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Jews Against Zionism: The American Council for Judaism, 1942-1948

Jews Against Zionism: The American Council for Judaism, 1942-1948 [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Kolsky

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"[A]bsorbing and challenging." --The New York Times Book Review "Kolsky tells well...the story of the ACJ in its prime" --The Christian Century "The American Council for Judaism['s]...story is now ably told by Thomas Kolsky... In the tragedy of the European Jews and the saga of Israel's founding, the American Council for Judaism is a footnote, but not an insignificant one. Many of its fears have been realized..." --The Philadelphia Inquirer "This book is an excellent antidote to the stereotypical images associated with 'anti-Zionism'...Kolsky has documented [the ACJ] with objectivity and understanding." --Middle East Journal "[The book] has a particularly pertinent message for a U.S. administration sponsoring a Middle East 'peace process' while at the same time closing its doors to emigrating Soviet Jews... [Kolsky's] book helps bring into the open the ghosts that have been well-closeted for over forty years." --Journal of Palestine Studies "Even today, the American Jewish community generally remembers the American Council for Judaism as being a group of 'cowardly traitors.' Kolsky has done an excellent job of undermining this view. He presents the members of the Council as being a group of well-meaning and idealistic men who were the last champions of a liberal ideology rooted in the Enlightenment." --Aaron Berman, School of Social Science, Hampshire College "Kolsky has written a dispassionate yet gripping history of this star-crossed mission... [He] provides rich detail in describing the efforts of the ACJ to win over American Jews and policy makers... We are in Thomas Kolsky's debt for retelling the story." --American-Arab Affairs

Product Description

This is the first full-scale history of the only organized American Jewish opposition to Zionism during the 1940s. Despite extensive literature on the Zionist movement, the Jewish opposition to Zionism has received only marginal and usually negative attention. In this impartial study, Thomas A. Kolsky examines the neglected phenomenon of Jewish anti-Zionism, its roots, and its results.

In 1942, a number of dissident Reform rabbis founded the American Council for Judaism, the first and only Jewish organization created to fight against Zionism and the establishment of a Jewish state. Emphasizing the purely religious nature of Judaism and unequivocally rejecting Jewish nationalism, the Council supported free Jewish immigration and equal rights for Jews throughout the world. For Palestine, specifically, it advocated establishment of a democratic state wherein all citizens, regardless of their religion, would enjoy equal political rights.

Summarizing both the history of Zionism and the history of American Jews, Kolsky traces the effects of the Holocaust on the Zionist movement and the personalities that shaped the leadership of the Council. Its position toward Zionism has particular contemporary relevance in understanding the historical relationship between Israel and the Palestinians.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3304 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press (4 Nov 1992)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important and Engaging Book 4 Mar 2012
By Mike Doran - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is well researched and highly readable. In addition, it sheds light on a topic of great importance to a number of fields of history. I myself am primarily interested in United States policy toward the Middle East, not American Jewish history. Kolsky, however, taught me much about the struggle between the Truman White House and the State Department over whether to support the emergence of a Jewish state. One particularly satisfying nugget is his discussion of the relationship between Kermit Roosevelt, of Mosaddeq fame, and the American Council for Judaism (ACJ). This story is fascinating in its own right but it also illuminates an important but forgotten stage of Roosevelt's career.

JEWS AGAINST ZIONISM has surprising resonance with the present. The author was, quite simply, way ahead of his time. Kolsky published this book twenty years ago -- that is, long before the rise of J-Street, Peter Beinart's analysis of young American Jews' disaffection with Israel, and Tony Judt's calls for a one state solution. Thanks to this book, anyone with just a passing familiarity with the current unease toward Israel among Jews will recognize that the sentiment has a very deep history in the Reform Movement. Unlike much of the writing on this subject, Kolsky is admirably nonpartisan. One assumes that he has positive feelings toward the ACJ. But that's just it: one assumes; Kolsky himself does not reveal his bias. He simply tells the story and let's you draw your own conclusion -- and he tells it well.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative 31 Jan 2012
By rudolphus - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very informative book about the history of Jewish anti-zionism in the USA. Highly recommended for open minded individuals. It details the American Council for Judaism, an American anti-zionist group that operated in the 40s.
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