Page 31 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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SHAV IT / ZIONIST HISTORIOGRAPHY
23
p icture o f Zionist history. It has sough t to accomplish this w ithout
apologetics and with a readiness to take into account also failures
and negative aspects.
OTHER OPTION'S
T h e Zionist historian is sometimes inhibited by the concept
th a t Zionism em erged as a “victorious movem ent.”6 Th is view­
po in t is d ictated no t only by ideological p re fe rence bu t also by the
assumption tha t all the o th e r historical alternatives o f the 19th
and 20th cen turies were unrealistic ones. Thu s , the history o f the
“B und ,” the Emancipation, etc., is seen as the history o f an illu­
sion tha t ended in tragedy. Such an historic perspective fails to do
justice to movements which in the ir time were o f g rea t value and
which played pivotal roles in Jewish history. Moreover, it glosses
over the fact tha t these alternatives (and others, like imm igration
to America) were powerful historic options with which Zionism
should have reckoned , and which it d id no t always succeed in
doing. T h e advantage o f the Zionist view is no t merely in its ap ­
p a ren t victory bu t in the fact tha t it rep resen ts an organized
m o v e m e n t ; a m o v e m e n t w i th a b r o a d b a s e , a s t a b l e
establishment, instrumentalities, etc., and tha t it made possible a
practical and concrete unde r tak ing — the forma tion o f a new na­
tional society. It is easier to write such a history than tha t o f an
ideology which rem a ined unfulfilled.
We have accounts o f the Zionist Organization d u r in g various
periods ,7 bu t it is paradoxical tha t we have no full history o f the
Organization as a political body possessing various institutional
arms. Similarly, we still have no full political history o f the
Yishuv. T h e im po rtan t study,
The Origins of the Israeli Policy: The
Political System of the Jewish Community in Palestine Under the Man­
date
(Hebrew: Tel-Aviv, 1977), by Dan Horowitz and Moshe
Lissak, offers a sociopolitical analysis o f the political community,
bu t does no t p resen t its political history. T h e re are many studies
o f various political parties and especially o f those affiliated with
‘Socialist Zionism.” During the past decade Zionist h istoriogra­
6 David Vital, “The History o f the Zionist and the History o f the Jews,”
Studies in
Zionism,
6, Autumn 1982.
7 See, for example, Michael Heymann (ed.),
The Minutes of the Zionist General
Council: The Uganda Controversy
(2 vols., Hebrew: Jerusalem, 1970, 1977).