Americanism, with freedom and democracy at its core, and Zionism, the movement to create a free and democratic Jewish state, were the two most successful “isms” of the twentieth century. Their adversaries—communism, fascism, and antisemitism—murdered tens of millions. The stories of some of the leaders of the two triumphant movements, however, have in some cases not yet received their full recognition.
This book presents eight individuals—four born or raised in Europe, four in America—whose lives and achievements illustrate the intellectual and social revolutions that Americanism and Zionism brought into the world.
The stories include those of Theodor Herzl in Vienna, Ben Hecht in New York, Golda Meir in Evian, Vladimir Jabotinsky in London; Chaim Weizmann’s meetings with Emir Faisal and Lawrence of Arabia in World War I; 33-year-old Abba Eban’s appearance at the United Nations a week after the founding of Israel; Louis D. Brandeis’ historic Zionist speech in 1915 and Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the American Congress exactly a century later, organized by Israel’s American-born ambassador, Ron Dermer.
These stories are not only fascinating, but also historically significant. Taken together, they illuminate the central theme of the twentieth century—the struggle between freedom and its enemies—and the continuing struggle in the twenty-first, as both Americanism and Zionism face new challenges from totalitarian opponents seeking weapons of mass destruction.
The stories reflect the fact that remembering history is important both to honor the past and to shape the future.