism, although other followers rejected this balance. Moreover, the Labor Party’s dominance during the state’s first three decades embittered the displaced Jabotinskyites.

Three key moments reflecting Menachem Begin’s democratic restraint, triumph, and deployment of power shaped the Israeli right during Israel’s...

read more

10. Builders: Religious Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 233-266

The State of Israel’s founding transformed the Religious Zionist discussion. Underlying practical questions about riding buses on the Sabbath and selling bread on Passover were deeper questions about this new state’s meaning and Judaism’s new opportunities to thrive back home in its natural habitat, the Land of Israel. Even for secular Jews, the debate about the Jewishness of the state pitted the Zionist quest for normalcy against the Jewish mission seeking universal justice. And, if Religious Zionists first tried explaining how Jewish tradition justified creating a...

read more

11. Builders: Cultural Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 267-290

The State of Israel’s establishment proved Ahad Ha’am doubly wrong. The visionary Cultural Zionist could not imagine the Jewish people creating a state. Nor could he appreciate just how creative and inspiring that political act would be.

In fact, the resulting Jewish renewal revived the national spirit with Israel at the center radiating toward the other Jewish communities. Cultural Zionism not only survived; it became the defining ideology for many Diaspora Jews, especially Americans. At the same time, a Jewish cultural...

read more

12. Builders: Diaspora Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 291-328

American Zionism’s grand synthesis worked. Justice Louis Brandeis Americanized Zionism by imbuing it with progressivism and treating it as mass philanthropy to save other Jews. By the early 1940s, most American Jews had embraced Political Zionism, albeit belatedly. The Holocaust proved that Jews needed a state in Palestine, not just a restored homeland. The Biltmore Program, endorsed by six hundred Zionist delegates from eighteen countries in May 1942 at New York’s Biltmore Hotel, urged “that the gates of Palestine be opened” to some two million Jews and that...

Part Three

read more

13. Torchbearers: Political Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 331-362

By 1948 the West had endorsed the Zionist idea. A Jewish state giving refuge to Nazism’s survivors made sense to many. Most Westerners now considered the Jews a stateless people looking for a home while acknowledging that an ethnic group could have a religious identity too.

Today, many Western intellectuals reject both assumptions. Many European and American progressives repudiated ethnic nationalism following the Holocaust, the sixties’ ideological rebellion, the rise of the European Union, then, the Trump-Brexit-Le Pen counterreaction....

read more

14. Torchbearers: Labor Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 363-388

David Ben-Gurion’s insight that the Jews were rebelling against their own personalities and not just political conditions continued to shape the Zionist mission in the twenty-first century. Zionism, the political scientist Shlomo Avineri explained, is a “permanent revolution,” constantly seeking economic and social equality, not just national survival and dignity (Shlomo Avineri, “Zionism as a Permanent Revolution,” in The Making of Modern Zionism [(New York: Basic, 2017), 227– 39]). Even as Kibbutzim privatized and the Labor Party stopped dominating Israeli...

read more

15. Torchbearers: Revisionist Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 389-414

The right wing’s dominance of Israeli politics demonstrated the many mismatches between the term “Revisionist Zionism” and the stream of Zionism it spawned. The label was always too reactive and too vague, obscuring Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s liberal nationalist vision of a free nation with free enterprise balancing individualism and collectivism to restore the Jewish people’s hadar, glory. At the same time, even as governing tensions splintered the right, that Jabotinsky-inflected, Menachem Begin implemented mix of democracy, dignity, with just a touch of demagoguery,...

read more

16. Torchbearers: Religious Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 415-438

Religious Zionists in the twenty-first century alternated between breast beating and chest thumping. Religious Zionists were far more mainstream and prominent in the state than they had been in 1948. From the network of Religious Zionist schools to the cadres of Religious Zionist Israel Defense Forces officers, Religious Zionists felt accepted, powerful, and proud of their place in Israel.

Yet, the Oslo withdrawals, the Yitzhak Rabin assassination, the Gaza Disengagement, and tides of secular postmodernism alienated many...

read more

17. Torchbearers: Cultural Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 439-474

Israel in the twenty-first century was surprisingly modern. Gone were the days of endless waits on bank lines and for telephone lines. Delight in conveniences coexisted with nostalgia for simpler, more communal times. Both Ahad Ha’am and Theodor Herzl had won. The country was a center of Jewish spirituality, learning, and pride, with a rich Jewish culture that gave the most avowedly “secular” Israeli Jew a deep, normalized, 24–7 connection to the Jewish calendar, language, rituals, and values. The country was politically stable, socially progressive, and culturally...

read more

18. Torchbearers: Diaspora Zionism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 475-502

As Israel approached its fiftieth birthday in 1998, the conversation about Israel and the Diaspora changed dramatically. With the launching of the Oslo Peace process, the first stirrings of what became Start-Up Nation, and the emergence of its Jewish community as nearly half the world’s Jewish population, Israel seemed increasingly stable. The Soviet Union’s collapse and the airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel had saved the two Jewish communities most endangered physically by antisemitism. American Jews, looking at spiking intermarriage rates, increasingly worried...

Source Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 503-518

Sources

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 519-539