Zionism a 'Terrible Enemy' of Jewish People

Cape Times (South Africa), March 10, 2010 | Go to article overview

Zionism a 'Terrible Enemy' of Jewish People


BYLINE: Yakov M Rabkin

All Jews are Zionists. All Zionists are Jews. All Jews support Israel. These cliches are not only wrong; they are dangerous.

What is Zionism?

Zionism is a product of European history. Among the many tendencies within Zionism, the one that has triumphed formulated four objectives:

l to transform the transnational and extraterritorial Jewish identity centred on the Torah into a national identity, like ones then common in Europe;

l to develop a new national language based on biblical and rabbinical Hebrew;

l to transfer the Jews from their countries of origin to Palestine; and

l to establish political and economic control over the land, if need be by force.

While other European nationalists, such as Poles or Lithuanians, needed only to wrest control of their countries from imperial powers to become "masters in their own houses," Zionists faced a far greater challenge in trying to achieve their objectives.

Both Zionists and their opponents agree that Zionism and the state of Israel constitute a break with Jewish history, a break that began with the emancipation and the secularisation of European Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Secularisation, which affected many Jews in Europe, was not the only factor in the emergence of Zionism. Another was resentment by some conservative circles of the entry of Jews into European society, which coalesced into the secular ideology of racial or scientific antisemitism.

It emerged in Europe alongside racial theories that "proved" the superiority of the white Nordic race. Unlike Christian anti-Judaism, which aims at salvation through conversion, modern antisemitism considers Jews to be a race or a people intrinsically alien to Europe, its population and its civilisation.

Traditionally, Jews are distinguished by their adherence to religious practices and moral values. In contrast, antisemitic ideology attributes to Jews inborn negative characteristics. During World War 2 the Nazis applied this "scientific" approach on a mass scale, murdering several million Jewish civilians from a dozen European countries.

The Zionist ideology also assumes that Jews from different countries belong to the same ethnic group going back to the Biblical Hebrews.

This is the founding myth of the Zionist movement and of the state of Israel, established by Zionists in 1948. However, this founding Zionist myth has come under attack with the recent publication of Professor Shlomo Sand of Tel-Aviv University (The Invention of the Jewish People). He argues that the Jewish people, as an ethnic concept, was simply "invented" for the needs of Zionism in the late 19th century: to form a nationalist movement one needs to have a nation.

While Zionists replicated the antisemites' view of the Jews as a distinct people or race, most Jews rejected Zionism from the very beginning when they saw that Zionists played into the hands of their worst enemies, the antisemites: the latter wanted to be rid of Jews while the former wanted to gather them to Palestine.

The founder of Zionism, Theodore Herzl, considered antisemites "friends and allies" of his movement.

Zionism has been a break with traditional Judaism and its cult of humility and accommodation. It has been an attempt to transform the pious Jew relying on divine providence into a secular Hebrew relying on his own power.

"Our claim to this land could be put in a nutshell: God does not exist, and he gave us this land."

This is how an Israeli colleague wittily summarised the origins of the Zionist movement.

Zionism turned prayers and messianic expectations into calls for political and military action, ignoring the fact that Jewish tradition discourages collective, let alone violent, return to the Promised Land: this return is to be operated as part of the messianic redemption of the entire world. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Zionism a 'Terrible Enemy' of Jewish People
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.