Zionism, as a political movement, developed with Communism in the late 1800s among the Jewish communities in the western regions of the Russian Empire. In Lithuania, Poland, Byelorussia, and Ukraine, particularly in areas with large Jewish populations, Zionism became a new national religion. From the beginning, the Communist and Zionist movements were closely intertwined.
In the late 1800s, the religious-political ideology of Zionism led Jews in search of a national identity to shun the local language and begin speaking and writing Hebrew, a language which had not been spoken for thousands of years. In the Soviet Union, Jews were considered a national group and Jewish nationality was marked as such in Soviet passports. A Jewish Autonomous Region was even established in the Soviet Union in the area of Birobidjan in 1934 with Yiddish as the official language.
Although the Russian and Eastern European Jews known as the Ashkenazi are not even Semites, but Slavic and Asiatic converts to Judaism, Zionist zeal led them to misidentify themselves as “Hebrew,” when for example, they entered the United States at Ellis Island.
The armed conquest and ethnic cleansing of Palestine was vigorously promoted in the 1930s by Ze’ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky, one of the most militant of Zionists. Jabotinsky, born in Odessa in 1880, became commander of the Zionist militia known as the Irgun in 1937. Jabotinsky headed the New Zionist Organization (N.Z.O), the Betar youth movement, and the Irgun militia, three extensions of the same extremist movement.
The Jabotinsky ideology maintains that the Jewish people have exclusive rights to all the Land of Israel, which it claims extends from the Nile of Egypt to the Euphrates River in Iraq.