Ideological components in Anglo-Jewish opposition to Zionism before and during the First World War: a restatement

The embryonic period of modern Jewish nationalism recedes inexorably into history without losing either its fascination or its appeal to conscience. Anglo-Jewry, especially, looks back on its own contribution to political Zionism’s first triumphs with justifiable pride. However, now that the chronology of the movement’s onward march within the community has been documented, historians might perhaps be permitted to turn their attention to the reasons for its slow advance and to an examination of the wearying resistance it encountered en route.

The present paper is designed as a contribution to that enquiry. Without in any way detracting from the organizational and diplomatic successes attained by the first generation of Anglo-Jewish Zionists, it will attempt to bring into focus their ideological deficiencies. These, it will argue, become especially pronounced once the ideological pronouncements of Herzl’s supporters in the community are compared with those of his opponents. Thus juxtaposed, the two cases

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