Avi Shlaim, PhD, Professor of International Relations at St. Antony's College at Oxford University, in his 2001 book The Iron Wall, wrote:
"The Zionist movement, which emerged in
Europe in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, aimed at the
national revival of the Jewish people in its ancestral home after
nearly two thousand years of exile. The term 'Zionism' was coined in
1885 by the Viennese Jewish writer Nathan Birnbaum, Zion being one of
the biblical names for Jerusalem. Zionism was in essence an answer to
the Jewish problem that derived from two basic facts: the Jews were
dispersed in various countries around the world, and in each country
they constituted a minority. The Zionist solution was to end this
anomalous existence and dependence on others, to return to Zion, and to
attain majority status there and, ultimately, political independence
Encyclopedia of the Orient, an online publication based in Scandinavia, posted an article on its website (accessed on May 25, 2007) titled "Zionism", which stated :
18th century: The German Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn initiates a Jewish secularism, which focused on Jewish national identity.
1862: The German Jew Moses Hess publishes the
book Rome and Jerusalem where he called for a return of Jews to
Palestine. He also said that Jews would never succeed by assimilating
into European societies.
1881: Pogroms of Russia result in heavy
emigration to USA. Some few Jews even emigrate to Palestine, as they
are motivated by religious ideas of Palestine as Jewish homeland.
1893: Nathan Birnbaum introduces the term 'Zionism.'
1896: The Austrian Jew Theodor Herzl publishes
the book The Jewish State, where he declares that the cure for
anti-semitism was the establishment of a Jewish state. As he saw it,
the best place to establish this state was in Palestine, but this
geography was no precondition.
1897: The 1st Zionist Congress is held in Basel
in Switzerland. About 200 delegates participate. The Basel Program is
formulated, calling for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine,
where Jews could live safely under public law. The World Zionist
organization is also founded, and establishes its head quarters in
1903: Britain offers an area of 15,500 km² in
Uganda in Africa, an area of virgin land to the Jews of the world,
where a Jewish homeland could be established.
1905: The 7th Zionist Congress refuses
Britain's Uganda proposal. Israel Zangwill forms the Jewish Territorial
organization, which sought to find territory for a Jewish state, no
matter where this would be. His organization got only few supporters.
1917: The Balfour Declaration, issued by the
British foreign secretary, gives official British support to the work
of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. After the Russian
revolution is defeated, many young Jews emigrate from Russia.
1922: Britain gives The World Zionist
organization the mandate to administer Jewish immigration and
settlement in Palestine. This immigration and settlement was funded by
1939: The British 'White Paper' gives the Arabs of Palestine de facto control over Jewish immigration.
1942: A call is issued from Zionist leaders for
the establishment of a Jewish state in all of western Palestine, when
World War 2 ends.
1948 May 14: The State of Israel is founded. The World Zionist organization continues to back Jewish immigration to Israel."
Dilip Hiro, MA, author and journalist, in the 2003 edition of The Essential Middle East / A Comprehensive Guide, wrote:
"In 1862 Moses Hess, a German Jew, published a book entitled Rome and Jerusalem,
which advocated the return of Jews to Palestine and the creation of a
spiritual center there for the Jewish Diaspora [dispersion]. This was
religious Zionism, which called on Jews to return to Zion for religious
reasons. The idea was adopted by the Hovevei Zion (Hebrew: Lovers of
Zion) societies that sprang up in Russia soon after the pogroms of
1881-1882 following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. They
organized the first immigration wave into Palestine. This was seen as
part of an effort to create a spiritual center for Jewish civilization
by such Jewish thinkers as Ahad HaAam (1875-1927), who stressed the
significance of maintaining a Jewish national culture, including
developing Hebrew as a modern language.
was left to Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), an Austro-Hungarian Jewish
journalist, to give a political dimension to the concept of Zionism. In
his pamphlet Der Jundenstaat (German: The Jewish State) (1896),
he argued for a Jewish homeland to be set up -- preferably, but not
necessarily, in Ottoman Palestine -- and that it should be secured
through an international agreement. The next year Herzl convened the
first Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland. It established the
Zionist Organization -- later called the World Zionist Organization
(WZO) -- which stated: 'Zionism strives to create for the Jewish people
a home in Palestine secured by public law.'"
Benyamin Neuberger, PhD, Professor of Political Science and Communications at the Open University of Israel, in a Oct. 12, 1999 article posted on Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website titled "ZIONISM- Background" wrote:
origin of the term 'Zionism' is the biblical word 'Zion', often used as
a synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). Zionism
is an ideology which expresses the yearning of Jews the world over for
their historical homeland - Zion, the Land of Israel.
aspiration of returning to their homeland was first held by Jews exiled
to Babylon some 2,500 years ago - a hope which subsequently became a
reality. ('By the water of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we
remembered Zion.' Psalms 137:1). Thus political Zionism, which
coalesced in the 19th century, invented neither the concept nor the
practice of return. Rather, it appropriated an ancient idea and an
ongoing active movement, and adapted them to meet the needs and spirit
of the times.
The core of the Zionist idea appears in Israel's Declaration of Independence (14 May 1948), which states, inter alia, that:
'The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their
spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first
attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and
universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.
After being forcible exiled from their land, the people kept faith with
it throughout their dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for
their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political
centuries in the Diaspora, the Jews maintained a strong and unique
relationship with their historical homeland, and manifested their
yearning for Zion through rituals and literature. In prayer, the Jewish
worshipper is instructed to face east, towards the Land of Israel. In
the morning service, Jews say 'Bring us in peace from the four corners
of the earth and lead us upright to our land.' Worshippers repeatedly
recite, 'Blessed are You, O Lord, Who builds Jerusalem,' and 'Blessed
are You O Lord, Who returns His presence to Zion.' The grace after
meals includes a blessing which ends with a prayer for the rebuilding
of 'Jerusalem, the Holy City, speedily and in our days.' In the
marriage ceremony, the bridegroom seeks to 'elevate Jerusalem to the
forefront of our joy.' At a circumcision the following is recited from
the Psalms 'If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand wither.' On
Passover, every Jew declares, 'Next year in Jerusalem.' At times of
mourning, the bereaved are comforted with mention of the Land of
Israel: 'Blessed are You, O Lord, Consoler of Zion and Builder of
Jerusalem.' The longing of the Jewish people to return to its Land was
also expressed in prose and poetry in Hebrew and in other Jewish
languages, which evolved over the centuries, Yiddish in Eastern Europe
and Ladino in Spain."