On Modern Jewish Politics

Synopsis

This book is a concise guide to and analysis of the complexities of modern Jewish politics in the interwar European and American diaspora. "Jewish politics" refers to the different and opposing visions of the Jewish future as formulated by various Jewish political parties and organizations and their efforts to implement their programs and thereby solve the "Jewish question." Mendelsohn begins by attempting a typology of these Jewish political parties and organizations, dividing them into a number of schools or "camps." He then suggests a "geography" of Jewish politics by locating the core areas of the various camps. There follows an analysis of the competition among the various Jewish political camps for hegemony in the Jewish world--an analysis that pays particular attention to the situation in the United States and Poland, the two largest diasporas, in the 1920s and 1930s. The final chapters ask the following questions: what were the sources of appeal of the various Jewish political camps (such as the Jewish left and Jewish nationalism), to what extent did the various factions succeed in their efforts to implement their plans for the Jewish future, and how were Jewish politics similar to, or different from, the politics of other minority groups in Europe and America? Mendelsohn concludes with a discussion of the great changes that have occurred in the world of Jewish politics since World War II.