There is a school of thought arising out of the Post Zionist debates to revise and change the beginning years of the Zionist movement. A serious polemic has arisen in the Hebrew academic community among several disciplines as to what might have been the history of Israel at that time. These academics, sometimes termed “New Historians,” have re-written the early Zionist experience to include it in the same category as the colonial ventures that took place in Europe over the last 500 years.

Their conclusions are not based on the specific history on the ground, but rather on analysis of the “universal context of immigration and settlement and in the framework of a colonialist model.”[1] In other words, this aspect of the debate is driven by the desire to place the Zionist experience within a particular historical and sociological framework. However, this creates a problem for the researcher. Normative history tends to categorize all facets into one neat package, thereby missing some elements normally looked at in conventional research.  What is lost is the uniqueness that all histories possess in a given example. In the case of nineteenth century colonialism, the researcher is then able to conclude all colonialisms are similar, no matter how or why they originated. In order to make an honest assessment of its beginnings, it is important to understand the entire history of the Zionist movement and any relation it might have had, or not had, with the colonial movements of nineteenth century Europe.

The advent of the Jewish State has brought into question the original motives of Zionism. Is Zionism, and therefore, the modern state of Israel, one of the colonial outposts still in existence from those drastic mistakes of the nineteenth century? Post Zionists claim that this it is true. The words of Ilan Pappe, one of the better-known “New Historians,” provides a good example: “The State of Israel was created with the aid of Western colonialism. It intentionally uprooted the Palestinian population and justified this retroactively on the basis of Jewish `uniqueness’ resulting from the Holocaust.”[2] Or, was the Zionist movement of the nineteenth century nothing more than a movement designed to liberate Jews from persecution and tyranny? Even though the Zionist enterprise possesses some similarities to the classical colonial ventures from the nineteenth and twentieth century, I would argue the latter for several reasons. This paper will cover the history of the Zionist movement and its distinctions to the colonialist movements of the European states during the last half of the nineteenth century. The distinctions between Zionism and other European colonial movements are profound in several areas. The following are some of those distinctions.

Since Zionist Jews were a population spread throughout Europe and had no allegiance to any particular European land, its focus was drawn to the ancient Jewish homeland of what was then known as Palestine. It was this land, which was already inhabited, which led to the accusation of colonial settlement. In contrast to the other European nationalist movements, Zionists did not have the luxury to conduct their nation building on their own soil. Because of a circumstance of history, they first had to declare themselves a nation reborn and then create the settlement in their homeland. It was this extra step in promoting their emancipation that led to a conflict that has yet to be resolved even until the present time.

Zionism was a national movement that did not grow out of a mother country, the only one in Europe to do so. This is significant because the evidence will show that because settlement was not connected to any European power, its survival depended largely on the personal investment of individuals. The settlers themselves gave up life savings to move there. Members of Hovevei Zion, the supporting organization of Zionism with branches all over Europe, periodically asked for and received donations to help support struggling Zionist Jews in Palestine. The biggest contributor was Baron de Rothschild. Without his philanthropic patronage it is doubtful whether Zionist settlement would have been able to succeed in the area.

The element of religion, which was classically not part of any colonial movement outside of Europe, was specific to Zionism. The evidence suggests that the Jews had a religious, historical connection that bound them to the land of Palestine. Suggestions of possible alternative homelands were categorically dismissed because they held no connection for the Jewish people. Palestine was the only logical place for the Jews to settle. They recognized it as their historical homeland. Indeed, for them, there was no other place to go.

There has been an unbroken link of Jewish existence in Palestine going back to the time when people first began to divide off into differing select communities. Kingdoms, nations, territorial designations tied certain people to certain places. The Jews have an aboriginal connection to the land of Israel. When the first pioneers came to Palestine, there were Jews already living there since the destruction of the second temple more than 1700 years earlier. Albeit it was small colony, it was a remnant, a faint echo of a civilization in the past. There is no European nineteenth century colony that can make that assertion.

The “New Historians” sometimes mistake the Arab-Israeli conflict with Jewish claims to the land and Arab resistance to those claims as a classic example of a colonial oppressor trying to exert its influence over an oppressed people. In fact, the evidence will show that not only was this not a colonial venture, but that toleration and conciliation for Arab indigenous people to Palestine was part of the early view of Zionist thinking. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that it was the Arabs who sought to exert their influence over Jews under their control.  Their own national concerns grew out of fear, ignorance, and a general loathing for Jewish emancipation in the Muslim world.

Finally, a definition of terms is appropriate. If one is to maintain intellectual honesty on the Zionist settlement, it must be recognized that colonization is quite different from colonialism. The Jews did identify themselves with the colonial movement as is evident in some of their infrastructure. For example “The Colonial Trust.” But this has to be taken in the context of the time: The high hopes for European colonialism not only to make the white man rich in Europe, but to bring the rest of the “backward world” up to the civilized level of Western culture.

The Zionist movement was not colonial in nature and did not follow the same course as other European countries. It cannot qualify for colonial status according to the conventional researchers who set the standards for such things. It had elements in its national character that were unique only to the Jewish people. It was an egalitarian movement designed to emancipate a nation, not enslave others.

This is not to dismiss the similarities between the colonial nature of the typical nineteenth century nation-state and the Zionist movement. The early Zionists were definitely influenced by the revolutionary leaders of that time. Zionism was exclusively a European movement and the first Jewish settlers in Palestine were largely European. The building of nation-states, the idea of nationalism, and the desire to connect with others according to language, cultural heritage, and geographic influences swept up European Jewry as it did other Europeans. The need to express oneself in this manner was a powerful inducement to band together and form a cohesive unit for economics, security, and advancement in the world.

All of these concepts will be covered in this paper. At the end of this exercise the conclusion will show that Zionism was not a colonial enterprise and it is erroneous to classify it as such. I will attempt to point out the evidence that shows Zionism and its subsequent political history to be unique to any other nineteenth century colonization.


The Nation-State and its Colonies


A new world was emerging in Europe. A series of revolutions in 1789, 1830 and 1848 set in motion a reversal of tyranny that had plague Europe and its people for centuries. These revolutions gave birth to the idea of social democracy and furthered the concept of personal liberty exampled by the young United States across the ocean. Along with the Industrial Revolution, these historic moments had profound influences on the thought and ideals of nineteenth century Europe.[3]

The result was the birth of the modern nation-state. Nationalism, as personified by the independent state gave people a sense of pride as separate entities. The inevitable cultural ties of language, style of dress, cuisine, customs and traditions bound them together as cohesive and unified peoples.[4] The issue of separateness became more important as these national entities took shape and formed their particular constituencies. This aided in drawing new boundaries both real and imagined as the people of Europe incorporated a healthy competition between them. Some sought expansion as a way of increasing power. In order to continue to grow, they proliferated their respective spheres of influence accordingly, by setting up colonies in less developed lands to expand their national wealth.

Colonialism was not new to the nineteenth century. But, as a resource for international power and wealth, the foreign colony became more important as the home country became more dependent on the advantages that it provided. The needs and demands from these enterprises became subsequently more oppressive. Seeds of rebellion were planted as the colonized resented the colonizer.

What began, as a valuable resource with seemingly endless possibilities for the people of Europe, became a liability to the home countries. Unable to back out of the colonial system without doing significant damage to their economies, the home countries were forced to take drastic steps to insure their investments. During the first half of the twentieth century they bolstered their presence with large military forces, which took its toll on the countries treasuries as well as public opinion. Most people today regard European colonialism at best a dismal failure and at worst a modern evil only a step or two behind Nazism and Communism. It is not uncommon to associate it with racism, imperialism, jingoism, fascism, ethnocentrism, and authoritarianism.

The Jewish experience during this time was a little different. Most national movements that brought people together under one flag on the European continent had a significant portion of Jews among their citizenry. They were swept up with the same enthusiasm as the rest of Europe. They had been looking for centuries for a way to end the scourge of Jewish hatred, which had by this time become endemic in European thinking.  However, even with the new ideas of equality and social justice, brought about by the social revolutions during the first half of the nineteenth century, Jews found themselves no better off than they were under the absolute, church orientated monarchies of Christian Europe. Some Jews, disappointed, began to think in terms of a separate nation, apart, but no less equal than the other newly formed nationalist enterprises of Europe.  “As long as the Jew denies his nationality, as long as he lacks the character to acknowledge that he belongs to that unfortunate, persecuted, and maligned people, his false position must become ever more intolerable.”[5] It was believed that if Jews could govern themselves in their own Jewish country, as Germans in Germany or the English in England, then they would earn the respect and tolerance they had sought for centuries.

By the 1880s and 90s, certain Jewish thinkers were calling for such a state to be built. Many felt that the time of Jewish emancipation had come. Called Zionism, the Jewish nation was reborn in 1897 at the first Zionist congress in Basle, Switzerland led by Theador Herzl.


 Proto Forerunners: The Connection to History


One of the main arguments asserted in which the Jewish return to Palestine was different from other European colonial endeavors, was that virtually every colony established by Europe any where in the world held no previous history of that European power with the land and culture they were colonizing. The Jews have an aboriginal connection to modern day Israel that stretches back several thousand years. It was the recognition of this connection, which drove the Zionist movement to first establish settlements and eventually a sovereign state within the bounds of historical Palestine. In contrast, the Europeans were driven by less noble economic considerations greatly accelerated by the onslaught of the Industrial Revolution.

The entry of Europe into India in the seventeen hundreds had been done precisely for economic considerations. Competing states, England, Holland, Denmark and France all established trading companies in order to promote the consumption of the country’s resources for the benefit of their prospective states. By the early 1800s England emerged as the sole colonizer of India. The British had no previous history with the Asian subcontinent. Their foray at that time represented their own particular interests and not to any particular national or ethnic connection to the people, the land, or the culture.

The French moved into Algeria in 1830. Within four years they annexed the North African country and began a policy of forcing French culture on the Algerian people. Naturally Muslim by religion, and Arabic by culture, there was great resistance to this movement. The French finally had to leave in 1962. They had no historical connection to the Mahgreb state. With growing opposition from the international community and from the French public itself they were left with no reason to stay. This is how most colonial endeavors ended. With no traditional depth to the land or culture, they were doomed to fail from the start.

The Jewish connection to Palestine, which Jews call “Eretz Yisrael” (The Land of Israel), is long and deep. There is no doubt that Jews have had a continual presence in that land during the last 2000 years. And, in antiquity the Jews held sovereignty for long periods of time. Although attempts were made, the realization of the Jewish return to Palestine remained a dream until certain political realities lent themselves to a window of opportunity for the Jews to return. Through the modern Zionist movement they took full advantage of that opportunity.

After the destruction of the Temple and the brief independence of the Jewish State in the second century C.E., they never lost sight of their desire to return. To cement this idea, Jews codified their return into their liturgy. By doing so they reminded every generation that came after them that no generation of practicing Jews can deny their historic rights of return to  “Eretz Yisrael.”

That return was fueled by the prospect of divine intervention. Jews had successfully reserved a part of their religion, which served as the foundation of their continuity anywhere they lived, to construct a basis of their return through the advent of a messiah. As long as the Jewish religion remained alive, the idea of return would not die. Only through a religious base could a “hope” be maintained century after century until the proper time arrived. While other civilizations died out, their memories of homelands past died out with them. The Jewish people’s story is unique from others in that the Jewish religion was used to keep these connections alive.

Stories in history surfaced from time to time indicating that Jews, through some leader, made several failed attempts at regaining the ancient homeland. Within the context of their religious beliefs, these leaders were thought of, and at times thought of themselves as the Messiah. And, when they failed in their “divine” mission, they were then tagged as  “false Messiahs.”  The difference between these “false Messiahs” and the men and women that brought about the modern Zionist movement, was that Zionism was protected by a shield of political liberalism and enlightened liberal thinking. In the centuries previous to the French Revolution, religion, sometimes darkened by the narrowed thinking of its adherents, labeled these people Messiahs because of a lack of any other way to explain their actions. All these “false Messiahs” had certain things in common, like a reputation for the performance of miracles. They would pop up usually in places where Jews were being persecuted. Some made more of an impact than others, and have become part of the literature that has distinguished itself as part of Jewish history. For our purposes they might be considered proto-forerunners in the creation of Zionism.

One is the account of David Alroy as related by the secular writings of Benjamen of Tudela. Alroy was an interesting character as his place in messianic literature is that of a military man. He carried a mystique that had not been seen since the days of Bar Kochva, 1000 years earlier. He was a twelfth century Persian who sought to gather up the Jews and make war on the Gentile and not stop until he liberated Jerusalem. He frightened the king of Persia enough that he was thrown into prison. Alroy escaped and made his way to Amaria, the city of his birth. There he declared to the Jews a fantastic story of how he escaped from the king and his police through divine magic. He was believed by some to be the Messiah. All this disrespect angered the King immensely and the Jews of Persia were about to pay the price of annihilation. Betrayed by his father-in-law, Alroy was assassinated for a handsome sum of money.  After his death the Jewish community was forced to pay one hundred talents of gold to placate the wrath of the king.[6]

Another rather well known “false messiah” was Shabbtai Zvei. During his time Jews in Ghetto life were ripe for some kind of miracle to take them out of the darkness of despair and persecution. Zvei filled that void. Through his intermediary, Nathan of Gaza, Zevi was presented to the people in 1665 as the Messiah who would lead the Jews back to Eretz Yisrael. He influenced thousands. He made pilgrimages from city to city gathering up support from the Jewish communities ultimately on the way to Jerusalem.  Excitement rose up in the Jewish communities everywhere. People really thought this was it. But, Zvei was stopped at Constantinople. Like Alroy, Shabbtai Zevi was betrayed not by a family member but by a rival who might have been a Turkish plant or another would be Messiah. After a conversation with Zevi he denounced him as a fake and reported it as such to the Turkish Sultan. Zevi was then called to see the Sultan and given the choice between conversion to Islam or death. He chose conversion and changed his name to Aziz Mehmend Effendi and lived the rest of his days with a royal pension and the title “keeper of the gates.”[7]

Most “false Messiahs” came and went with stories that were similar to these two. However, the point here is that these “false Messiahs” were the by products of a religious people who believed in the full return of their land when the time would be right.

In some colonial enterprises religion plays a role. However, in the nineteenth century it never was the driving influence behind any colony set up by any European power. The Zionists took this deep, entrenched idea of long ago belonging to a particular place on Earth, and merged that belief with the liberal nationalist ideas common for nineteenth century Europe.




The nineteenth century forerunners worked at their craft with slightly more of an advantage than the previous prototypes. They lived in secular social democratic environments that encouraged freethinking and were not encumbered by the darkness of middle age narrow mindedness and superstition. All of these people were obscure. It was only years later when it became clear how important these thinkers were.

Mordechai Manual Noah was an American schoolteacher turned career diplomat. He proposed taking an Island in the Niagara River opposite Buffalo and making an autonomous Jewish homeland where all the persecuted Jews in the world could go to live in “peace comfort and happiness, which have been denied them through the intolerance and misgovernment of former ages.”[8] Noah was never taken seriously, a problem brought on by his eccentricities. But, the implication of his proposition is clear. Like Herzl more than 70 years later, he saw the solution to the Jewish problem as a national solution. He was the first in modern times to do so. He is not well known except to every Israeli school child who learns about Mordechai Noah as part of their curriculum.

There are three accepted nineteenth century forerunners of modern Zionist thought. Two were rabbis. Although they expressed definite interest in re-populating Eretz Yisrael, their religious beliefs never allowed them to advocate return out of need. For Rabbis Alkalai and Kalisher, return was a fulfillment of redemption, a prelude to the Messiah establishing a heavenly kingdom on Earth. The third, a dropout from the Socialist revolution of 1848, Moses Hess was a contemporary of Marx and Engles. These three men lived during the same period but as far as I know, never communicated with one another. Hess did read some of Kalisher’s works, which had some influence on Rome and Jerusalem, published in 1862. These three died never knowing the impact they would have on twentieth century Jews and the founding of the modern State of Israel.[9]


Colonialists or Colonists


Before a determination of whether Zionism constitutes a colonial presence in the political world, it is best to define what is meant by colonialism. Like all political theories colonialism is influenced by the writer who is defining it. Definitions vary from the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, respectively. These definitions are also influenced by the religious and political views of the writer as well. Consequently, the true definition of colonialism is elusive at best. The following are two, which the general researcher might want to consider.

An extension of political and economic control over an area by an occupying state that usually has organizational or technological superiority. Sometimes residents of the colony may be voluntary migrants but often colonization has been a result of imperialism—the imposition of rule by an expanding empire.[10]
 A colonial society, then, is any new society created through the combination, to various degrees, of military control, colonization, territorial dispossession, and the exploitation of native groups that are justified by claims of paramount right or superior culture.[11]


From the writings about colonialism in the twentieth century it is evident that the colonialist idea was in the throws of major changes. Usually from decade to decade, but some would argue that in our own time these changes can almost be measured year to year. As subjugated populations began to rebel against the colonizer, Europeans reassessed their positions in these countries.

Barbara Ward correctly surmised in 1959 “that it was just possible that colonialism, as a recognized principle of political organization, may be on the way out.”[12]  In hindsight her statement coming at the middle of the century was an insightful look by someone who had her finger on the pulse of the colonialist movement. At the beginning of the twentieth century, colonialist projects were in full swing. And, it continued that way through the 1930s. Professor Mary Townsend defined colonialism in 1941:

Colonialism…is employed to describe European expansion in the latter half of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries which carried European influence into those areas mainly peopled with non Europeans; and which established an economic and political control to a greater or less extent over those areas.[13]  


Several European powers were dividing up the remaining non-western countries of the world. Modernist writers like Joseph Conrad wrote classic literature about the time. Exotic places like the African continent were used as the backdrop for Conrad’s stories. It might have been fully accepted literature for the time, but, Conrad would have a hard time finding a publisher today. A lot has changed since the reality of Conrad’s world. No longer is his kind of writing considered mainstream. Today it would be thought of as racist and ethnocentric. But at the beginning of the twentieth century, Conrad was considered quite tame. In Heart of Darkness, published in 1903 he wrote:

The conquest of the Earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretense but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea—something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to.[14]


What Conrad is expressing here, however cynical, is what the Europeans thought about their colonial ventures at the turn of the twentieth century. They felt superior, advanced, and entitled to rule over others. It was the natural role for the western mind and it was reinforced by Christian doctrine. Conrad asserts that if one does not look too deeply into it, the ugliness does not appear. It is “not a pretty thing,” he says, but nevertheless it is redeemed by the “idea” of making a profit, which forgives all in his character’s thinking. At the time of the first Zionist Congress at Basle in 1897 European colonial systems were accumulating huge profits from their colonial outposts. It was only in passing that they were aware of the suffering and degradation they caused in order to absorb the exotic resources that came from other places. One must live without a conscience to participate in the colonial world. It is the profit, according to Conrad, that dulls the human conscience and allows this perversion to continue.

Conrad’s definition clearly identifies the French colonies of Algeria and Tahiti, the British in India and Egypt, and the Italians in Ethiopia. Probably the worst offender of all was the Belge in the Congo. The Belgian King had no compunction about destroying the humanity in that part of the world as long as he acquired his quota for rubber each year.

Like Joseph Conrad, many of the writers in the first half of the twentieth century pointed to economic considerations as a reason for colonialism. “Colonies do afford real commercial advantages to the mother country.”[15]  Europeans came to the exotic lands of Asia, India and Africa, with the intention of trading. Economic considerations have always been the original emphasis on the initial colonial encounter.

However, for Zionism this was not the case. The Jews did not come to Palestine to trade with the local inhabitants. Jews came out of a religious tradition that had been building up for almost two millennia. A combination of messianic indulgence and nineteenth century liberalism with a healthy dose of collective national spirit was its impetus. This was all fueled by an unyielding sense of Jewish hatred in Europe, which by the 1880s was starting to wear thin upon the Jews’ own self worth. This is far removed from the Belge in the Congo, or the French in Algeria. The Jews came mostly as farmers. The French and Belgians came as overlords.

One can draw all the moral judgments they want on these ventures. However, it cannot be overstated that this was the norm, the countries of western Europe fully expected to take part in colonial polices as a national obligation.

Frantz Fanon wrote extensively on the French occupation of Algeria until they finally left in 1962. Fanon defined for most 1960s angry third world nations the meaning of European, colonial imperialism. Fanon who witnessed the worst that colonialism had to offer, describes the experience on behalf of the oppressed:

The Western bourgeoisie is both productive and parasitical; the colonial bourgeoisie is simply parasitical. Lacking all skill as entrepreneurs, they were content to act as agents for the Western companies. They readily exploited the native proletariat and peasantry, they were completely divorced from and contemptuous of the rural population, they wallowed in luxury goods and invested their money abroad. Far from taking any creative role in the production of national wealth, they gravitated toward intermediary activities as retailers, professional men, lawyers, civil servants, army officers, politicians. [16]


Fanon’s hatred and anger at the west aside, he posits a clear definition of how the colonial appears to the colonized. It is hard to argue with this analysis of unwanted European encroachment to other lands. In the case of the Zionist experience it is just as hard to fit it into Fanon’s model. First, most of the Jews who emigrated from Europe were not “Western Bourgeoisie.” In fact, most came from Russia in the east. Second, they did not come as agents for any company. Third, they did not seek or acquire luxury goods of any kind. They were poor, barely able to survive themselves.

Is Zionist settlement in the nineteenth century a typical colonialist model like others during that time? I would argue that it was not. In fact, if one looks closely at the history, the evidence shows that Zionism is much different from other forms of foreign settlement. Ran Aaronsohn, of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, asserts that in order to see the Zionist model clearly one must distinguish between colonization and colonialism which Professor Aaronsohn argues are not the same thing.

Colonization is a fundamentally geographic phenomenon—whose essence is immigration and the establishment of immigrant settlements in a new land that are distinctive from older traditional settlements—colonialism is a political and economic phenomenon, characterized by the forcible dominion and exploitation of a state over territory and population beyond its own borders.[17]


Whereas colonialism is an expression of a colony tied inextricably to the rule of a foreign country, colonization is settlement, which is only similar to the foreign land where the colonists are from. They operate independently of any outside external force. Professor Aaronsohn maintains that there are fundamental differences between the two phenomena except when the colonized country suffers from colonization by colonialism.

It is possible for one to exist without the other. He sites several examples for each dynamic. Immigration of Jews to Argentina aided by a charitable benefactor was probably not too different than the situation of Baron De Rothschild and Palestine. This is an example where colonization existed without colonial rule. The “Philanthropic Society ICA” financed Jewish settlement and indeed Argentina today, has a sizable Jewish population.  The Italian experience   in Tunisia, was established without any kind of government intervention.[18]

An example of the opposite, colonialism without colonization, would be the Belgian Congo, the British in Sudan and the French in Morocco. These were areas where the home country extracted natural resources, which because of their exotic nature usually brought high demand and high prices in the home countries. Moreover, sometimes the home country would take the raw resource and produce some kind of product that was in demand throughout the western world. Rubber from the Congo was just such a resource. The indigenous population was exploited and the wealth of the country removed, leaving a lost people and a depleted country. And, this was all done in the name of producing a profit.[19]

The last hypothesis that Professor Aaronsohn asserts is colonization by colonialism, which is personified by the French in Algeria, the Italians in Libya, and the Germans in the annexed areas of Poland. This type of exploitation is only slightly better than the previous example. This is the parasitic model that Fanon describes. The French in Algeria colonized the country by building a French settlement and tried in vain to spread French culture. The colonialization of the Algerian people was a dismal failure. The French experiment ended in disaster as they were forced from the country in 1962 after 130 years of rule.[20]

If one accepts that settlement in Palestine was colonization of a migrant people according to Aaronsohn’s theory, then the Jewish experience in Eretz Yisrael cannot be considered equal to the other colonial movements of the time. If comparisons are appropriate, the ones Professor Aaronsohn makes available give an undeniable qualification to his theories. And, he is not the only one to follow this line of reasoning.

…there are no grounds to label the settlement of the various aliyot, waves of immigration, as colonialist. Regardless of subsequent developments and consequences, there is no evidence that it was their intention to dispossess, expel, and suppress the population that was on the land. Their actions can, therefore, be empirically designated as colonization, as Aaronsohn has argued. The term “colonialist,” however, is a normative one and one which is not justified in terms of their intentions.[21]


I would posit that Zionist settlement in Palestine during the last part of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth century would fall into the first category of colonization without colonial rule.[22] The Zionist settlers of the first Aliya came with no government involvement. Even though some outside labor was hired to do some work, it would be wrong to misconstrue this with the general direction of the true economics of Palestine during that time.

Unlike colonial endeavors in which the home country economy takes precedence over the local economy, in Palestine, Jewish settlement economy rose in parallel to the Arab existing economy. Not above it, but along side it and in what some capitalist thinkers might call a healthy competition between them. “This alongside that” is a distinctly anti-colonial, option.[23]

The claim that there existed a segmented market or a split economy” as a  structural expression of the nature of the settlement in Palestine, does not correspond to the facts of the initial stages. The typology invoked by revisionist researchers, according to which, the exploitation of native labor was an indication of the colonialist nature of the settlement project, in fact demonstrates the distance between the Jewish settlement in Palestine form colonial cases.[24]


During the opening years of the first Aliya (1882-1903), Jewish settlers found it almost impossible to survive. Since they had no home country to turn to, they were forced to look in other areas for support.

Crops were meager and initial sources of capital were rapidly consumed while expenses were far greater than the settlers had anticipated…(there were) difficulties that the pioneers faced in trying to establish themselves in a new and unfamiliar region.[25]


They found a benefactor in the person of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the youngest son of the French capitalist banking family. His involvement, beginning in 1882, consisted of two small projects. One, to loan 25,000 francs for digging a well at one existing Moshava, and the other a promise to finance the beginning of a settlement of twelve polish Jews with some experience in farming the following year.  This was a small contribution but his involvement grew as time went on.

In 1883 he agreed to undertake total responsibility for administering the first of the (above mentioned colonies) and two other Hovevei Zion settlements. All three agreements were based on a new principle: transfer of ownership of the settlement’s real estate in exchange for the assumption of full financial responsibility. With the appointment of permanent commissioners to administer these settlements on behalf of the Baron, the period of his official patronage began.[26]


One could argue that the reason for this arrangement was precisely because of the non-colonialist nature of the Jewish settlement in Palestine. Furthermore, it is quite possible without the Baron’s involvement in those early crucial years, Palestine settlement might not have succeeded. As the years rolled on, the Baron’s involvement became more intense. By 1890 the Baron had totally taken over the entire settlement in Palestine. At the request of the settlers his patronage became the life-blood of those early settlement years.

Probably one of the most interesting distinctions between the Jewish return to Palestine and the nineteenth century colonialization by Western Europe is the issue of economic exploitation. Nineteenth century colonialist ventures always showed profits. This was the motivating factor for mother countries to continue and further their investments. Although it was a major aspect in other colonial endeavors it remained absent from Zionist colonization. As has already been shown, Baron Edmond de Rothschild was by far the largest contributor but he was not the only one.  Members of Hovevei Zion from all over Europe gave donations to the help build the fledgling enterprises. Settlers moving there put their life savings behind these projects. They did this without any hope of a monetary return on their investment.

“There is not any factual support for the claim that Rothschild was in practice a ‘hidden capitalist’ who attempted to profit from his activities in Eretz Yisrael.”[27] The Baron’s loans were interest free and were paid back as late as the 1940s. In almost every instance there was no profit to derive other than creating hope for a homeland for Jews to live as a sovereign nation.

Another situation that distinguishes Zionism from other colonial ventures of its day was the lack of need for military conquest.

European settlement in Algeria is directly connected with its conquest by France, and Italian colonization in Libya was only made possible by the military conquest of the land in the face of rebellion and anarchy, Jewish settlement in Palestine did not arouse any organized opposition at the time.[28]


Precisely because the Jews came with no conquering force is significant here. As Aaronsohn explains this is unlike other colonial experiments in the nineteenth century. There was no need for it because the Jews posed no threat to the Ottoman Empire or the local inhabitants of Palestine. However, there was a need for security. The general lawlessness of the area dictated some form of self-protection. In 1903 they formed Ha Shomer, (The Guard). This was the forerunner of the Haganna, which didn’t come for another thirty years.

Moshe Lissak concedes certain “symptoms” of colonialism apparent in early Jewish Palestine. However, Lissak maintains that these symptoms are not enough to categorize Jewish settlement as colonial in nature for two reasons. One, “Jewish immigrants to Palestine possessed a unique motivation — one that set them apart from other movements of settlement.” And two, ”the ideology and socio-economic policies of the Labor Movement prevented such development.”[29]

The Jewish motivation to settle Palestine stemmed from several areas. This is what qualifies Zionism to be so “uniquely” different from other national movements. They were the historical, religious and political connections to the land, which was absent in other colonial movements. However, factors like these were very much a part of European national movements. This was the criteria that often moved peoples in Europe to band together to form nationalist states.

One of the strongest incentives to nation building was language. This is not listed with the other criteria above, but it is not missed by mistake. The Jews, spoke several different languages although most of those from the Eastern Pale of settlement spoke Yiddish. The issue of language was a very important maneuver on the part of the Zionists. Hebrew, the ancient tongue, was only used in prayer and had not been spoken as an everyday language for almost 2500 years.[30]  It was chosen to represent the Jewish people as their official language in their historical homeland. It seemed like a logical step since the importance of language was so dominant in Nineteenth century European nationalism.

In Lissak’s second reason, the labor movement produced ideas, which were distinctly anti-colonial. Certain segments of the movement took firm positions that any prosperity and gain in Palestine must include all people who lived there, Jews and non-Jews alike. Some, warned against Jews taking unfair advantage of the “backward” indigenous Arab.


Conscience of a People


Zionism is defined in certain disciplines to be no better in their acquisition of Palestine for their homeland than any other colonial ventures of the nineteenth century. It is true that in the beginning some Jewish leaders did not want to, or were unable to see the problems that might arise in claiming a land, which already contained an indigineous population. But to say that Zionism was without the conscience that Conrad maintains must be dulled in order to develop a colonial attitude is categorically false. From the earliest beginnings of the organized Zionist movement there were stirrings, rumblings from within the soul of the movement, questioning the morality of what they were doing. In a world when colonial aspirations were thought of as modern, correct, and natural, this was unheard of.

There were bridges to cross in the Jewish conscience that forced the Zionist movement to at least examine their goals and adjust their positions so that their cause would have every possible chance of remaining a moral endeavor. Even if it failed, it would at least raise the consciousness and solidify their self-proclaimed morality.

One of these bridges was Asher Zvi Ginsberg, better known as Ahad Ha’am. An overly modest intellectual dynamo of Hasidic background, he left the life of the pious to find his place in the Jewish enlightenment. Ahad Ha’am’s writings reflected a caution, deliberateness, and a slow methodical approach to establishing any colony for Jews in Palestine. His writing inspired B’nei Moshe, a group of his followers who worked “to raise the moral and cultural tone of the Jewish national revival.”[31]

In his early writings he called on the Jews to re-examine their “national consciousness,” to take the necessary time to enhance the inner spirit of the Jewish soul. He did not deny the existence of the Jewish nation. He only wanted it to be careful in its quests so as not to rush into something that would be dangerous for the Jewish national character. In 1889 he wrote:

…We ought to have made it our first object to bring about a revival—to inspire men with a deeper attachment to the national life, and a more ardent desire for the national well-being.[32]


It wasn’t that Ahad Ha’am did not favor colonization in Palestine, but he wanted it to be built slowly so that a community could rise with the proper spiritual content. Unfortunately, history did not allow the Jews this luxury. The furthest thing from his beliefs was to exploit an indigenous population.  Furthermore, he felt that a national consciousness, or a national will can be expressed and built without a physical land to mark that expression.

If the purpose of the Zionist movement was to change the beleaguered condition of the “despised” Jew, then a physical land was only part of that whole overall emancipation. Later his writings took a more opposing tone to Zionist settlement as he viewed colonization of Palestine with disdain. It is true that Ahad Ha’am’s ideas were a minority view. They never garnered enough support to make a difference. But, he raised the conscience of the movement, so that others after him would be sensitive to these issues even though they did not necessarily believe in his ideas.

Another thinker was Ber Berochov. He was a Marxist who synthesized Zionism and socialism into a workable nationalist movement that did not contradict each other.  He was successful to a degree. He was able to quiet

some of the Marxist criticism of Zionism among some Russian and European “comrades.” The fact that there was already an indigenous population living in Eretz Yisrael, complicated matters for Berochov.  It was necessary to work them into the mix of two peoples sharing the same land under a socialist banner. He regarded the Arabs of Palestine as having “ no independent economic or cultural character.”[33]  In other words there was nothing to bind them into a national movement that might threaten Jewish national aspirations. Berochov was not correct in his assessment of Arab national pride as history as proven.

He foresaw an assimilation of these people into the greater working of his Marxist-Zionist theories. Po’alei Tzion was established by Borochov’s students to bring the Arab worker into their movement. In “Our Platform,” the political agenda of the organization, Berochov wrote in 1906.  “The inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael will adapt themselves to the economic and cultural type that seizes a dominant economic position in the country.”[34]  He believed that the Jews would ultimately take control of the “forces of production,” and the Arabs would acquiesce “economically and culturally” to what ever state the Jews built. Obviously, Berochov was wrong in his perspective. However, he insisted on including them into the Zionist fabric, which gave them relevancy in Zionist thinking.

He had no doubt that Palestine would one day be Jewish. Because of his Marxist thinking, he was ideologically opposed to any kind of exploitation of indigenous workers. No matter what the future held, people like Berochov and his followers would never allow a Bourgeois, proletariat type society.

When Arab nationalism began to grow, Berochov believed that “Palestine would be given to the Jews by the European powers…The wishes of the country’s indigineous population were simply not something that even socialist Zionists had to take into account,”[35] leading to an acquiescence on Berochov’s part that maybe the Arabs were not as important as he once thought.  Be that as it may, again Berochov did not judge the future correctly. The “European Powers” did in fact take the “Indigenous population” into account when they partitioned Palestine in 1947.[36]

Weather he had a bearing on the already socialist thinking dominating the settler’s politics is not clear. However, egalitarian measures were attempted very early on in the movement. They at least tried to offer gestures as early as 1906. That year two different meetings were held by the Po’alei tzion. One, in Ramla, mentioned the organization of Arab workers albeit in the overall context of the more “developed workers from abroad.” Another meeting a few months later in Jaffa, resulted in some members calling for a Jewish-Arab workers organization. [37] They were not successful. But if they had been, perhaps a different history might have been written for Palestine.

Berochov  and Ahad Ha’ Am were two of the people that Moshe Lissak points to as the Labor movement’s ideological conscience. The attempts at organizing Arab and Jewish workers only had a modicum of success. Too much mistrust on both sides prevented them from really building together. Lissak discusses four possible alternative building relationships with the Arabs. Each one is distinctly related positively or negatively to the colonial model. These are “’this upon that,’ ‘this instead of that,’ ‘this together with that,’ and ‘this alongside that.’”[38] The first two are colonial in nature and the last two are non-colonial.  Lissak asserts that the Jews chose the last one to develop with their Arab neighbors. This was evident in all forms, economic, social, and religious.[39]

This is in stark contrast to the parallel Arab movement, which totally rejected Jewish rule over any part of Palestine, shared or otherwise. Consequently, the fledgling cooperation between Jewish immigrants and the Arabs endured a major setback in 1908. The “Young Turk” Revolution was misconstrued as largely run by Jews because it got its start in Salonika, a city with a large Jewish population. In addition, whether this was a factor or not is not clear. But Arabs in Palestine, fearful of Jewish claims to the land, began to exert its own national movement built on the premise of excluding any kind of Jewish autonomy in the country. This naturally raised some red flags among the Jews. However, the kind of aggression that developed between the two sides had nothing to do with colonialism. It had more to do with two peoples beginning to desire the same land, indeed it was the genesis of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

For Arabs, the problems with Jews goes back much further than that however. Even before the Arabs began to organize their own parallel national movement in Palestine, there was a sense of inferiority about Jews that stemmed from the historical Dhimme relationship built out of the early centuries of Shari’a law. It was unthinkable, an affront to Islam, to allow any kind of Jewish self determination in the midst of the Islamic world. Therefore, any Jewish movement to that end had to be thwarted.

This animus was further aggravated by nineteenth century anti-Semitism coming from the West.  When it collided with the Arab perceived superiority over Jews, it consolidated a united front of Arab opposition to a Jewish homeland. As the Arab nationalist movement in Palestine grew, it was spurred on by statements coming out of the west that accused Jews of conspiring against everyone, the Ottomans, the Arabs, as well as the British. In a report filed by the British Embassy in Constantinople, it labeled the “Young Turk” movement as Jewish controlled by saying, “’the oriental Jew is an (sic) adept at manipulating occult forces…’and thought it had taken control of the Ottoman Empire.”[40] This may have been accepted anti-Semitic rhetoric at the time but when spread through the empire, it confirmed Arabs suspicions about Jews in Palestine. However, this did not discourage the Zionist-Socialists. They continued to try to build an all inclusive worker party for many years.

The British, always a complicated people, had another side to their colonial personality. There was a growing situation in the Middle East beginning around the middle of the nineteenth century. The British, as well as others had begun to establish missions in the Ottoman Empire. These missions served as connections, economically, religiously and socially. One can compare them to the functions of foreign embassies in our own time. Colonial expansion was the distinguishing characteristic between these missions and the modern day embassy.

Within these missions, it was necessary to hire local people to run the day-to-day workings of an office. Muslims generally were not hired because Islam forbade them to be subservient to the Christian “infidel.” Consequently, foreign staffers turned toward the minority religions of Christians and Jews. Working closely with these people, getting to know them, their problems, their lives in these foreign lands, caused the European, at times, to intercede on their behalf. First probably on behalf of individuals but later it spread to the whole community.

Many oriental Jews welcomed European colonialism in North Africa and the Middle East, because the Europeans promised to curtail the worst effects of discriminatory legal and social systems that had been an integral part of Jewish life in Arab lands.[41]  


The pressure applied by the west on the Ottoman Empire facilitated reforms. The Ottomans did little to implement these reforms but historians look at this time as a change in the Muslim world in regard to the Dhimmi in their presence. The Dhimmi status may have been formally removed but it still was very much a reality to the common Arab on the street.


Whose land is it anyway?


Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun Magazine dismisses the idea that Zionism was colonial in nature. “The claim that Zionism was essentially an extension of western colonialism makes little sense once one understands the history of oppression of the Jewish people.”[42]

From the standpoint of European Jews, they were not part of the accepted colonial fabric that emanated from the continent. Jews were left out of the loop, so to speak. Unlike the colonials who went seeking fortune and maybe adventure in foreign lands, Jews came to Palestine to escape an unbending oppression, a literal assault on their humanity. “ Most who came to Palestine came to escape conditions of overt physical and legal oppression.”[43] Their motivation was to escape centuries of oppression, not to overpower or exploit some other group.

This is not typical of most colonial movements. It was precisely the power of the colonizing country that enabled them to literally overrun less developed peoples. Often with a very small contingent of soldiers the colonizer succeeded. For example, the British had fewer than two hundred colonists for an extended period of time ruling the whole section of colonial India. How was it that the British colonialists were able to subdue such a huge tract of land inhabited by millions of Indians with only a handful of soldiers and entrepreneurs? A superiority, real or imagined made it possible to contain the peoples of that area.

In the conquest of Mexico by Spain, again there was only a fraction of soldiers who fought untold numbers of Mexica in the Toxcatl Massacre of 1520. In battle type conditions somewhere between fifty or sixty men engaged 600-1000 Mexicans. The result was a slaughter of Monteczuma’s people.[44]  The Europeans obviously had a power over them, which extended into several different spheres, economic, technological, and military.

It can be argued that the Jews came to Palestine with only one of those elements in hand, that being the technological. To that extent a case might be made that this was a colonial endeavor. But I would posit that the argument would be weak without substantial evidence of the other two spheres. Lerner asserts that the Jews had no more “power” than Arabs in the beginning of the Twentieth century. He relates that it was more likely a struggle between two equal groups who were set against each other vying for the same land and one was victorious and the other wasn’t.

This is not to say however, that the Jews were not allied with colonialism in some fashion. Herzl appealed to European countries engaging in colonial rule that a Jewish state would be in their colonial interests. The distaste for colonialism and its oppressive nature was not known in 1900. Western conscience had not yet been raised. The spread of western civilization and its Christian values were a desirable element in European thinking. The Zionist movement obviously saw the benefits if they were to tie their movement to an established European government. But Herzl also petitioned the Ottomans, which indicates pragmatism more than colonialism.




Colonialism has been with the West since the sixteenth century. However, it took on a different role as Europe began to divide off into the nation-states of the Nineteenth century. Jews were enamored with the idea of the French Revolution in 1789. It noted for the first time in history that the past really had no bearing. It is the future that counts. As Arthur Herzberg so aptly put it:

That is why the French and American revolutions remained almost the sacred symbols of modern Jewish thought, even in the age of nationalism. America embarked in 1789 on a new national history, which had no past for reaction to look to, and France had radically broken with its earlier history in its great convulsion.[45]


Is it possible to point to an exact date when the wheels of history began to turn ever so slowly in the direction of emancipating European Jewry? On September 27, 1791, during the chaos and the fever pitch of revolutionary zeal, the National Assembly, which was sort of a provisional government of the now liberated French people, voted to extend their new-found liberty to the Jews. [46]This was a moment that stood in time. On the day before, September 26 of that year, one could look at the Jewish situation and understand it was not that different from five, five hundred or even fifteen hundred years previous. But something changed in the European Jewish experience that next day. Now, the Jews, like the rest of their French brothers could look to the future and disregard their somewhat terrorized past.

However slowly things moved in Europe on the way to full and complete rights for the citizen, they moved even slower for the Jews. The revolution at the end of the eighteenth century marked a turning point. The world had changed forever, and the Jews had changed with it. However, there was no notice taken of it. Jews were shocked, bewildered, and scared, when the French came to their ghetto and broke down the gate that separated them from the rest of the people.

Writers and theorists have struggled to understand the phenomenon of colonialist expansion. Some have felt the pangs of guilt over what their home countries have done in the name of the spread of Western Civilization. This becomes even more troublesome as most European writers who explain colonialism, are themselves imbued with the graces and the beauty that the West has given to the world. Edward Said, prefers to look at it more as an overlap of cultures on an ever smaller world, at least, as it applies to the Arab world.

To ignore or otherwise discount the overlapping experience of Westerners and Orientals, the interdependence of cultural terrains in which colonizer and colonized co-existed and battled each other through projections as well as rival geographies, narratives, and histories, is to miss what is essential about the world… [47]


The modern colonization of Palestine started in earnest in 1880. It was certainly influenced by the nationalist fervor that swept Europe during that time. On the surface Zionism appears to be embedded into the colonial fabric that followed European nationalism in the last half of the nineteenth century. But the evidence provided shows a different set of circumstances that make the Jewish national experience unique.

That fact that the Jews had no mother country in which to turn for assistance, that they possessed a religious connection to that particular place that surrounds an historical link, cannot be duplicated by any European colonial endeavor. The way professor Aaronsohn defined the terms of colonialization and colonization enables a researcher to correctly categorized colonial from non-colonial forms.  Revisionist research has tried to show a connection between colonialism and Zionism. This paper demonstrates on all the levels that they have failed to do so.

I think in the end the Jews were victims of circumstance. It is easy to assign Zionism as a colonial movement. After all, it came about right at the time when others were expanding their horizons. Countries were on the lookout for natural resources in other parts of the world. Some researchers assume that since most Jewish settlers who came to Palestine at that time were European, then they must be connected to the European colonial model in some concrete way. The research has shown otherwise.



[1]  Ran Aaronsohn. “Settlement in Eretz Yisrael—A Colonial Enterprise: ‘Critical’ Scholarship and Historical Geography.” Israel Studies. Vol. 1, No. 2. 9-30-96. p. 200

[2] Ilan Pappe, “A Lesson in New History.” History & Memory   6/30/1995   Vol.7; No.1. P. 9. Also see: “Post-Zionist Debate.” Ha’Aretz, 24 June 1994 (in Hebrew).

[3] Philip Nord, “Republicanism and Utopian Vision: French Freemasonry in the 1860s and   1870s,” The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 63, No. 2, A Special Issue on Modern France. (Jun., 1991), p: 213.

[4] Barbara Ward. Five Ideas that Changed the World. New York: W.W. Norton &    Company. 1959. p. 15

[5] Moses Hess. Rome and Jerusalem. As cited in “The Zionist Idea,” By, Arthur

Hertzberg. New York: Atheneum. Tenth printing. P.121

[6] Thomas Wright ed., Early Travels in Palestine. New York: Ams Press, 1969 (originally published 1848) pp. 107-109 passim

[7] Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews. New York: Harper and Row. p.271-272

[8] Johnson, Ibid. p.367

[9] Sachar, Howard. The History of Israel: From the Beginning of the Zionist Movement until our time. Second edition, Revised and updated. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1996. pp. 6-11 passim.

[10] As cited in Religious Studies 379 at California State University, Northridge by Dr. Jody Myers

[11] Gershon Shafir. “Israeli Society: A Counterview.”  Israel Studies.  Vol.1; No.2   9/30/1996 P.193

[12]  Ward, Five Ideas.. p. 80

[13] Mary Evelyn Townsend, European Colonial Expansion Since 1871.  Walter

Consuelo Langsam, Ed.  Chicago: J.B. Lippincott, 1941, P.8

[14] Conrad, Joseph. The Heart of Darkness. As it appears in The Story and its writer. Charters, Ann (ed.).New York: Bedford books of St Martin’s Press. 1995 p.176

[15] Townsend, European Colonial Expansion. p.595

[16]  David Caute. Frantz Fanon. From the Modern Masters series. New York: Viking Press. 1970. p.74.

[17] Ran Aaronsohn. “Settlement in Eretz Yisrael—A Colonial Enterprise” p.202

[18] Ran Aaronsohn. “Ibid.” p.202

[19] Ran Aaronsohn. “Settlement in Eretz Yisrael—A Colonial Enterprise” p.202

[20] Aaronsohn. “Ibid.”

[21] Chaim I. Waxman. ”Critical Sociology and the End of Ideology in Israel.” Israel Studies.   Vol. 2; No. 1. 3/31/1997. p.208

[22] This is of course leaving out the element of later British rule in which the situation for the Jews obviously changed from this fundamental purity of settlement into a colonization within a colonial context. The British added the unusual dimension to this political mix as being a third interest which indeed had colonial notions. They were bitterly protested to by the Yishuv, but the Arabs had very little to say in opposition against the British during those years of 1917-1948. An argument can then be made that it was not Western colonial rule that the Arabs of Palestine were so much opposed to but Jewish rule that they found so offensive.

 [23] Moshe Lissak as quoted by Gershon Shafir in “Israeli Society: A Counterview.”  P.192

This sociological axiom works here to understand how the two economies developed in a competitive, not a colonial manner. Shafir also points out that these axioms are used today by Lissak to describe sociological and political situations today in Israel as well. “This along side that” is one of four models that Lissak built to describe colonial and anti-colonial settings.

[24] Ran Aaronsohn. “Settlement in Eretz Yisrael—A Colonial Enterprise” p.204

[25]  Ran Aaronsohn. “Baron Rothschild and the initial stage of Jewish settlement in Palestine (1882-1890): a different type of colonization?” Journal of Historical Geography. 1993. Vol. 19 No. 2. p. 143

[26] Aaronsohn. “Ibid.”  p. 145

[27]  Ran Aaronsohn. “Baron Rothschild and the initial stage of Jewish settlement in Palestine.” P. 204

[28] Aaronsohn. “Ibid.” p. 206

[29] Shafir, Gershon. “Israeli Society: A Counterview.”  P.192. I was not able to obtain Lissak’s article because it was only available in Hebrew. Therefore, I am quoting from Shafir’s article who was opposed to Professor Lissak’s theories.

[30] The story of the revival of the Hebrew as an every day language is an interesting one. It was developed almost single handedly by Eliezar ben Yehuda, a school teacher in Russia, turned newspaper publisher in Palestine. Every issue he would put new words and meanings from the articles in the margins of his paper and the whole settlement would read his periodical and learn the language together. Of course, Ben Yehuda would not have succeeded if it had not been for the dedication of the settlers of the first Aliya who were committed to only speaking Hebrew among themselves. The story is remarkable because other nations have tried to revive ancient tongues and have not been able to do it. The Irish for example, consulted the Yishuv when they tried to reinstate Gaelic as a national tongue. But even with the Jew’s help they were not successful.

[31] Arthur Hertzberg. The Zionist Idea. New York: Atheneum. Tenth printing. 1976. p.251

[32] Ha’am, Ahad. Nationalism and the Jewish Ethic: Basic Writings of Ahad Ha’am. Hans Kohn Ed. New York: Herzl Press. 1962. p.41

[33]  Zachary Lockman. Comrades and Enemies: Arab and Jewish Workers in Palestine 1906-1948. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1996. p. 41

[34] Lockman. Ibid. p. 42

[35] Lockman, Ibid. p. 43

[36]  I am convinced this says more about Marxist failures to understand human nature than it does  Berochov’s inability to correctly judge the future between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. However wrong he may have been in his assumptions, his intentions were honorable. This is what needs to be noted in any discussion about Jewish overtures toward the Arab population of Palestine during the second Aliya. A colonialist outlook would have never allowed Berochov’s thinking to play any part in the future of the country. The problem as I see it was not Jewish inclusion methods by Berochov, or anyone else who sought conciliation with the Arabs. It was the Arabs who practiced a complete rejection of Jewish rapprochement. This denial of Jewish nation-building in the region has followed Arab policy right up to the present day and is in large part responsible for the current problems in Israel and the territories.

[37] Lockman. Comrades and enemies. P.46

[38] Shafir. “Israeli Society—A Counter View.” P. 192

[39] This model had lasting effects on Palestinian and later Israeli governments. It might have been why the Jews were ready to accept the partition of 1947 and the Arabs were not. The Partition plan fit right into Lissak’s model of “this alongside that.” It has followed through to the present day. The Oslo accords are also based on that model. Ehud Barak suggested in the final status negotiations of 1999 at Camp David, to establish the two states along side each other. “Us over here and them over there”  was how the Barak administration worded it. And, even now, Sharon’s government is looking at possible ways of existing in the “this along side that” philosophy by extricating Israel from the terrorism that no one really knows how to stop without defensible borders.

[40] David Fromkin. A Peace to End all Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. New York: Avon Books. 1990. p.42

[41] Lerner, Michael. The Socialism of Fools: Anti-Semitism on the Left. Oakland: Tikkun Books. 1992. p.44

[42] Michael Lerner. The Socialism of Fools: Anti-Semitism on the Left. P.41

[43] Lerner. Ibid. p. 43

[44] Schwartz, Stuart B. (ed). Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2000. pp.160-162

[45] Arthur Hertzberg. The Zionist Idea. New York: Atheneum. Tenth printing. 1976 p. 38

[46] Hertzberg. Ibid. p. 38

[47] Dean Mahomet, Sake. Fisher, Michael Ed. The Travels of Dean Mahomet: An Eighteenth-Century Journey Through India. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1997


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