Skip to content

Directed by Joseph Dorman, Oren Rudavsky


This ambitious examination of the origins, meaning and future of the Jewish national movement chronicles birth at a moment of crisis to the thriving democracy of today. The film opens in the shtetls of Eastern Europe, and then recounts the early settlement of Palestine and the resulting Arab clashes, the evolution of disputed occupied territories, the rise of the revisionist movement, and the ensuing ideological debate over Zionist ideals. Resisting one-sided historical interpretations, Dorman and Rudavsky take a multifaceted approach to a polarizing subject, weaving interviews with politicians, academics, and activists—both Israeli and Palestinian—among exceptional archival footage. At a time when Israel’s direction is questioned by friends and enemies more than ever, The Zionist Idea seeks to contextualize the triumphs and trials of the Jewish homeland.

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.