When I first began this project I fully expected to understand that there was some connection between colonialism and Zionism. Although my sense was that Zionism did not really approach the exploitation and cruelty that existed in Europe’s colonial outposts, there was some connection. I thought there might have been some elements of that system in place to offer enough to define it as colonialist. While I found some similarities, there was nothing that categorized early Jewish settlement in Palestine to be colonial.

Of course, to do so sheds a different light on the Zionist experience. It would have shattered another so-called myth about the return of the Jews to Zion. If it can be proved that it was born out of the immorality of colonialism, it would be a great coup for Zionism’s enemies. They would then be able to direct a total illegitimacy on the movement. It would add to the already mounting opposition to the existence of the State of Israel. Would it have any effect ultimately? I don’t know. But, I was pleased to learn that traditional scholarship does not agree with the Post Zionist assertion that Zionism is colonialism.

After taking a second look at the history, Ran Aaronsohn, Moshe Lissak, and other conventional researchers I did not cover in this piece are convinced that the settlement of Jews in Palestine in the late nineteenth century was legitimate, honest and understandable, given the Jews’ position in Europe at that time. And, there is a body of evidence growing only in the last five years or so in reaction to the revisionist onslaught that began in the 80s. 


Larry Hart




Jewish community examiner

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