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Theodor Herzl and the origins of Zionism: an interview with Shlomo Avineri

By Jonathan Derbyshire  

As the Israeli political theorist Shlomo Avineri observes in his new book, “Herzl”, Theodor Herzl (1860-1904) was not the first European Jewish intellectual to call for the establishment of a Jewish nation state. He had notable predecessors in, among others, Moses Hess and Leo Pinsker. Nevertheless, Avineri writes, “Herzl’s activity was crucial in creating the institutional and organisational structure which helped to bring the idea of a Jewish state to the attention of world leaders and international public opinion.” Herzl died more than 40 years before the founding of…

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