The Emergence of American Zionism

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The images of Zionist pioneers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries--hard working, brawny, and living off the land--sprang from the ascendent socialist Zionist movement in Palestine known as Labor Zionism. The building of the Yishuv, a new Jewish society in Palestine, was accompanied by the rapid growth of Zionism worldwide. How did Zionism take shape in the United States? How did Labor Zionism and the Yishuv influence American Jews? Zionism and Labor Zionism had a much more substantial impact on the American Jewish scene than has been recognized. Drawing on meticulous research, Mark A. Raider describes Labor Zionism's dramatic transformation in the American context from a marginal immigrant party into a significant political force. The Emergence of American Zionism challenges many of the prevailing assumptions of Jewish and Zionist history that have held sway for a full generation. It shows how and why American Labor Zionism-- the voice of Labor Palestine on American soil --played such an important role in formulating the program and outlook of American Zionism. It also examines more generally the impact of Zionism on American Jews, making the case that Zionism's cultural vitality, intellectual diversity, and unparalleled ability to rally public opinion in times of crisis were central to the American Jewish experience.