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Book Reviews 117 its vision into reality. But the reasons for the gap between theory and practice go beyond the rather narrowly focused indictment Sternhell constructs. State-making involves reconciling many conflicting interests and obligations in a society, which precisely because it is a society can yield only limited satisfactions. The scholarly task is not to condemn those who compromise in this political process but to understand how and why they made choices that had such an enduring impact on future generations. Donna Robinson Divine Department of Government Smith College Arab National Communism in the Jewish State, by Hana Kaufman. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997. 216 pp. $49.95. There are many stories ofthe political history of Israel. Hana Kaufman offers a unique and important version ofthe story, from the vantage point of the political development and mobilization of Arab communist parties in Israel. She achieves the herculean task of framing the successes and failures ofArab communist parties in Israel in the context ofglobal, national, and local events. At the root ofKaufrnan's analysis is class: the Arab Communist Party (CPI) was able to increase Palestinian-Israeli class consciousness by the 1970s through various political and economic policies. In a dialectical process (p. 10), this increase in class consciousness led to electoral successes in the ballot box in the 1970s. The CPI turned to an explicitly integrative form of ethnonationalism-that is, an acceptance of the existing state framework together with a demand for equal rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel within that state framework. This platform of integrative ethnonationalism is linked to the socioeconomic reality faced by PalestinianIsraelis , and to the CPI's class ideology, which was necessarily broader than a primordial ethnic identification. Beginning with the formation of the communist part in the 1920s, Kaufman outlines the development of the communist party into several parties with competing platforms. From 1920 to 1943, it was a binational, Arab and Jewish party supported mainly by educated urban Christians and anti-Zionist immigrant Jews. From 1943 to 1948 the party was split into a Jewish and an Arab communist party (p. 23). Then, from 1948 until 1961, the party was again reunited under the platform of recognition of the common class interests of working Jews and Arabs, and the demand for absolute equality for Arabs inside Israel (p. 83). Just before the 1961 elections, the CPI moved from an ethnonationalist to an integrative ethnonationalist platform (p. 63). The party continued to count a high number ofJewish members among its party leaders until 1965 (pp. 46--47). But during the period from 1961 to 1973, the CPI increasingly gained its 118 SHOFAR Summer 1999 Vol. 17, No.4 support from Arab groups. In particular, support came from Arab laborers residing in smaller, predominantly Arab towns (p. 90), and young, educated voters who, despite their increased education, were "only marginally more able to climb up the occupational ladder" (p. 95). Beginning in the 1970s, the CPI instituted new political and economic policies, which began to payoff in electoral returns. In the mid-1970s, the CPI vote reached as high as 37 percent of the Arab voting population (p. 94). Despite the high percentage ofArab votes, however, the CPI did not form an important voting bloc in the Knesset. Voter support for the CPI decreased to 33 percent by 1984 (p. 113) due, in part, to the emergence ofalternative Arab parties (p. 112). By the 1992 elections, the CPI share of the Arab vote went down to 23.2 percent. But because it, together with one other Arab party, was a blocking vote in the Labor-led coalition, it was able to assert unprecedented influence on Labor policy. The policies it demanded: Labor support of the peace process and equal rights for Palestinian-Israelis. Ultimately, then, the Arab communist parties in Israel have been important not only because they have made up a part of the political and social landscape of Israel, but because they have had an important impact on critical state policies, such as support for the peace process. The political and economic policies that resulted in the CPI's electoral successes in the 1970s included: (1) coalition building with local...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 117-119
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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