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162 SHOFAR Winter 1999 Vol. 17, No.2 briefly in several chapters and then not at all. Ultimately, is there any connection or relationship possible between the two different groups ofIsraeli women who inhabit the same nation? Second, the tone ofthe book is often highly critical ofIsraeli women, for their willingness to accept maternalist "public ideas" and their vacillation between nationalism and feminism. Is this a case of blaming the victim for difficulties created by the state? This questions leads into the fmal, and potentially most significant one, for the future of Israeli women in politics. What is the evidence for a new synthesis, in which efforts at both mobilization (working outside the system) and integration (working inside the system) may come together, in an era described by the author as one ofunprecedented change? What can students of other developing, democratic nations learn from the problems and successes of Israeli women in politics? Joyce Gelb Department of Political Science City University ofNew York Zionism and the Arabs: An American Dilemma, 1898-1948, by Raphael Medoff. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997. 188 pp. $55.00. The presence of an Arab majority in Palestine confronted the Zionist movement with a serious political problem from its inception until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Organized political Zionism first appeared in the United States in 1898. It reached the peak ofits strength in the 1940s, when in cooperation with the Palestinian Zionists, it played a decisive role in the struggle to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Like their Palestinian Zionist counterparts, American Zionists faced a serious problem: the existence of an Arab majority in Palestine. Medoff's study, an outgrowth of his dissertation, examines the American Zionist attitude toward the Palestinian Arabs. He argues that through the prism ofthe Arab issue one learns "how American Zionists defmed themselves as Americans and as Jews: how they wrestled with conflicts between their dual identities; how they adjusted to American society while attempting to maintain ethnic loyalties" (p. 161). American Jews, according to Medoff, embraced Zionism only when they became persuaded that their Zionism would not conflict with their Americanism. Louis Brandeis' Americanized Zionism with its stress on philanthropy and help for refugees brought respectability to Zionism. But the issue ofPalestinian Arabs created a serious dilemma for American Zionists. How could they reconcile their American faith in democracy with their support for a Zionist enterprise in Palestine in the face of opposition by the majority ofthe Arab inhabitants ofthe land? Between 1898 and 1948, American Zionism devised a number of ingenious ways to cope with the problem. Before World War I, with no overt Book Reviews 163 organized Arab opposItIon, the question of reconciling the American belief in democracy and support for Zionism was unnecessary. In fact, Zionists harbored romantic notions about the Arabs and minimized Arab opposition to Jewish settlement in Palestine. So uninformed about the country and its people were many American Zionists that some described it as "a land without people for a people without a land." Zionist optimism was bolstered by the Balfour Declaration in 1917 with its promise to establish in Palestine "a national home for Jewish people" and reference to the Arab majority ofthe population in the country merely as "existing non-Jewish communities." This was a clear victory for Zionism. Throughout the 1920s, believing that economic progress and philanthropy would assure tranquility in Palestine, American Zionists minimized signs ofArab opposition by blaming outbreaks of violence on corrupt landlords, outside agitators, Christian Arabs, missionaries, and Communists. At the same time, realizing that Jews were a distinct minority and fearing that Arab opposition could threaten the Zionist enterprise in Palestine, American Zionists opposed the creation ofa legislative council in Palestine and thereby rejected democracy. In fact, until 1948 they rejected democracy and supported building up a Jewish majority in Palestine. Only then would democracy be called for. Indeed, until 1929 Arab opposition to Zionism was not taken seriously. In 1929 new and serious violence erupted in Palestine. Again, outsiders were blamed for the hostilities. After the riots, believing it would irreparably damage Zionism, American Zionists once more rejected a'revived call for establishing democracy in Palestine and even talked...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 162-165
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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