Today, experts differentiate between five forms of antisemitism in Europe: religious/anti-Jewish, völkisch/racist, secondary, anti-Zionist/anti-Israeli and Arab/Islamic. Although all five forms can appear parallel to or intermixed with one another, their emergence and development indicate particular historical roots. This article identifies the characteristics of the different forms of antisemitism and places them in their historical context. The main focus is on the transnational developments that are important for the European perspective.
In response to the emergence of political Zionism as an "international nationalism" towards the end of the 19th century, an inter- and transnational front that rejected Zionism also emerged in European Judaism. Within liberal and Orthodox Judaism in particular, the reservations regarding this new movement were so grave that organizations came into being, the main aim of which was to oppose Zionism. While the anti-Zionism of liberal Jews was primarily based on the fear that Jewish nationalism might endanger integration into non-Jewish society and give new momentum to anti-Semitism, anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews usually rejected Zionism not only because of the secularist trend at its core, but also because it was an attempt to bring about the messianic age by human intervention.
The longing for Zion, the hope that the dispersed Jews would be brought back to Eretz Israel, the land of Israel, had always been present in Judaism. However, Zionism as an active movement for the return of the Jews to Palestine only emerged in the second half of the 19th century. In the Jewish communities of many European countries, groups formed which supported the Zionist idea and which, in different ways, worked for the realization of that idea. The Jewish national movement emerged from cooperation between individuals and groups across borders. In this process, a multitude of ideologies and concepts developed, which sometimes led to the formation of new groups, and sometimes resulted in the acknowledgement of division. This article deals with the history of Zionism in the decades before the First World War, while focussing on the emergence, function and effect of communication and interaction across national borders. In particular, the article will concentrate on processes of interconnection and network-building which occurred in the context of tension between allegiance to the Jewish nation, rootedness in the nation state, and the cross-border, transnational activities of the Zionists.
This article traces the history of European-shaped Zionism during and after the First World War until the founding of Israel in 1948. Its primary aim is to show how the emerging project of the Jewish settlement of Palestine could withstand external and internal difficulties both under the British mandate and in the shadow of Nazism. From the beginning, political Zionism has been characterized by a triad of controversial partition plans, recurring "civil wars" and terrorism. This constellation gives an idea of why the State of Israel – regardless of some diplomatic successes – has failed, especially in the Middle East, to achieve lasting legitimacy either in a historical-political sense or according to international law.