All posts tagged: Lord Balfour

The 19th-Century Novel That Reaffirmed My Zionism

The 19th-Century Novel That Reaffirmed My Zionism

I’m a Zionist who often walks through the campus of Columbia University, which since October 7 means I feel like Dr. Evil in a frumpy sweater. The protest chant du jour is “Min el-maiyeh lel mayieh, Falasteen Arabiya” (“From water to water, Palestine will be Arab”);  a recent sign of note expresses support for the Houthis, the terrorist group whose motto includes the phrase “Death to America, death to Israel, a curse upon the Jews.” I put myself through this because I write in the Columbia library and you court bad luck when you change a writing routine. But the slogans get to me. So recently I decided to boost my morale with Zionist works of art, preferably of the escapist variety. I thought about binge-watching Fauda, but the hairbreadth escapes from Hamas arch-villains are too stressful. As it happens, though, I was already reading a Zionist novel. It dates from 1876, and I was vaguely aware that it had a Zionist angle but hadn’t anticipated just how soaring its vision of Jewish ingathering would …