Few ideas in the modern era have had as momentous an impact on the world as Zionism. Born at a moment of Jewish national crisis, the Zionist goal of a homeland for the Jews of Eastern Europe seemed nothing if not the hopelessly utopian dream of a poor and powerless people. Less than a century later, that dream had become a reality. Yet despite the many successes of the Jewish state it remains one of the world’s most controversial nations. The Zionist Idea, a feature-length documentary funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and set for theatrical release and public television will explore the controversial history of Zionism as never before. Our film will not be a history of the State of Israel, nor will it be a political polemic or hagiographic portrait. It will be a clear-eyed look at the idea behind a Jewish State. From the very beginning, Zionism’s success has engendered conflict in the Middle East and has had had powerful consequences for Jews, for Palestinians and for the international community. Meant to alter Jewish destiny, Zionism has altered the destinies of Palestinians as well creating a conflict between two peoples struggling for national expression in a small but richly significant piece of land. The tragedy of this history, as both the Israeli novelist, Amos Oz, and the Palestinian scholar, Sari Nusseibeh, have each pointed out, is that it is not a battle between a right and a wrong but between two rights. To bring to life the history of the Zionist Idea in Palestine/Israel we will portray the complex and fascinating men and women who have lived the Zionist Idea past and present and those who have fought against it: writers, politicians, activists, the young and the old, Israeli and Palestinian. The film will focus in-depth on several critical moments in the history of The Zionist Idea in order to show how Zionist thinking evolved as it confronted new realities. We’ll explain its origins in Europe; its development in the young Yishuv (the early Jewish Zionist settlement in Palestine); the 1948 war known alternately as the War of Independence and the Nakba by the two peoples; the Six Day War; the West Bank Settlement Movement and the present day. Lively, visually stunning and intellectually provocative, The Zionist Idea will be the first film of its kind for American audiences.