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Zionism: A Very Short Introduction [#507]
Zionism: A Very Short Introduction [#507]
  • Offers an unbiased assessment of Zionism and its significance as an intellectual and cultural movement, beyond its contentious political implications
  • Clarifies current debates over the Israel-Palestine conflict, the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments in Western states, and the politics of American Jewry
  • Shows how Zionism revolutionized internal Jewish culture, drawing on the premise that Jews constitute a nation, and not a religion

Zionism is the nationalist movement affirming Jewish people's right to self-determination through the establishment of a Jewish national state in its ancient homeland. It is one of the most controversial ideologies in the world. Its supporters laud its success at liberating the Jewish people after millennia of persecution and at securing the creation of Israel. But to its opponents, Zionism relies on a racist ideology culminating in Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and is one of the last manifestations of colonial oppression in the world. Since the late 1990s, the centrality of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the world news has sharpened this controversy, dramatically politicizing any attempt to understand Zionism and its significance as an intellectual and cultural movement.

In this Very Short Introduction, Michael Stanislawski presents an impartial and disinterested history of Zionist ideology from its origins to the present. Sharp and accessible, this book charts the crucial moments in the ideological development of Zionism, including the emergence of modern Jewish nationalism in early nineteenth century Europe, the founding of the Zionist movement by Theodor Herzl in 1897, the Balfour Declaration, the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion, the Six Day War in 1967, the rise of the "Peace Now" movement, and the election of conservative prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Stanislawski's balanced analysis of these controversial events illuminates why, despite the undeniable success in its goal of creating a Jewish state, profound questions remain today about the long-term viability of Zionist ideology in a rapidly destabilizing Middle East.


List of illustrations
1. The Jews: Religion or Nation?
2. Modern Jewish nationalism, 1872–1897
3. Theodor Herzl and the creation of the Zionist movement, 1897–1917
4. The Weizmann era and the Balfour Declaration
5. Socialist and Revisionist Zionisms, 1917–1939
6. Zionism in World War II and its aftermath
7. Zionism in a Jewish state, 1948–1967
8. Nationalism and messianism, 1967–1977
9. Swing to the right, 1977–1995
10. Transformations of Zionism since 1995
Further reading

About the author: 

Michael Stanislawski is the Nathan J. Miller Professor of Jewish History at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1980. He is the author of six books on Jewish, Russian, and European intellectual history, including Zionism and the Fin de Siècle.

Product details

ISBN : 9780199766048

Michael Stanislawski
152 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Dec 2016
Very Short Introductions
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Zionism: A Very Short Introduction [#507]

Zionism: A Very Short Introduction [#507]

Zionism: A Very Short Introduction [#507]