THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2012: (National) Identities & Early Encounters
Israel-Palestine in the News this Week:
Netanyahu asked Obama to make it clear that a threat to Israel from Iran would
result in the military protecting Israel, and Obama did not respond favourably,
sparking concerns from Israel that Israel and US are not seeing eye to eye anymore.
Government is Israel is retracting the exemption of ultra-Orthodox Jews from
military service (Arab citizens of Israel are also exempted from military service).
40 new permits were granted to current settlements in the West Bank to expand
(not new settlements, just expansions)
Protests for the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister’s resignation due to increasing
in gas prices. This is significant because it is the first protest and large scale unrest
from Palestinians against the PA in a long time.
Zionism: a relatively secular national movement for Jews to return to their
homeland. It emerged as a response to the growing anti-Semitism, not coming
directly from the Jewish religion. It is part of a wider trend of nationalism.
It is somewhat of an alternative to assimilation because Jews is the diaspora
were struggling to fit in to a different national culture and wanted to retain
their Jewish nationalism.
Zionism did not appear in the places where there was the most severe
persecution of the Jews. It was in places of latent anti-Semitism and
persecution (ex. Eastern Europe)
“Zionism” was coined by a man named Nathan Birnbaum (from Vienna) who
started writing about the concept of Zionism in a school newspaper. It
comes from a Hebrew word relating to what is now that territory.
Theodor Herzl is most strongly associated with the concept of Zionism (esp.
in Der Judenstaat in 1895). He grew up secular and was an intellectual, and
was not involved in Judaism in the religious sense. His motivation for this was
in part due to the Dreyfus Affair—a French captain (Dreyfus) was charged
with being a spy for Germany, and it resulted in a lot of anti-Jewish
demonstrations in France. The Dreyfus affair galvanized the Zionist
In 1897, the first Zionist conference was held to bring people together and
facilitate organization and mobilizing over what was just an idea at the time.
Challenges of Zionism:
There was a challenge within the Jewish community in promoting Zionism
due to the secular vs. religious problem. Many ultra-Orthodox Jews do not
identify as Zionist and don’t support Zionism as a movement.
Economic challenges—finances was a big problem as there was not a lo of
money going into the movement at the beginning. One of the movement’s
strategies was to purchase land in what was then Palestine (Jewish National
Fund was created to help raise money for Zionist goals). In the early years there were no political backing, and there was no incentive
for any state to support it. They had to appeal to people based of
moral/ethical ground to gain support.
The Basle Declaration (1897) was a summary of what Zionism stands for.
“Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally
assured home in Palestine”
There is language such as “home” and “homeland,” not “state.”
It called for Jews to start organizing and thinking about themselves as a
group with a national identity. It promoted the settlement of Jewish people
It called for “the strengthening of the Jewish feeling and consciousness,” and
the idea of having a stronger national identity resonated with