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February 5, 1975     The Jewish Transcript
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Page 10 The Jewish Transcript February 5, 1975 BOOK REVIEW Zionism's Uphill Fight in "American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust" by Melvin I. Urofsky. Anchor Press-Doubleday. $12.50. by Harvey Bresler Mr. Bresler teaches at University of Puget Sound, aftcr many Fears as a professor in eastern U.S. schools. He regularly reviews books for the Seattle Times. Zionism in America has come a long way. Today if is self- sufficient, mature, tt speaks in one voice for American Jewry. But its path has not been easy. During long years of 'ap- prenticeship,' most Jews who mattered remained aloof. The reform rabbinate con- demned Zionism as a denial of the need for progressive Judaism to look fo the present, and not the dead past of the Temple. The Orthodox were equally scornful, considering Zionism a denial of divine will; Israel would be redeemed only by God and when he saw fit. Socialists rejected the movement as a manifestation of nationalism. To American Jewish aristocracy there was only one true Zion---the America which had been so good to them. The teeming immigrant masses were too preoccupied ,with the problems of sheer survival to much care about self-redemption of the Jew in Palestine. A Long Struggle For too many years what little support the struggling Zionist Organization of America got from the Jewish community was from a handful of intellectuals newly arrived from Russia and Poland. For too many decades the rnOVemen in this country was moribund. If took Russian pogoms, the Dreyfus case with its sinister overtones of anti-Semitism and the plight of millions of European Jews victimized by the Great War to awaken American Jewry to the need for a homeland. Brandeis Helped One of the first to "get religion" was Louis Dembitz Brandeis. Distinguished progressive, out- standing lawyer, he was a Boston brahmin whose ties with Judaism were at best quite tenuous. His passionate commitment to Zionism and his selfless leadership of the movement in this country for many years brought it respec- TH "= ]B O IT COINS WANTED We are constantly in the market to purchase rare coins and paper money. We will pay you top prices for either single coins or entire collections. Bring or send yours to the coin department for our inspection and high cash offer. GOLD AND SILVER COINS ESPECIALLY WANTED Coin and Stamp Dept. Downtown, 8th floor 344-7225 le U.S. tability and the support of wealthy and influential Jews. Detractors of Brandeis have ascribed base motives to his sudden conversion to Zionism, accusing him of using it to further his political ambitions. Not so, says the author and anyone who has followed the career of that great idealist would agree. Brandeis saw in Zionism an instrument for reform as necessary and as apple pie as say, a ban against child labor. It was consonant with the highest prin- ciples of the Judeo-Christian ethic. Brandeis not only legitimized Zionism, he Americanized it. Jewish folklore has it that when two Jews meet you get three discussions and four organizations. You also sometimes get factional strife. Controversy Raged The American Zionist organization had its fair sha- of iockeying for leadership bet- ween assimilated German Jews and the arrivals from Eastern Europe, the national organization and the world body, Brandeis and the legendary Chaim Weizman, those who envisaged Palestine as a haven for the Jewish refugee and those who saw it as the jumping-off place for a messianic mission to purify mankind. It took the Nazi holocaust to coalesce American Jewry behind Zionism statehood for Israel. Emotional Criticism? It is fashionable in some Jewish circles today to criticize Israel: it is cocky, intransigent, indifferent to the plight of the Palestinian, bellicose, (the New Left says it is. imperialist, even fascist); its people are brash and pushy and they have not read Emily Post. To these Israel-watchers, well- meaning and otherwise, there perhaps are three answers: (1) Any objective student of this nation's early history will attest that we were guilty of the same transgressions of which the Israelis now stand accused; (2) There is a vast difference between constructive criticism born of a knowledge of the facts and purely emotional assessments of blame, and (3) Israel today is a beleaguered nation. It stands alone. Its survival is threatened. This is a time for support. The criticisms can come later. Meeting With PLO Rep Raises Hackles Tel Aviv (JTA)--Mapam recently supported its political secretary Naphtali Feder, in a bitter controversy over what Feder described as an unplanned, casual meeting with a PLO representative in a Prague hotel restaurant. The meeting occurred while Feder was attending an unofficial gathering of multi-national peace committees during which, he freely reported, he met with .and was sought out by delegates from Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon. Likud Storm His brief meeting with a PLO man, which he had failed to mention in his initial report, set off a political storm in Israel. Likud circles demanded that Feder be prosecuted for contact with an enemy agent. Likud filed a Knesset motion for an urgent debate on the matter. Feder's Version Feder recently gave his version of the incident on television. He said he was sitting at lunch with three other people when a fourth man approached, asked if he could loin the group and introduced himself as a PLO representative. "We exchanged some polite remarks and then a few words over our respective attitudes after which it became evident that there is noroom for talks with the PLO," Feder said. He did not identify the PLO man by name, but said the man had asked him if he was not afraid of legal consequences when he returned to Israel as a result of their conversation. Feder said he had replied that his was a democratic country, where people can talk freely. DAVIDSON GALLERIF_200 FINE ORIGINAL POSTERS thru February MERCER ISLAND PIONEER SQUARE SHOPPING CENTER 121 So. MAIN # .I/Jr" " VILLAC;E 1-hr. Martinizing BA 6-8830 53 S. Grady Way RENTON 624-104 NE across from Bellevue Square 454-3017 - - .: Symbofizing the plight of Syrian Jewry, these youngsters in prisoner's garb are among 20 high school and university students who shut themselves in cages placed in Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Circus and Kikar Malchei YisraeL Their action was part of nation-wide demonstrations held during "'Identification Week for Syrian Jewry. "-Israel Sun Photo. J Earthmovers Dig Settlements South of Gaza JNF bulldozers and earthmovers are preparing land for a new settlement--Ogda--south of the Gaza Strip, David Sternoff, president, Jewish National Fund, Seattle announces. In three months, after the JNF completes its work, the Israeli Ministry of Housing will move and build houses for 100 farming families, who will make this future Moshav their home. Work Speeds Up In addition to Ogda, the JNF is breaking ground also for Sukkot, a future kibbutz near Ogda and for Kibbutz Nahal Sinai. Jerusalem JNF sources said work on these settlements has speeded up, by high government orders to complete development of a vitally strategic area--Pifhat Rafiah (Rafah salient), prior to a real peace with Egypt, if and when it comes. More Settlements Seven more settlements-- Moshavin or Kibbutzim--are planned for the region. Possibly they will become the furthermost area of Israeli control along the Mediterranean coast, sealing off the Gaza strip from Sinai proper-- under a peace treaty with Egypt, which may give the latter back the Sinai peninsula, including the city of EI-Arish, according to JNF officials. Golda's operation Jerusalem (JTA) _ Former Premier Golda Meir was operated on her eye last month at Hadassah Medical Center here to remove a cataract. Her condition was reported good. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIlUUlIIIIII i Remember i Your Sweetheart J i iBROADWAYI i FLORIST [Sam and Bw00,a00 - 4]0 Broadway East, i EA 4.30000 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 }_ '23:;41 ,411, II.E. ,rE 23-3845 Did you ever consider a meaningful life in Israel? We at the ISRAEL ALIYAH CENTER offer information and assistance in,making your dream a reality. Write or call: Israel Aliyah Center, Inc. 46 Kearny St. San Francisco, Ca. 94108 Tel: (415) 392-3970, 392-8998 Recorded Message: (415) 392-3420