'Christian Zionism and Jewish Extremism'

Friday, December 03, 2004

Revisionist Zionism

Revisionist Zionism is a right-wing tendency of the Zionist movement. Revisionist Zionism is the ideology developed by Zeev Jabotinsky which advocated a "revision" of the mainstream "political Zionism" of Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weizmann.

In 1925, Jabotinsky formed the Revisionist Zionist Alliance to advocate his views which included the tactic of applying more intense pressure on Britain to allow the British Mandate of Palestine to become a Jewish state. Revisionism also advocated the creation of Jewish regiments. In the 1940s, this pressure on the British escalated to the level of violence and armed conflict when followers of Jabotinsky founded the Irgun and its more radical offshoot the Stern Gang.

Ideologically, Revisionism advocated the creation of a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River, i.e. a state which would include all or part of the modern state of Jordan. Revisionism also opposed power-sharing with Arabs and favoured at least a partial transfer of the Arab population out of Palestine in order to ensure a Jewish majority.

When, in 1935, the Zionist Organization (later known as the World Zionist Organization) failed to accept Jabotinsky's program, he and his followers seceded to form the New Zionist Organization. the NZO rejoined the ZO in 1946. Revisionism also had a youth wing known as Betar and formed a political party in Palestine named Herut under the leadership of Menachem Begin.

Revisionist Zionism was influenced by the romantic nationalism of Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi as well as the ideas of Nietzsche . In the 1930s a number of leading Revisionist were inspired by the fascist movements of Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco.

Abba Ahimeir, one of Jabotinsky's senior lieutenants in the 1930s, had a regular column in the Revisionist magazine Doar Hayom which ran under the title "From the Notebook of a Fascist".

He wrote hymns in which Jabotinsky was referred to as "Our Duce" and even argued that Hitler was on the right track except for his excessive anti-Semitism. Revisionism's favourable attitude towards fascism receded once Hitler took power and unleashed the Holocaust.

Revisionist Zionism was a minority trend in Zionism for many years but it gained influence in the decades after the creation of the state of Israel. In 1978 the Likud Party a right wing coalition dominated by the Revisionist Herut came to power and has been a dominant force in Israeli politics ever since.


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Milton Frihetsson, 1:30 AM