American Zionist leaders and the Palestinian Arabs, 1898-1948
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This dissertation examines the evolution of the attitudes of American Zionist leaders towards the Palestinian Arabs during the years from the rise of organized American Zionism until the establishment of the State of Israel.;American Zionism developed in response to unique American political and social conditions which differed substantially from the conditions that influenced the development of European Zionism. Historians have shown that the American brand of Zionism became popular among American Jews primarily because the leaders of the American Zionist movement promoted a uniquely Americanized form of Zionism, known to many as "Palestinianism," which attracted American Jews by eliminating those aspects of traditional Zionist ideology that clashed with Americanism while emphasizing those aspects (such as philanthropy) that appealed to their sense of what was acceptable behavior for an American minority group.;One unexplored aspect of the "Palestinianism" phenomenon is the issue of American Zionist attitudes towards the Palestinian Arabs.;The evolution of American Zionist attitudes on the Arab question was shaped by a conflict within American Zionist thought between its "American" component and its "Zionist component," between the American ideals which led to Palestinianism and the more narrow Jewish interests which were necessary for the realization of Zionism.;Until now, scholars have assumed that the American Zionist leadership ignored the issue of Palestinian Arab opposition to Zionism. According to this assumption, Zionist leaders regarded Palestine as "a land without a people" and therefore were not concerned with the fate of the few local Arabs or the relationship between those Arabs and the Palestinian Jewish community. This dissertation contends that many American Zionist leaders were in fact extremely interested in the Arab issue, and discussed a wide range of ideas about how Zionism should relate to the Palestinian Arabs, ranging from establishing a binational Arab-Jewish state to persuading Arabs to emigrate from Palestine, and various options between those two extremes. Some of these ideas were the product of American Zionists' uniquely American perspective; some contradicted American ideals and were thus the subject of heated debate among American Zionists.