A Threat from Within

A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism

By Yakov M. Rabkin  

Paperback $27.95

His profound and extensive grounding in history and political science enabled the author to examine a variety of Judaic scholars whose views, however diverse, reflect the supremacy of Torah ethics over nationalism. I hope that their views, expressed mostly before the establishment of the State of Israel, will, in our post-Zionist times, help reduce anti-Semitism and show the way towards peace and security in the Middle East. –Rabbi Baruch Horovitz, Dean, Jerusalem Academy of Jewish Studies, Yeshivat Dvar Yerushalayim. 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. In fact, it is a more grievous and dangerous challenge than Arab and Palestinian hostility. The State, by increasing its achievements, leads the country straight into an abyss. To paraphrase Marx, one could say that Israel, by virtue of its spectacular development, is digging its own tomb. –Joseph Hodara, Professor of Sociology, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Yakov Rabkin has written an enlightening book about the historic diversity of Jewish views on Zionism with special attention to those religious Jews who seek continuity in Jewish life that transcends the Holocaust and Israel. By daring to question Zionism as it has come to be known and practiced, Rabkin squarely poses the question of the future of Jewish life. This question will form the struggle of Jewish identity in the 21st century. –Marc H. Ellis, University Professor of American and Jewish Studies, Director, Center for American and Jewish Studies, Baylor University

“To American Jews who have been educated to believe that supporting the State of Israel is a religious duty, this book offers a different and very valuable perspective.”-Tikkun, Berkeley, CA

“A useful reminder at a time when it almost seems as if Judaism has converted to Zionism.”-The Nation, New York

“Rabkin’s book demonstrates his mastery of detail… It is rich and deserves serious attention and respect.”-The Middle East in London, London, UK

“It is a book that matters, because many Jewish and non-Jewish readers often misunderstand this aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and fail to see that Zionism is ultimately the main source of this conflict.”-Uitpers, Antwerp

“Professor Rabkin illuminates issues easily overlooked yet crucial to any understanding, from any political perspective, of the Israel/Palestine conflict. I doubt anyone can read this book without coming out much the wiser for it, and in many different ways.”-Counterpunch.org

“A powerful provocative book, exposing much of what western religious and political figures refuse to examine … a very thought provoking read that should be mandatory for anyone considering what the future of the land of Israel/Palestine might be or should be.”-PalestineChronicle.com

“An entirely scholarly, groundbreaking and sometimes shocking book, Yakov Rabkin’s masterpiece is an experience of the first order for the unbeliever . … After reading this book, the debate on the Middle East can be conducted fairly. And that is no exaggeration.”-Liberales, Antwerp

“Calm and reflective, the book raises questions that are fateful for Jewish life in the 21st century.”-The Jewish Independent, Vancouver

“Basic reading for anyone concerned with modern Judaism, and with the political and theological debates now raging in the State of Israel and the Diaspora.”-Le Banquet, Paris

“The book shows how dangerous Zionism can be to the Jews.”-Al Jazeera.net

“Delivers a telling argument against anti-Semitism… On putting the book down, one can no longer confuse Judaism with the behaviour of an essentially secular state that claims to speak in the name of all Jews.”-Alternatives, Montréal

“This book appears today because there is an urgent need to recall the obvious: a Jew is not necessarily a Zionist, just as a Muslim is not necessarily an Islamist…”-L’Économiste, Rabat

“Demonstrates that Zionism and the state it created are by no means the culmination of Jewish history.”-La Distinction, Lausanne

“Sheds light on a deliberate and enduring confusion: the automatic, if not blind association of Jews with Zionists.”-Aujourd’hui Maroc, Casablanca

“It remains to be seen whether the break between Judaism and Zionism is final. But there can be no doubt that to label all opposition to Zionism anti-Semitism is as inaccurate as it is unjust.”-El Milenio, Mexico City

“This book shows why the idea that the Holy Land of Israel is a natural homeland and protector of all the Jews belongs to mythology.”-Le Figaro littéraire, Paris

“This book is the most extraordinary I have ever read. … a must for everybody … The author deserves the greatest respect for his courage.”-International, Zeitschrift für internationale Politik, Vienna

“Timely, well researched and thorough treatment of probably the most controversial issue in today’s Jewish world.”-Jewish Tribune, London

“An extraordinary book. I am enormously impressed by the author’s historical scholarship, by his brilliant analysis of a complex literature and the lucidity of his prose.”-Gregory Baum, Professor of Religious Studies, McGill University

“Opposition to Zionism used to be seen as a left-wing voice; now this book shows that this voice comes from within Judaism.”-Kojin Karatani, prominent Japanese philosopher and literary critic.

“This book sheds light on Jewish religious opposition to Zionism, which, demographically and ideologically, represents the most serious threat to Israel as a State and as a collective identity. In fact, it is a more grievous and dangerous challenge than Arab and Palestinian hostility.”-Dr Joseph Hodara, Professor of Sociology, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

“To American Jews who have been educated to believe that supporting the State of Israel is a religious duty, this book offers a different and very valuable perspective.”

— -Tikkun, Berkeley, CA

“A useful reminder at a time when it almost seems as if Judaism has converted to Zionism.”

— -The Nation, New York

“Rabkin’s book demonstrates his mastery of detail… It is rich and deserves serious attention and respect.”

— -The Middle East in London, London, UK

“It is a book that matters, because many Jewish and non-Jewish readers often misunderstand this aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and fail to see that Zionism is ultimately the main source of this conflict.”

— -Uitpers, Antwerp

“Professor Rabkin illuminates issues easily overlooked yet crucial to any understanding, from any political perspective, of the Israel/Palestine conflict. I doubt anyone can read this book without coming out much the wiser for it, and in many different ways.”

— -Counterpunch.org

“A powerful provocative book, exposing much of what western religious and political figures refuse to examine … a very thought provoking read that should be mandatory for anyone considering what the future of the land of Israel/Palestine might be or should be.”

— -PalestineChronicle.com

“An entirely scholarly, groundbreaking and sometimes shocking book, Yakov Rabkin’s masterpiece is an experience of the first order for the unbeliever . … After reading this book, the debate on the Middle East can be conducted fairly. And that is no exaggeration.”

— -Liberales, Antwerp

“Calm and reflective, the book raises questions that are fateful for Jewish life in the 21st century.”

— -The Jewish Independent, Vancouver

“Basic reading for anyone concerned with modern Judaism, and with the political and theological debates now raging in the State of Israel and the Diaspora.”

— -Le Banquet, Paris

“The book shows how dangerous Zionism can be to the Jews.”

— -Al Jazeera.net

“Delivers a telling argument against anti-Semitism… On putting the book down, one can no longer confuse Judaism with the behaviour of an essentially secular state that claims to speak in the name of all Jews.”

— -Alternatives, Montréal

“This book appears today because there is an urgent need to recall the obvious: a Jew is not necessarily a Zionist, just as a Muslim is not necessarily an Islamist…”

— -L’Économiste, Rabat

“Demonstrates that Zionism and the state it created are by no means the culmination of Jewish history.”

— -La Distinction, Lausanne

“Sheds light on a deliberate and enduring confusion: the automatic, if not blind association of Jews with Zionists.”

— -Aujourd’hui Maroc, Casablanca

“It remains to be seen whether the break between Judaism and Zionism is final. But there can be no doubt that to label all opposition to Zionism anti-Semitism is as inaccurate as it is unjust.”

— -El Milenio, Mexico City

“This book shows why the idea that the Holy Land of Israel is a natural homeland and protector of all the Jews belongs to mythology.”

— -Le Figaro littéraire, Paris

“This book is the most extraordinary I have ever read. … a must for everybody … The author deserves the greatest respect for his courage.”

— -International, Zeitschrift für internationale Politik, Vienna

“Timely, well researched and thorough treatment of probably the most controversial issue in today’s Jewish world.”

— -Jewish Tribune, London

“An extraordinary book. I am enormously impressed by the author’s historical scholarship, by his brilliant analysis of a complex literature and the lucidity of his prose.”

— -Gregory Baum, Professor of Religious Studies, McGill University

“Opposition to Zionism used to be seen as a left-wing voice; now this book shows that this voice comes from within Judaism.”

— -Kojin Karatani, prominent Japanese philosopher and literary critic.

“This book sheds light on Jewish religious opposition to Zionism, which, demographically and ideologically, represents the most serious threat to Israel as a State and as a collective identity. In fact, it is a more grievous and dangerous challenge than Arab and Palestinian hostility.”

— -Dr Joseph Hodara, Professor of Sociology, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

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Contents

  • Foreword
  • Prologue
  • Orientations
  • A New Identity
  • The Land of Israel: Exile and Return
  • The Use of Force
  • Collaboration and Its Limits
  • Zionism, the Shoah and the State of Israel
  • Prophecies of Destruction
  • Epilogue
  • Afterword
  • References
  • Glossary
  • Index

Authors

  • Yakov M. Rabkin

    University of Montreal

    YAKOV RABKIN has taught Jewish history and the history of science at the University of Montreal since 1973.