The Holocaust And The Holocaust

Decent Essays

In 1896 Theodor Herzl, a Hungarian-born Jew, penned a pamphlet entitled “The Jewish State,” in which he fathered a new ideology: Zionism. The Zionist ideology states that the Jews will continue to be persecuted unless a Jewish nation is established in the land of Palestine. Herzl’s analysis of the continuity of Jewish persecution eerily foreshadowed the Holocaust—the historic Nazi genocide of Jews, Gypsies, and other minorities that occurred four decades after “The Jewish State” was published. But even in the Holocaust’s immediate aftermath, the anti-Semitic atmosphere remained insufferable to many Jewish survivors. Intellectuals have argued that Zionists in the postwar period, paradoxically, did not have Holocaust survivors’ best interests in mind, instead treating them as pieces to their own imperialist puzzle. However, the state of anti-Semitism in postwar Europe was dire, and warranted Zionist intervention. Jews were maltreated in Displaced Persons (DP) camps reminiscent of, although not the same as, Nazi death camps. Herzl’s insight seemed to be right: Jews were liberated by the Allies just to again be dehumanized. Thus, the Zionist project in the wake of the Holocaust was of a particular mission, both urgent and emotionally charged: to bring Diaspora Jews to safety in the Jewish homeland. Objectors to this mission, however, overlook the severity and longevity of Diaspora anti-Semitism, which clouds their perception of postwar Zionism. The postwar Zionist movement,

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