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 remarkable 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 many 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 circulate. He concludes with a dramatic account of the cataclysmic occasions of worldwide struggle II, the clandestine immigration of Holocaust survivors, the tragic ignored 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 nation on an historical land. Laqueur's new preface analyzes the present-day problems, and locations them right into a ancient context.
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Additional resources for A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel
Admired by many, bitterly denounced by others, Moses Mendelssohn became a landmark in modern Jewish history, not so much because of what he did, as for what he was: the very symbol of Jewish emancipation. Despite the reimposition of restrictive laws, social assimilation made rapid progress during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Many Jews moved from the villages into larger towns, where they could find better living quarters; they sent their children to non-Jewish schools and modernised their religious service.
It absorbed during its first years of statehood a population of immigrants three times larger than the population already living in the country, a feat unique in the annals of mankind. 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).
There were roughly two hundred thousand in Germany, one-quarter of them concentrated in Posen, the eastern district recently acquired by Prussia as a result of the partition of Poland. Most of them still lived in the countryside; few had been permitted to reside in the big cities. Berlin, for instance, counted barely three thousand in 1815. The bürger, and especially the city guilds, were strongly opposed to Jews settling in their midst. During the Middle Ages many had engaged in usury and other base forms of trade.
A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel by Walter Laqueur