What is political Zionism? - Introduction

To many people, Theodor Herzl is nothing more than a name in history: A European journalist, an unsuccessful play-write and the founder of an ideology that is read about in books.

But in reality, this quiet, unassuming man is responsible for the expulsion of hundreds of thousand Palestinian Muslims and Christians from their homeland in Palestine.

Troubled by incidents of anti-Semitism in Europe, Herzl wrote his seminal work, “Der Judenstaat: Versuch einer modernen Lösung der Judenfrage” (The Jewish State: A Proposal for a modern solution to the Jewish Question), in 1896. It shaped the formation of Zionism and with it, the future of Palestine.

Main themes in the book are:

  1. A resurgence and strengthening of a Jewish identity and nationalistic pride.
  2. Promoting the formation of Zionist settlements within the state of Palestine.
  3. Creating steps toward obtaining powerful ties with powerful governments in hopes to reach the ultimate goal of creating Zion and demolishing Palestine.

Herzl felt that the persecution of the Jews would never end until they had a state they could call their own.

At first many people thought Herzl’s push for the creation of a Jewish state was nothing more than idealistic. And, in fact, some Jewish groups opposed it. However Herzl’s ideology had its share of followers. One of them, Edmond James Rothschild, an aristocrat from the wealthy German Jewish banking family, funded Jewish settlements in Palestine. As the Jewish population grew through immigration to Palestine, the intentions of the new immigrants became clear: To ethnically cleanse Palestine of its indigenous people.  

The Jewish settlers received help from many European countries as well as the United Nations. As it became clear that Britain would occupy Palestine with the culmination of World War One, Zionists in Europe and the United States used their far-reaching resources and influential support to lobby British officials to guarantee that Palestine would become a homeland for the Jews. 

In 1917, support from Britain reached an unprecedented level with the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain guaranteed its support and help in the creation of a Jewish homeland. The British, along with the rest of Europe, soon realized the mistake in their decision as violence escalated in the region. Not only did the Zionist population fight with the indigenous Palestinians but they also showed tremendous amount of violence toward the European powers in the region.

In 1946, the Jewish terrorist group Irgun bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 people. The hotel housed central offices of the British Mandatory authorities, Secretariat of the Government of Palestine and Headquarters of the British military.
Then in the summer of 1948, the Lehi Fighter for Freedom of Israel, gunned down Count Folke Bernadotte, a U.N. peacekeeper, shortly after he proposed a two-state solution with an international Jerusalem.

The Zionists didn’t stop with just attacking the British and other officials. The Haganah and other terrorist gangs systematically attacked numerous Palestinian villages, massacring hundreds and forcing thousands into exile. Zionist militants killed at least 13,000 Palestinians in 1948 and expelled 750,000 more from their homes.

The attacks and massacres were made possible by Plan Dalet, the Zionist military guide that called for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Palestine. This guide was distributed to the Haganah in 1947. It set the foundation upon which the ethnic cleansing and transferring of Palestinians from Palestine is based still today.

~ American Muslims for Palestine, 2012