The Political World of American Zionism

The Political World of American Zionism

The Political World of American Zionism

The Political World of American Zionism

Excerpt

Israel today stpnds as testimony to the power of a visionary idea and the force of a compelling need. About this idea, Zionism, and the events leading to the fulfillment of its political program, much has already been written; but the role of the United States, and especially of the American Jewish community, in the birth of Israel has been either ignored or grossly underplayed.

In a time when the nation's press customarily refers to American Jewry as "almost solidly pro-Israel if not actually Zionist," it is important to examine the genesis of this development in American Jewish public opinion. For American Jewry was not always pro-Israel. Hardly a generation has passed since major American Jewish organizations and leaders blocked the road to Jewish statehood and waged a militant struggle against fellow Jews in the Zionist movement. This fading of opposition and the consequent growth of Zionist influence are the focus for this study of public opinion formation and political action.

My work could not have been undertaken except for the truly impressive scholarship of a host of historians and social scientists. No less valuable were the bountiful writings of numerous Zionist officers, a publication achievement which must rank high in the annals of American social action movements. To all these men and women my debt is profound. Other than acknowledge it here, I can do no more than append a bibliography demonstrating the wealth and diversity of materials awaiting those who would look to our country's many subgroups for a view in microcosm of the American political process.

Those who have labored with me in this study are many. But for the cogent suggestions of Drs. Salo W. Baron, Harold Basilius, William N. Chambers, Abraham G. Duker, Lloyd P. Gartner, Irving Halperin, Ralph K. Huitt, Merle Kling, Robert H. Salisbury, and Mrs. Barbara C. Woodward, I express my particular gratitude, as I do to the helpful staffs of the Zionist Archives and Library in New York and of the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem. Thanks are . . .

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