The Gates of the Ghetto

Zionism’s roots were born from persecution, but in realising its goals it has enacted its own inescapable oppression. 

The first Aliyah, early Jewish immigrants to Ottoman Palestine, 1882-1903.
The first Aliyah, early Jewish immigrants to Ottoman Palestine, 1882-1903. World History Arachvie / Alamy Stock Photo.


Living and working in what is now Lithuania in the second half of the 19th century, the Russian Jewish writer Moshe Leib Lilienblum was confident that, with the right education, Jews and Christians would shed their religious prejudices and learn to live together. An advocate of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskala), Lilienblum saw the root cause of antisemitism as ignorance. It followed that once Jews and Gentiles had emancipated themselves from superstition, they would coexist harmoniously in a modern, liberal Europe. Reason would unite what historical contingency had torn asunder.

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