In the influential 1930 proletarian novel by Mike Gold, Jews without Money, a young narrator travels with his parents to the then suburbs of Brooklyn with a “Zionist leader” to consider the real estate speculator’s offer to buy into racially segregated housing tracts. Observing the isolation of the neighborhood and the ostentatious whiteness of the Zionist developer, Gold forces implicit connections among whiteness, Zionism, and speculation in land. Reinforced by the narrator’s positive identification with a working-class Jew who proudly identifies as racially marked, the young Mikey contrasts working-class antiracism with the class pretentions and racism of Zionism. This essay explores the Jewish world in which Gold’s novel was written, looking at the ways in which Jewish writers and journalists in the Communist Party and other left-wing organizations articulated an anti-Zionist politics as part of a global critique of capitalism and imperialism. This essay argues that left-wing anti-Zionism articulated an ontologically different concept of Jewish being-in-the-world up to and after the Holocaust, one that centered solidarity and diasporic anti-imperialism in the face of fascist violence. Linking anti-Zionism with a Jewish left critique of whiteness, this essay provides a counternarrative to the assumption that assimilation, bourgeois liberalism, and support for Zionism were teleological certainties for the Jewish Left, or that nationalism was the default response to the European Judeocide.


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pp. 449-470
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