Austria, Britain, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Poland and the United States
American Zionism in the World War I Years: Between Academic Discourse and Pragmatic Approach
To study and understand the birth and development of both the Zionist idea and the movement, which changed the popular non-Jewish perception of world Jewry and fundamentally redefined their Jewishness in their own eyes, it is essential to explain the term Zionism in the context of Jewish history and experience. The root of the term is the word zion which, in the early history of the Jews, denoted a synonym for Jerusalem. In the period after the destruction of the Temple, it acquired a special significance in voicing the longing of the Jewish people for their ancient homeland in the psalms and prayers. The blessing “Next year in Jerusalem” has remained part of the Jewish ritual whereas physical contact between the Jews and their former national home was never completely abandoned, hence the central place of Zion in the thoughts and dreams of the Jews in their dispersion. The term Zionism was first publicly used by Nathan Birnbaum (1864–1937), one of the most distinguished intellectuals in the Jewish national circles of Austria and Germany. In 1885, in Vienna, Birnbaum founded and edited for the following years the first Jewish national journal in German, Selbstemanzipation [self-emancipation]. Consequently, the term Zionism first appeared in the 1 April, 1890 issue of the journal, and was explained by Birnbaum as a political orientation toward Eretz Israel [the Land of Israel], thus replacing a traditional philanthropic approach of the practically oriented movement Hibbat Zion [Love of Zion], which sprang...
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