Diaspora Zionism

Many Jews fled to America to avoid persecution and pursue a better life. They were torn between the prospect of two "promised lands." The prevailing culture within large segments of America's Jewish community was committed to helping other Jews, including those in Israel, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. American Jews became an emotional, financial, technical, and political pipeline for Zionism; they were essential in realizing the Zionist dream.

American Jewish lawyer and Associate Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis popularized Diaspora Zionism. Its proponents "endorsed Israeli Judaism, Israeli life, and Zionist values as healthy, non-materialistic alternatives to Western selfishness and American Jewish superficiality."

Diaspora Zionists created an American Jewish interest and support for establishing a Jewish home in the land of Israel. Diaspora Zionism promoted secular, liberal democratic values and expanded Zionism to include the idea of philanthropic support. According to historian Gil Troy, it also led to movements to rescue Jews from oppressive nations like the USSR.

“It is Democracy that Zionism represents. It is Social Justice which Zionism represents, and every bit of that is the American ideal of the twentieth century.”

—Louis D. Brandeis

Source: "The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland—Then, Now, Tomorrow" by Gil Troy

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