Samuel Montagu and Zionism*

Zionism as a modern political movement in Britain made great strides after the English Zionist Federation was founded in 1899 as the British wing of the Inter- national Zionist Organization, itself set up in Basel in 1897; but interest inJewish settlement in Palestine had been significant long before this. Sir Moses Montefiore led efforts to promote colonization of the land, and some well- respected Anglo-Jewish figures were active in the English branch of the Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion) movement which sought to encourage Jews to colonize Palestine. Then Theodor Herzl’s second visit to London in 1896 changed the whole outlook for Zionism in Britain so that, within 2 I years, even the British Government appeared to have been won over to the cause. Herzl’s appearance in London’s East End produced scenes of great enthusiasm for the new Moses who, it was hoped, would lead the Jews back to the

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