'The Famous Trinity of 1917': Zionist Internationalism in Historical Perspective

Simon-Dubnow-Institut Jahrbuch (2016)

34 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2016

See all articles by James Loeffler

James Loeffler

University of Virginia - Corcoran Department of History

Date Written: August 10, 2016


Despite a plethora of recent new approaches to Jewish political history, the story of interwar Zionism is still consistently framed as a dichotomy between Diaspora rights-advocacy and state-building in Palestine. This article challenges that persistent historiographical trope by recovering the overlooked Jewish political tradition of Zionist internationalism, whose bearers simultaneously pursued the twin goals of political consolidation in a territorial homeland in Palestine and the construction of national autonomy in the Diaspora. Using the case study of Lithuanian Zionist leader and international lawyer Jacob Robinson (1899-1977), this article demonstrates the complementary relationship between autonomist and statist goals in interwar Zionist politics. After tracing Robinson’s rich, complex biography from the 1920s Lithuanian Parliament and the European Congress of National Minorities to the postwar United Nations and the Israeli Foreign Ministry, it concludes with a discussion of the debates engendered by the Eichmann Trial about the relationship between Zionism and international law.

Keywords: nationalism, internationalism, zionism, international law, minority rights, League of Nations, genocide

Suggested Citation

Loeffler, James, 'The Famous Trinity of 1917': Zionist Internationalism in Historical Perspective (August 10, 2016). Simon-Dubnow-Institut Jahrbuch (2016), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2868029

James Loeffler (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Corcoran Department of History ( email )

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Charlottesville, VA 22904
United States
6468727105 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://history.as.virginia.edu/people/jbl6w

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