“Enriching empires: Zionist developmentalism from the late Ottoman period to the British Palestine Mandate”

This paper explores how Zionist economic policy makers defined and defended the Zionist enterprise as a boon to both the Ottoman and British empires. Studying these intra-imperial relationships complicates how we understand developmentalism in the late 19th- and early 20th-century globe of competing empires. Specifically, this Ottoman/post-Ottoman case study evinces three interplaying dimensions, which can also be tracked through time across the Ottoman/post-Ottoman break. The first dimension is vertical intra-imperial: sub-imperial developmentalist projects whose actors situated themselves within a broader imperial project. The second dimension is horizontal intra-imperial, i.e. from the late 1910s Middle-East-wide transnational. It includes, in our case, relationships between the Zionist state project and Beirut-based knowledge producers, and refers to how sub-imperial developmentalist projects interplayed, and how those interplays persisted after 1918. And the third dimension is transnational/trans-imperial; it concerns the flux into and out of Ottoman and post-Ottoman polities of developmentalist ideas devised in empires around the world. In our case, this included inter alia German-educated Zionists who worked not only in their country of birth and, later, in Palestine, but also in colonies, especially before World War I.

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