Beyond Zion:The Jew­ish Ter­ri­to­ri­al­ist Movement

  • From the Publisher
January 5, 2022

Jew­ish polit­i­cal and cul­tur­al behav­iour dur­ing the first half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry comes to the fore in this por­tray­al of a for­got­ten move­ment with con­tem­po­rary rel­e­vance. Com­menc­ing with the Zion­ist rejec­tion of the Ugan­da pro­pos­al in 1905, the Jew­ish Ter­ri­to­ri­al­ist Move­ment searched for areas out­side Pales­tine in which to cre­ate set­tle­ments of Jews. This study analy­ses the Ter­ri­to­ri­al­ists’ ide­ol­o­gy and activ­i­ties in the Jew­ish con­text of the time, but their thought and dis­course also reflect geopo­lit­i­cal con­cerns that still have res­o­nance today in debates about colo­nial­ist atti­tudes to peo­ple­hood, ter­ri­to­ry, and space. As the colo­nial world order rapid­ly changed after 1945, the Ter­ri­to­ri­al­ists did not aban­don their aspi­ra­tions in over­seas lands. Instead, in their attempts to find set­tle­ment solu­tions for Europe’s sur­plus’ Jews, they moved from nego­ti­at­ing pre­dom­i­nant­ly with the Euro­pean col­o­niz­ers to nego­ti­at­ing also with the ever more pow­er­ful non-West­ern lead­ers of
decol­o­niz­ing nations.

This book recon­structs the rich his­to­ry of the activ­i­ties and chang­ing ide­olo­gies of Jew­ish Ter­ri­to­ri­al­ism, rep­re­sent­ed by Israel Zang­will’s Jew­ish Ter­ri­to­r­i­al Organ­i­sa­tion (the ITO) and, lat­er, by the Free­land League for Jew­ish Col­o­niza­tion under the lead­er­ship of Isaac Stein­berg. Via Ugan­da, Ango­la, Mada­gas­car, Aus­tralia, and Suri­name, this sto­ry even­tu­al­ly leads us to ques­tions about yidishkeyt, and to for­got­ten ear­ly twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry ideas of how to be Jewish.

Discussion Questions