Timeline of anti-Zionism

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This timeline of anti-Zionism chronicles the history of anti-Zionism, including events in the history of anti-Zionist thought.


  • 1828 – In London Edward Swaine published a Biblical exposition, Objections to the Doctrines of Israel's Future Restoration to Palestine, national pre-eminence, etc.[1]
  • 1880s - Orthodox Jews regarded the emergence of Zionism as a threat, particularly for its secular character and redefinition of Jewishness. Through this decade, the Orthodox communities fought the Zionist idea of Jews as a people in search of a homeland, rather than being, for Judaism, a community awaiting redemption from the Messiah. The established Jewish community in Jerusalem denounced Zionist newcomers to the Ottoman authorities.[2]
  • 1882 – Moved by the hardships of Russian refugees he found starving in the streets of Constantinople, the United States minister to the Ottoman empire, Lew Wallace, called at the Porte's Foreign Office; he received a communication from the minister of foreign affairs in which the statement was made that Jews would be made welcome anywhere in the empire except in Palestine.[3]
In reaction to Leon Pinsker's Autoemanzipation! that asserted Jewish emancipation required a homeland of their own outside Europe, Viennese rabbi Adolf Jellinek replied that ‘Jews did not have any national characteristics, as such but "thanks to their universalism they adapt and absorb qualities from the nations in whose midst they are born and educated . .We are at home in Europe and regard ourselves as children of the lands in which we were born and raised, whose languages we speak, and whose cultures make up our intellectual substance. We are Germans, Frenchmen, Magyars, Italians, and so forth, with every fiber of our being. We have long ceased to be true, thoroughbred Semites, and we have long ago lost sense of Hebrew nationality.'[4]
  • 1885 – The Pittsburgh Platform, convened by Reform Judaism leaders Kaufmann Kohler and Isaac Mayer Wise, denounces Zionism, adopting the text: "We recognize, in the modern era of universal culture of heart and intellect, the approaching of the realization of Israel s great Messianic hope for the establishment of the kingdom of truth, justice, and peace among all men. We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community, and therefore expect neither a return to Palestine, nor a sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning the Jewish state".[5]

After the First Zionist Congress[edit]

  • 1897 – The Jewish Labour Bund, a secular anti-Zionist socialist party whose purpose was to unify Jews within the Russian Empire is founded in Vilnius on 7 October.[6][7]
    • Viennese rabbi Moritz Güdemann publishes his pamphlet Nationaljudenthum, rejecting Zionism as antithetical to Judaism.[8]
    • Rabbis Hermann Naftali Adler, the Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazi movement in London, and Moritz Güdemann, the chief Rabbi in Vienna, criticized Herzl's proposal for a Munich conference on Palestine, and the executive board of the German Rabbinical Association, headed by Siegmund Maybaum, expressed the view in a public declaration in June 1997 affirming that:”The aspirations of so-called Zionists to found a Jewish nation state in Palestine, contradict the messianic promise of Judaism as it is written in the Holy Scripture and in later religious sources’.[9]
  • 1898 Karl Kraus writes Eine Krone für Zion, a polemic against (political) Zionism, accusing Herzl of supporting anti-Semites by promoting the idea Jews have multiple loyalties, and promoting their idea Jews should leave their countries.[10][11]
  • 1902 – The American Israelite calls Zionism a "pernicious agitation" that would undermine the acceptance of Jews in the countries where they currently resided.[12] The Israelite is also used by a number of editorial contributors such as David Philipson, Moses Mielziner and Jewish history scholar Gotthard Deutsch to oppose Zionism, arguing that Judaism was a religion exclusively,[13] and thus its people were stateless.[14]
  • 1905 – Jewish Territorialist Organization splits off from the World Zionist Organization, in order to obtain "a large tract of territory (preferably within the British Empire) wherein to found a Jewish Home of Refuge" outside of Palestine. They explored the idea of settlement in Cyrenaica.[15]Folksgrupe (a Jewish Duma faction that sought, as opposed to Russian Zionist members, communal autonomy) founded in Vilna in March.[16][17][18][19]
  • 1908–14 – growing Palestinian and Ottoman opposition to the project of anti-Zionism begins to take shape.[20][21]
  • 1912 - May. Agudat Israel forms in Katowice, attended by 200 orthodox rabbis from Germany and Eastern Europe, with Nathan Birnbaum as it chief ideologue, representing the first organized Orthodox opposition to Zionism and the foundation of a Jewish state.[2]
  • 1915 – Philosopher Hermann Cohen publishes Deutschtum und Judentum, opposed the Zionist programme arguing that Jews had no need for a homeland since they were an integral part of Europe.[22]
  • 1916, November -Claude Montefiore, opposing Zionism for threatening to create a problem of loyalty for Jews in the diaspora, argued that anti-Semites backed Zionism:, commenting 'HJow can a man belong to two nations at once? . . No wonder that all anti-Semites are enthusiastic Zionists'.[23][24]
  • 1917 – Edwin Samuel Montagu submits his Memorandum on the Anti-Semitism of the British Government, in response to ongoing discussions around the Balfour Declaration. His view was that the British proposal was anti-Semitic, that it meant that Jews would be given preferential treatment over Muslims and Christians who also had a long history of attachment to the country and that it would rally anti-Semites the world over. Anti-Jewish prejudices could not be overcome by the creation of a Jewish state. He stated also that "Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen of the United Kingdom" and outlines his four principles of anti-Zionism.[25][26]
  • 1917 -David Lindo Alexander, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Claude Montefiore, president of the Anglo-Jewish Association objecting to published statements of the Zionist leaders that "Jewish settlements in Palestine shall be recognized as possessing a national character " and the intention "to invest the Jewish settlers in Palestine with certain special rights in excess of those enjoyed by the rest of the population".[27]

After the Balfour Declaration[edit]

  • 1918 - Rabbi Isaac Breuer declared:'Zionism is the most terrible enemy that has ever arisen to the Jewish Nation. The anti-nationalistic Reform engages it (the Jewish nation) at least in an open fight, but Zionism kills the nation and then elevates the corpse to the throne.'[28]
  • 1919 – Jewish[29] congressman Julius Kahn presents an anti-Zionist petition to Woodrow Wilson ahead of the Paris Peace Conference, including the statement: "We protest against the political segregation of the Jews and the re-establishment in Palestine of a distinctively Jewish State as utterly opposed to the principles of democracy which it is the avowed purpose of the World's Peace Conference to establish. Whether the Jews be regarded as a 'race' or as a 'religion', it is contrary to the democratic principles for which the world war was waged to found a nation on either or both of these bases." The petition included signatures from over 300 prominent American Jews, including Henry Morgenthau, Sr. and Simon W. Rosendale.[30]
    • -The US Government sponsored King–Crane Commission advocated the creation of a Greater Syria, to include Palestine, stating "nor can the erection of such a Jewish State be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine".[31]
    • Reichsbund jüdischer Frontsoldaten English: "Reich League of Jewish War Veterans" was a non-Zionist organization founded in Germany in February. A 26 June 1934 directive by Reinhard Heidrich led to the rapid fall in participation in the group, which was placed under police surveillance, while the same policy, as implemented, actively encouraged their competing Zionist associations in Germany, since the latter eencouraged Jewish expatriation from Germany to Palestine.[32]
  • 1924 – Jacob Israël de Haan is assassinated by the Haganah for his anti-Zionist political activities and contacts with Arab leaders.[33][34]
  • 1925 Brit Shalom is founded, repudiating the Balfour Agreement and renouncing the Zionist concept of a nation with a Jewish majority for a binational state for two people.[35][36] They viewed Zionism as a means to create in Palestine a Jewish spiritual centre.[37]
  • 1929 In October St John Philby, an anti-Zionist, draws up the Philby Plan after consultation with Arab leaders, calling for an endorsement of the Balfour Declaration, Jewish immigration, but a representation of all parties according to their numbers, while calling on Zionists to renounce any pursuit of political domination. The plan was favourably received by Judah Magnes.[38]
  • 1936 – Victor Alter of the General Jewish Labour Bund in Poland labels Ze'ev Jabotinsky antisemitic, writing: "No, it is not we who are creating a sense of alienation between the Jewish masses and Poland; this is being attempted by those who have supported Jewish reaction wherever and whenever it occurs, who wish to turn the Jewish masses into a collective of fanatics who are alien to the ideology and struggles of Polish workers"[39]
  • 1938 – Gandhi writes The Jews In Palestine, in which he states: "Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs.... The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. [...] Let the Jews who claim to be the chosen race prove their title by choosing the way of non-violence for vindicating their position on earth. Every country is their home, including Palestine, not by aggression but by loving service".[40]
  • 1939 -The Jewish Dutch assimilationist Louis Fles publishes his pamphlet Weg met het zionisme! (Down with Zionism!).
    • The British White Paper in limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine for 5 years, was seen as adopting an anti-Zionist policy.[41]

The 1940s, the Biltmore Program and after[edit]

  • 1941 In the wake of the Jewish refugee problem under Nazism, and on the occasion of the Iraqi pogrom against Jews in June 1–2, Arab members of the Palestine Communist Party remonstrated with Iraqi Communist support for Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, insisting that a clear distinction be drawn between anti-Zionism and both anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, a distinction maintained throughout the period by the National Liberation League in Palestine, as they opposed expulsion of Jewish migrants.[42]
  • 1942 – American Council for Judaism, an organization of American Jews committed to the proposition that Jews are not a nationality but merely a religious group, adhering to the original stated principles of Reform Judaism, as articulated in the 1885 Pittsburgh Platform,[43][44] was founded.[45]
  • 1943 – Orthodox Hungarian Rabbi Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal, originally opposed to Secular Zionism, writes Eim HaBanim Semeicha (A Happy Mother of Children) in Budapest before the formal German occupation. In this work he strongly urges Diaspora Jews to, on a religious basis, establish a Jewish state in Palestine as a prelude to The Final Redemption (Geulah Shelemah). He also accused the leaders of Orthodox Judaism who opposed Zionism of unwitting complicity in mass murder[46] He concluded that "Anti-Zionism was the root of evil befalling the Jewish people".[47]
    • Ben-Gurion criticized the decision of a court in Mandatory Palestine implicating Zionists in arm-trafficking by saying that the court's attitude was influenced by anti-Semitism. Christopher Sykes interpreted this as meaning that "henceforth to be anti-Zionist was to be anti-Semitic; to disapprove of Jewish territorial nationalism was to be a Nazi".[48][49][50]
  • 1944 – Philosopher Hannah Arendt publishes Zionism Reconsidered, writing "Only folly could dictate a policy which trusts a distant imperial power for protection, while alienating the goodwill of neighbours [...] If the Jewish commonwealth is obtained in the near future [...] it will be due to the political assistance of American Jews [...] if the Jewish commonwealth is proclaimed against the will of the Arabs and without the support of the Mediterranean peoples, not only financial help but political support will be necessary for a long time to come. And that may turn out to be very troublesome indeed for Jews in this country, who after all have no power to direct the political destinies of the Near East".[51]
  • 1945 – Rabbi Elmer Berger publishes The Jewish Dilemma, which argued that Zionism was a surrender to the racial myths about the Jews and that assimilationism was still the best path for the Jews in the modern world.[52]
  • 1946 – The Jewish Anti-Zionist League founded in Egypt.[53]
    • Sir Isaac Isaacs publishes Palestine: Peace and Prosperity or War and Destruction? Political Zionism: Undemocratic, Unjust, Dangerous. His opposition to political Zionism brought him into conflict with his local community.[54][55][56]
  • 1948 - Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land founded by Virginia Gildersleeve and Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., which was later subsumed into the American Friends of the Middle East with Dorothy Thompson, Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., and 24 further American educators, theologians, and writers (including Harry Emerson Fosdick).

After the founding of the State of Israel[edit]

  • 1953 – Alfred Lilienthal, considered to vie with Rabbi Berger as the 'public face of Jewish anti-Zionism in America,'[57] publishes What Price Israel?, a work which became a sourcebook for anti-Israel polemics.[58]
  • 1961 – Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, leader of the Satmar Hasidim, publishes Vayoel Moshe, a criticism of Zionism regarded by Rabkin as 'the fundamental work of Judaic anti-Zionism,[59] in which he argues that the "idolatry" of the modern Zionist movement was a sin punished by God through the Holocaust.[60][61]
  • 1962 – Matzpen organisation founded in Israel, a socialist anti-Zionist organization.[62]
  • 1965 – Moshe Menuhin publishes Decadence of Judaism in our Time.[63] In the book he recalls that in his childhood in Palestine, 'it was drummed into our young hearts that the fatherland must extend to the ancient borders and that it 'must become Goyimrein (that is, free of Gentiles)'.[57][64][65]
    • The French sociologist Georges Philippe Friedmann (1902-1977) publishes The End of the Jewish People,, in which he argues that the complete emancipation of the Jewish people signaled by both the creation of Israel and their assimilation of the West would lead to the demise of the Jewish people. Israel, he thought, challenging a basic assumption of both secular and religious Zionism, was a melting pot in which Israelization was bulldozing the differences of 102 Jewish subcultures. He altered his stance after 1967.[66]
  • 1967 – Maxime Rodinson publishes Israel, fait colonial? in Jean-Paul Sartre's journal, Les Temps Modernes.[67] Rodinson concluded that:'the creation of the State of Israel on Palestinian soil is the culmination of a process that fits perfectly into the great European-American movement of expansion in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries whose aim was to settle new inhabitants among other peoples or to dominate them economically and politically.'[68]

After the Six Day War[edit]


  • 1994 – Israel Shahak, whose work often equates Zionism with Nazi racism, Israel divided between Jews and non-Jews,[94] writes Jewish History, Jewish Religion: the Weight of Three Thousand Years, in which he argues that Zionism has been an instrument in reimposing on Jews what he considered a totalitarian Jewish community model developed in classical Judaism.[95]
  • 2000 – Norman Finkelstein publishes The Holocaust Industry, which was read by some critics as representing both Holocaust denial and anti-Zionist feelings, which they impute to its author.[96]
  • 2001 – Israel and the United States pull out of the World Conference against Racism 2001,[97][98][99] following implications by the Conference that Zionism was linked to racism.[100]
  • 2004 - Yakov M. Rabkin, professor of history at Montreal University, publishes Au nom de la Torah: une histoire de l’opposition juive au sionisme,,[101] which was issued in an English version in 2006.[102] Rabkin, according to Joseph Agassi, challenges as a myth the idea, equated with Zionism, that Israel constitutes the natural homeland of Jews by surveying the history of Jewish opposition to Zionism.[103][104] The work was hailed by Rabbi Baruch Horowitz as an important survey of rabbinical authorities who regarded the foundation of a Jewish state as a threat to the survival of the Jewish people and as a factor in the exacerbation of anti-Semitic trends.[105]
  • 2005 – Michael Neumann, described as an anti-Zionist polemicist, writes The Case Against Israel.[106]
  • 2006 – Ilan Pappé, defined by Avi Shlaim as 'the cutting edge of radical anti-Zionism',[109] publishes The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.[110][111]
  • 2008 – Shlomo Sand, called 'the scourge of anti-Zionist secular Jews,' publishes his controversial The Invention of the Jewish People, a polemic both against secular Zionism and anti-Zionism, which argues against the idea of Jewish nationalism and the use of Jewish values to defend the state of Israel.[112]
  • 2010 – Former BBC and ITN journalist Alan Hart, considered an anti-Israeli polemicist,[113] publishes Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, in which he argues that,'There is nothing anybody in publishing, the media in general and politics fears more than being accused of anti-Semitism. Since the obscenity of the Nazi Holocaust, the false charge of anti-Semitism is the blackmail card Zionism has played brilliantly to prevent informed and honest debate about who must do what if there is to be a peaceful resolution of the Palestine problem, which is the prerequisite for averting a clash of civilizations, Judeo-Christians v.Islamic'.[114][115]
  • 2011 – Gilad Atzmon publishes The Wandering Who?:A Study of Jewish Identity Politics, a work that is contemptuous of anti-Zionists.[116] In it he argues that Zionism is, for native secular Israelis, essentially an archaic or foreign concept, and that much anti-Zionist discourse has no effect on them since Zionism itself is 'largely a Jewish diaspora discourse'.[117]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ a b Zvi Sobel, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi (eds.)Tradition, Innovation, Conflict: Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Israel, SUNY Press, 2012 pp.5-7.
  3. ^ United States, Jewish Encyclopedia (1906)
  4. ^ Robert Wistrich ‘Zionism and Its Religious Critics in Fin –De-Siècle Vienna, ‘ in S, Almog et al. Zionism and Religion, Brandeis/UPNE 1998 pp.140-158 pp.142-3.
  5. ^ "Declaration of Principles". Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). 1885. Retrieved 13 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Jonathan D. Smele,Historical Dictionary of the Russian Civil Wars, 1916-1926, r Rowman & Littlefield, 2015 p.245.
  7. ^ Hirsz Abramowicz; Eva Zeitlin Dobkin; Dina Abramowicz; Jeffrey Shandler; David E. Fishman (1999). Profiles of a Lost World: Memoirs of East European Jewish Life Before World War II. Wayne State University Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8143-2784-5. 
  8. ^ Marsha L. Rozenblit, Reconstructing a National Identity: The Jews of Habsburg Austria During World War I, Oxford University Press, 2004 p.35.
  9. ^ Julius H. Schoeps, Pioneers of Zionism: Hess, Pinsker, Rülf: Messianism, Settlement Policy, and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Publisher Walter de Gruyter, 2013 p.69.
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  13. ^ See Who is a Jew?
  14. ^ Wise, Leo (1901–1906). "American Israelite, The". Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk and Wagnalls. 
  15. ^ Jeremiah Ben-Jacob, The rise of Israel, Grosby House 1949 p 51:'In 1908 the Territorialists (they aimed at "obtaining a large tract of territory, preferably within the British Empire to found a Jewish home of refuge".'
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  73. ^ Full text of the resolution
  74. ^ Note: this resolution was repealed in 1991. "U.N. Repeals Its '75 Resolution Equating Zionism With Racism"
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