The Palestinian-Israeli conflict dates to the period immediately following the end of the Second World War, when Jews (both in Palestine and in other parts of the world) began pressing strongly for the creation of a Jewish state. In the background of such agitation was the German/Nazi record throughout Europe between 1932 and 1945. Hilberg's authoritative study of what came to be called the Holocaust (1961) describes the progressive alienation of Jews by the German state: through a systematic definition of Jewish identity; expropriation (of Jewish rights and property); and enforced concentration, expulsion, deportation, enslavement, and murder. An estimated 6 million Jews, the largest ethno-religious plurality targeted by the Nazi regime, as well as 6 million non-Jews, experienced noncombat murder. There has been a longstanding diversity of scholarly opinion about whether the Holocaust was sui generis or part of a continuum of European history marked by church- and state-sponsored restrictions and emancipations of Jews (Dawidowicz, 1975; Wistrich, 1991). It does, however, seem generally agreed that the push for a Jewish state did not originate with World War II.
For much of the 19th century, particularly its latter half, European Jewish intellectuals such as Nachman Krochmal (1987) and S.R. Hirsch (1969) broached