Zionism

So, the first thing I want to tackle is tough topic, Zionism.  I want to start by clearing up that Zionism is NOT a religious movement.  It is a political movement.  I have met anti-Semites that are pro-Zionist, and I have met Jewish people who are ant-Zionist.

In the simplest terms Zionism is a movement to return control of the ancient kingdoms of Judea and Samara, modern day Israel, to those of the Jewish faith.  Between the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I and 1949 this land was called Palestine.  Now it is divided between Israel and Palestine.  Which has caused a lot of strife, but I am going to try not to get into that right now.  I am concerned with the Zionism.

William E. Blackstone (1841-1935) is considered by some to be the Father of Zionism.  His work influenced the work of Theodore Herzl, one of the founders of the Zionist movement in Europe.  Blackstone was a successful American businessman and an Evangelical Christian.  He and his cohort of like-minded businessmen and church leaders pushed for the return of Jewish people to the land of Palestine, which was under Ottoman control at the time, to hasten the end of times prophesies in the Bible.  Due in a large part to the wealth that Blackstone and his friends controlled they were able to bring strong influence on American and British politicians.

This does not mean that he was successful in creating a strong Zionist movement.  Until the horrors of Nazi controlled Germany less than 1% of Jews worldwide supported Zionism.  Which pushed the separateness of Jews from the countries that they lived.  Instead, most of the people of Jewish faith supported integration in their societies.  For example, instead of being Jews who lived in Britain or France, they would identify as British or French who followed the Jewish religion.  Aside from Evangelical Christians, one place that Zionism did find fertile ground were the Jews who lived in Eastern Europe, especially those that lived in Russia.  This is due in large part to the fact that Eastern European Jews were facing persecution at the hands of those governments.

So, the Zionist movement was facing an uphill battle in creating the narrative that those of the Jewish faith were a separate and unique ethnic group.  Zionism also faced the problem that the land they wanted was occupied by Arabs, who were Jewish, Christian, and Muslim, and was controlled by the Ottoman Empire.  This all changed at the end of World War I when Britain gained control of Palestine.  Toward the end of the war Britain published the Balfour Declaration throwing the support of the British Parliament behind Zionism as a way to  help with the war effort.  Between World War I and World War II Britain encouraged the emigration of Jews from Europe to Palestine and the enforced polices in Palestine that greatly favored the new emigrants.  This led to problems between the indigenous peoples and the new emigrants.  By the end of World War II Britain no longer supported the Zionist movement.  Many in their foreign service, and the American State Department, realized that alienating the Arabs in the region would be detrimental to stability in the region and weaken their influence.

In 1949 Zionism partly succeeded in their goals of creating a new Jewish state in Palestine. The state of Israel was created.  I say this was only a partial success because the Jewish state did include all of the land that was Judea and Samara, especially Jerusalem.  Which the Israelis want as their capital.  As do the Palestinians.

Today, Zionism is still an active political force, making up a large portion of the Netanyahu government, and has the long-term goal of controlling Greater Israel.  An area of land that stretches from the Nile in the West to the Euphrates in the East.  It includes all of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and parts of Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.  Their short term goal is denying statehood to the Palestinians and incorporating the Palestinian territories in to Israel.

So, this was my first blog.  Yes, parts of it are a bit oversimplified, but this is one of the topics that I actually know a lot about and have researched and studied.  Here a few websites that people should really look into.

http://www.truetorahjews.org/

http://www.nkusa.org/index.cfm

 

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