Threat from Within: A History of Jewish Opposition to Zionism

Overview

There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in. These words by the poet Leonard Cohen could aptly describe this book, which takes history as a witness to the exceptional nature of Zionism in Jewish history. It explains many points of discord between the political ideology of Zionism and what most people consider Judaism. It also shows how Jewish traditional conscience offers a hope for the solution of the Middle East crisis. The conflicts in Israel/Palestine acquire a different meaning when seen in ...

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Overview

There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in. These words by the poet Leonard Cohen could aptly describe this book, which takes history as a witness to the exceptional nature of Zionism in Jewish history. It explains many points of discord between the political ideology of Zionism and what most people consider Judaism. It also shows how Jewish traditional conscience offers a hope for the solution of the Middle East crisis. The conflicts in Israel/Palestine acquire a different meaning when seen in the context of Jewish opposition to Zionism. This book has attracted Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike who find this story inspiring in today's world of mobile identities.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is required reading for every serious student of Jewish history and concerned layman alike."—Rabbi Daniel Greer, Dean, Yeshiva of New Haven

"By daring to question Zionism, Rabkin squarely poses the question of the future of Jewish life. This question will form the struggle of Jewish identity in the 21st century."—Dr. Marc H. Ellis, Professor of American and Jewish Studies, Baylor University

'This book sheds light on religious anti-Zionism, which, demographically and ideologically, represents the most serious threat to Israel as a State and as a collective identity"— Joseph Hodara, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

'I can only welcome the publication of this unconventional book based on often ignored historical facts. It is up to us to draw lessons from it.' - Rabbi Moshe Gérard Ackermann, Neve Yerushalayim Jewish Education Network, Jerusalem

'Yakov Rabkin has produced an altogether remarkable book that tells the story and analyses the ideas of the Orthodox Jewish movement opposed to Zionism and the State of Israel. I am enormously impressed by the author's historical scholarship, by his brilliant analysis of a complex literature and by the lucidity of his prose. This is an extraordinary book.' - Dr Gregory Baum, Professor of Theology, McGill University

'This book is fascinating. it presents a range of anti-Zionist arguments developed in Jewish religious circles that are practically unknown to the public. It is a solid contribution to scholarship.' - Dr Alain Bouchard, Professor of Theology, Laval University

'This is a capital book that comes at the very time that "the eternal Middle East question" demands new approaches that may defuse the crisis. This is why this book must be read without delay that the greatest number of people possible.' - Dr Charles Rhéaume, historian, Department of National Defense, Ottawa

'As an Israeli patriot and as a philosopher, I consider it essential to integrate the discourse of Judaic anti-Zionism into the badly needed public debate about our past, present and future.' - Dr Joseph Agassi, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; Tel-Aviv University and York University, Toronto

"This book helps defuse anti-Jewish violence" —Cardianl Godfried Danneels, Primate of Belgium

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781842776995
  • Publisher: Zed Books
  • Publication date: 5/14/2006
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 10.53 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Yakov M Rabkin is Professor of History at the University of Montreal.

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Table of Contents

Preface - Joseph Agassi
• Prologue
• Historical Signposts
• A New Identity
• Land of Israel between Exile and Returban
• Use of Force
• Collaboration with the Zionists: Limits and Opportunities
• Zionism, the Shoah and Israel
• Prophecies of Destruction and Strategies of Survival
• Epilogue

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2006

    Misses the point

    Yes the Zionists rejected G-d, blah blah, nothing really new here for a student of Jewish history. Rabkin mistakes the small 'z' zionism inherent in Judaism and the large 'Z' Zionism of those who merely keep fewer mitzvot than him--remember, half the mitzvot cant be kept outside the Land and virtually all Jewish leaders in all times always wanted and tried to live in the Land. Yes the Zionism of the kibbutzniks is not Judaism---nothing new in this analysis--- but better to 'judge for the good' as Rav Kook did, and see all the wonders caused by the return to the Land. A little shoddy on use of factual sources ie no footnotes and too anecdotal

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2008

    Exaltation of Opinions of Extreme and Fringe Jewish Sect

    Science history professor Yakov Rabkin has waded into uncharted and unfamiliar waters with this book on the history of religious Jewish views on the creation of the Jewish state. The book is awash with falsified quotations, mistakes galore, misinterpreted Scripture, and patent propaganda lifted from the former Soviet Union and the Arab League against Israel.<BR/><BR/>The major premise of the book is that Israel is an "illegitimate" state because the tiny ultra-orthodox Jewish sect Neturay Carta has always been opposed to it. The reason? Because its leaders are not ultra-orthodox!<BR/><BR/>Conflating these extremists with traditional Judaism, the author launches into a fulsome harangue against Israel's leaders for allegedly aiding the Nazis, starting five wars against the Arab world, forcing Jews to immigrate to Israel, and robbing the Arabs of Palestine of their property.<BR/><BR/>The book is a quick turn-off for anyone moderately familiar with the history of Israel. Looking around today, we see that the Neturay Carta sect has been excommunicated by all the ultra-orthodox Hassidic sects around the world and that the vast majority of religious and non-religious Jews enthusiastically support the Jewish state. Not only that, but the growing Christian Zionist movement, including thousands of persecuted Palestinian Christians, donate millions of dollars to the Jewish state annually.<BR/><BR/>Why this book at this time when it merely recycles shop-worn canards against Israel circulating in the 1950s? The answer is simple. The author is an avid acolyte of the powerful Palestine Lobby seeking to dismantle the Jewish state by calumny. War against Israel has failed. Economic boycotts have failed. Terrorism has failed. What's left? Why, propaganda of course, of the meanest and crudest sort.<BR/><BR/>Far be it for this reviewer to attribute motives to this professor of science history. All I know is that his attempt to bring down Israel by using its religion against it is nothing short of deceitful.<BR/><BR/>All those interested in Judaism and the state of Israel would be far better served by buying the outstanding work by the Holocaust-era rabbi Yissachar Teichtal, a Hungarian Hassidic leader who presents in simple and objective prose the Judaic imperative for the creation of the Jewish state and for the establishment of the holy Zionist project in the 20th century. Other outstanding rabbinical books on the Divine blessing of the state of Israel have been written by Rabbi Abraham Kook, the most beloved rabbi of all Israel in the early 1900s and by the great Hassidic sage Menachem Mendel Schneerson, late leader of the Chabad movement.<BR/><BR/>Of course, Rabkin steers clear of these giants in his book because they undermine his critical thesis. Pity.<BR/><BR/>Readers are also warned that there is little scholarly apparatus in this book - no normal footnotes, excessive use of secondary materials, reliance on anecdotes, and no endorsation by mainstream experts and rabbis. As well, the author's knowledge of Yiddish is nil.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2006

    It is coming at the right time

    While thoughtful and scholarly, this book is quite courageous as it patiently breaks many taboos. It questions the historical narrative of the Zionist movement and sheds light on a virtually unknown alternative Jewish narrative, that of Jewish opponents of Zionism. It shows that this latter narrative is grounded in centuries of Jewish continuity and is a lot more Jewish than the Zionist spin on history. Many Christians will find this book illuminating as it reminds us that our own faith is based on historical Judaism rather than on its modern Zionist version accepted in so many Christian circles nowadays. It is a book that opens minds and hearts.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2006

    Threat from within: A History of Jewish Opposition to Zionism

    This book is not a partisan collection of myths but a serene account of the roots of Jewish opposition to Zionism. It will definitely make you think about Zionism in a new and more critical light. A useful and courageous book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2006

    Threat from within: A History of Jewish Opposition to Zionism

    Finally someone explains the enigma of the 20th century: how Judaism was transformed into a political movement. After this book, few people will confuse Jews and Zionists. No wonder that there are more Christians (mostly born-again) than Jews who unconditionally support Israel.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2006

    Threat from within: A History of Jewish Opposition to Zionism

    Rabkin¿s book is a timely reminder to all of us that we Jews must seriously examine our present beliefs and reflexes. We have become so imbued with the role of Israel¿s advocates ¿ my country right or wrong ¿ that we end up justifying any and all cruel actions of Israel and her military. It is about time to repent and to return to our heritage that upholds justice for all. Rabkin shows that support for peace and resistance to oppression comes not only from the left-wing Jews (so often dismissed as self-hating) but also from the most traditional Jews deeply steeped in the Torah.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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