The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia

By Maurine H. Beasley; Holly C. Shulman et al. | Go to book overview

Z

ZIONISM. Eleanor Roosevelt’s view of Zionism, the modern political movement to reestablish a Jewish nation in Palestine, evolved over the years. Initially an anti-Zionist, she eventually became a steadfast supporter of the state of Israel.* With her death in 1962, Israel lost one of its most important American allies.

During her husband’s presidency, ER’s interest in Zionism was a direct outgrowth of her concern for Jewish refugees* fleeing Nazi persecution. In 1940 she became honorary chairwoman of Youth Aliya, which encouraged settlement of Jewish children in Palestine. Originally founded in Germany, it was in the United States a part of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. But ER considered Zionism itself an unfortunate example of Jewish particularism. She did not embrace the concept of a Jewish state. She believed that Jews* could maintain their separate religious identity and still be “natives of the land in which they live” (Lash, 109).

In World War II,* ER was exposed to widely divergent Jewish positions on Zionism through personal meetings with international Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann of Britain and anti-Zionist American Rabbi Morris Lazaron. ER, however, was most influenced by one of her husband’s advisers, Isaiah Bowman, who was president of Johns Hopkins University and a State Department expert on the Middle East. Bowman asserted not only that Palestine would be unable to absorb a large influx of Jews but that Anglo-American forces would be required to protect the newcomers from an overwhelmingly hostile Arab world. He believed such military protection for Jews thousands of miles away would increase anti-Semitism in the United States. ER, after meeting with Bowman in 1944, agreed with him that Palestine could not be the national

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The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations and Charts ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Chronology of Eleanor Roosevelt’s Life and Career xxiii
  • Well-Known Quotations by Eleanor Roosevelt xxvii
  • A 1
  • B 44
  • C 75
  • D 122
  • E 152
  • F 166
  • G 204
  • H 222
  • I 267
  • J 278
  • K 287
  • L 294
  • M 323
  • N 359
  • O 383
  • P 396
  • R 425
  • S 474
  • T 509
  • U 531
  • V 542
  • W 549
  • Y 591
  • Z 596
  • Index 599
  • Editors 618
  • Contributors 619
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