The Political World of American Zionism

By Samuel Halperin | Go to book overview
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zionism and religious organizations


Surveying the growth of pro-Zionist opinion in diverse sectors of the American Jewish community as well as in certain areas of the overall American society, we shall be particularly concerned with Zionists' efforts to bolster their power potential by attracting existing national Jewish organizations and their constituents to the Zionist political program.

At the outset, it must be recognized that a group's establishment of alliances with other groups is a characteristic feature of the political process in the United States. On this point, one would do well to ponder the observation of political scientist David Truman. Considering the fact that any interest group constitutes only a tiny minority of those active in political competition, alliances with other organized interests are eminently practical, if not inevitable. In a democratic society cherishing the notion of majority agreement as the desired prerequisite for decision-making,

...groups often find it essential to make alliances in order to assert their claims effectively. Alliances are a means of enlarging a public, and the facilities of allied organizations are channels through which a friendly group's propaganda may flow...such channels have for the membership of the allied group a prestige and influence greater than that of any "outside" group. Access to these channels, therefore, reduces the hazards facing an outside group.1

That Zionist leadership conceived of its goal in essentially identical terms is indicated by the frequency with which Zionists


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