The origins of Zionism

Authored by: Colin Shindler

The Routledge Handbook on the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  March  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415778626
eBook ISBN: 9780203079553
Adobe ISBN: 9781136160691


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Zionism grew out of the French revolutionary tradition and the Jewish and European enlightenments – with the Bible as a cultural and historical backdrop. It was a progeny of early nineteenth-century European nationalism – when nationalism belonged to the left rather than the right. In part, it took as the paradigm the national revolutionary movements that arose in post-Napoleonic Europe which sought their independence from the great empires that were restored after Waterloo. There was a cross-fertilization between movements, spawning an internationalism which appealed to the Jewish sense of universalism. As early as 1792, an international army, fighting for the French revolutionary forces, had defeated the Prussians at Valmy and at Jemappes.

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