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Top: Jewish References & Documents: Scholarly Jewish History by Jewish Historians: Notes & Quotes for David Baile on Jewish Power and Powerlessness


"Power & Powerlessness, by David Baile, Jewish Scholar, 244 pages.

POWER AND POWERLESSNESS IN JEWISH HISTORY

By David Baile, Jewish Scholar & Historian

Absolutism--How Jews Lost Autonomy Over Their People To The Christian National "Center"

More important than political decline in changing the Jewish status was the slow growth of the absolutist state. In the Middle Ages, Jews profited from the division of power between the Church, the kings, and the nobility. But if the fragmentation of power served Jewish interests in the Middle Ages, the concentration of power in the hands of absolutist monarchs in later years ultimately subverted the Jewish position by destroying their old communal autonomy. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Schocken Books, New York 1986, pp, 88-89.

Absolutism--The Total Centering of National Control

Without denying the many social and religious causes for these expulsions, the political framework in which they took place was closer to absolutist nationalism than to the medieval state. This new nationalism regarded the Jews as a foreign body, to be either thoroughly absorbed or expelled.

Just as the beginning of the absolutist age is unclear, so is it difficult to speak of an age of absolutism occurring at the same time in all places and meaning the same thing. Russian absolutism began with Peter the Great in the first part of the eighteenth century but culminated only in the reign of Czar Nicholas J (1825-55).

The absolutist state evolved into its first developed form on the European continent in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in France and Germany, particularly in Prussia.5 The devastating Thirty Years War eroded much of the basis for local power, which was in the hands of the landholding nobility and the cities. Into this vacuum moved the princes and kings, who now sought to develop monarchical power not as "the first among equals" in relation to the estates or of corporations, but as absolute and exclusive. They created a new, professional bureaucracy and standing armies, neither of which had real precedents in the Middle Ages. With these innovations, monarchs sought to establish institutions independent of the nobility that provided means of ruling all of society in their sole interests. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Schocken Books, New York 1986, pp, 88-89.

The Four Jewish Political IdeologiesZionism, Socialism, Liberalism, and Territorialism

Between the years 1971-19, the four major Jewish ideologies of this period---Zionism, socialism, liberalism, and territorialismseemed coincidentally to achieve the first stages of success. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a noted Jewish historian, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, pp, 119-120.

Red Revolution--Disproportion of Jews in the Movement

In November 1917, the Russian Revolution had overthrown the yoke of czarism, under which the largest mass of Jews still lived. For many, revolution held the only promise for a solution to the continuing inequality and persecution of the Jews in Russia. As a result, all of the parties that supported the February Revolution, from the Cadets to the Bolsheviks, had a disproportionately large number of Jewish members. For those committed to a socialist solution to what was called the Jewish question, the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks in November 1917 seemed to herald a messianic era. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, pp, 119-120.

Germany's Weimar RepublicPolitical Emancipation of the Jews in Germany

On the other hand, the creation of the Weimar Republic in Germany at the end of World War I seemed to signify the triumph of liberalism, for only in Weimar did the long struggle for the social as well as political emancipation of the Jews in Germany achieve fulfillment. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, pp, 120.

Versailles Treaty--Program of the Jewish Socialist Bundists Achieved in Eastern Europe

And, finally, the Versailles peace conference established the principle of the national rights of minorities in the new states of Eastern Europe, a development with potentially far-reaching consequences for the large Jewish populations, especially in the reconstituted Polish Republic. This seemed to be the realization of the program of the socialist Bundists and other "territorialists," who fought for Jewish political and cultural autonomy in multiethnic Eastern Europe. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p, 119.

The Jewish IdeologiesSocialism, Liberalism, Territorialism, Zionism, American Pluralism

Within the next few decades, however, three of these four ideologies suffered their death blows in Europe: socialism as a result of Stalin's purges, liberalism in Weimar Germany with the rise of the Nazis, and territorialism with the emergence of fascist regimes in Eastern Europe-and, finally all three with the Holocaust. All the "European" solutions of the Jewish question became victims of the Nazis since, after the Holocaust, there were no longer significant numbers of Jews in Europe whose "question" needed to be solved. With the demise of these "European" solutions, only "extra-European" ones remained for world Jewry: Zionism and American pluralism, two alternatives that rose on the agenda during this fateful period. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, pp, 119-120.

Jewish "Immigration" to Cities Causing Significant "Plurality of Jews" in City Areas, 1825-1900

The new political movements were the result of fundamental changes in Jewish life in the second half of the nineteenth century, particularly in Eastern Europe. A tremendous population explosion took place primarily in that region, and to a lesser degree in Central Europe. For reasons that are still unclear, European Jews multiplied at a rate faster than their non-Jewish neighbors, increasing from 2.75 million in 1825 to over 8.5 million in 1900. Together with this population explosion came an enormous movement of Jews into cities. The Jews had been an urban people since late antiquity. In Eastern Europe, they were always a large proportion of the population of private, noble towns. In the nineteenth century, as the European countries began to urbanize in the modern sense, Jews moved into large cities at a far higher rate than non-Jews. The population of Berlin increased twelve times in the course of the nineteenth century, but the Jewish population of Berlin increased twenty-seven times. In the Russian Empire, the process of dispersing into tiny villages, which had occurred in the eighteenth century, was substantially reversed in the nineteenth. The small towns or shtetlach could no longer support the population, and tens of thousands of Jews migrated to the cities or the new territories.2 Jews rose from 25 percent of the population of Warsaw in 1860 to 33 percent only a decade later. In city after city in western Russia, they became either a near or a clear majority.

With the population explosion and urbanization came rapid impoverishment, as the traditional Jewish occupations of small-scale commerce and independent artisanry became either unprofitable or impossible. Within the brief period of one or two generations, many Jews by the end of the nineteenth century had become industrial workers, although typically in small shops owned by other Jews who were often almost impoverished themselves. At the same time, partly as a result of pressures and incentives from the Russian Government, a small group of Jews turned to farming. The "productivization" of the Jews, which the maskilim had advocated, began to take place in Russia, although not necessarily along the ideological lines envisioned by the intellectuals. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, pp, 120.

Jewish Subversion of Czarist & Christian Russia Resulting in Pograms and Expulsions

The rise of a new form of anti-Jewish feeling was a symptom of the growing crisis regarding Jewish emancipation in Europe. In Russia, the liberal reforms of Czar Alexander II failed to lead to civil emancipation of the Jews. When Alexander was assassinated in 1881, the new czar, Alexander III, took the throne to the echoes of the first anti-Jewish pogroms in over a century. Alexander III's government enacted a series of measures sharply curtailing Jewish participation in Russian society. The government of his successor, Nicholas II (1894-1917), presided over an even more bloody series of pogroms in the first years of the twentieth century. Instead of moving toward emancipation, Czarist Russia seemed to be heading in a more and more reactionary direction. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 122.

Jewish Concept of "Pluralism" to Defeat Nationalism

The new anti-Semitism, together with the mushrooming number of impoverished Jews, provided the impetus for the greatest migration of Jewish history: from Russia and Eastern Europe to Western Europe and, most significantly, from Europe as a whole to other continents.5 It now became increasingly apparent that the long European age of Jewish history was coming to an end. The task for Jewish politics was no longer to remake society so that it would tolerate all religions, as it had been for the Haskalah. It was now necessary either to remake society or remake the world so that it could swallow and digest all national groups. For that reason, the solutions proposed were more radical than they had been in the past, and the movements more revolutionary. If European society could not be transformed, the problems of the Jews would have to be solved outside of Europe. Through emmigration, more and more Jews were voting for this solution with their feet. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, pp, 123.

Jewish Armed Self-Defense in Europe

Jews began to perceive themselves as a national body dispersed over many countries as opposed to a discrete corpo ration in each country, and they began to act more internationally than they ever had in the past. In earlier periods, they in a time of persecution. If the image of passivity is unconvincing for the Middle Ages, it is equally false for the period of pogroms at the beginning of the twentieth century. This tradition of resistance continued later, in the 1930s, when Polish Jews again faced anti-Semitic attacks which Bundists, Zionists, and others met with a variety of tactics including armed self-defense. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, pp, 125-126.

Jewish Socialist & Other Religious Parties, 1919-1929

The emergence of Jewish political parties in many states of Eastern Europe was characteristic of the new politics. Fol lowing World War I, the Jews entered the political life of the new states and demanded their rights as a national minority. In Czechoslovakia, they created their own party, which won 104,539 votes in the election of 1929 and waged a vigorous fight against anti-Semitism. Jewish politics also developed in Rumania, Lithuania, and Latvia.11 The greatest political activity was in interwar Poland, where a host of Jewish parties competed for power within the Jewish community and also ran their own slates for the Polish parliament.12 The parties represented various types of Zionists, from bourgeois to socialist; the Bund; and religious groups, including the religious Zionist (Mizrachi) and the ultra-Orthodox Agudat Israel. In a shrewd bid to enhance the power of ethnic minorities in Poland, the Zionists organized alliances with other national minorities to win parliamentary elections. In the face of increasing anti-Semitism, Jewish political activity reached a high-water mark. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 127..

The Original Zionist Conspirators--Hertzl, Weizmann, and Ben Gurion

In the cities of Russia, and in Central and Western Europe as well, new elites, many of whom had achieved success through professions outside the Jewish community, made claims to leadership. Theodor Herzl and Vladimir Jabotinsky were journalists, Chaim Weizmann a scientist, David Ben Gurion a student intellectual. The ascendancy of Theodor Herzl from assimilated circumstances to an almost messianic status was only possible as a result of the decline of the traditional leadership and the opening up of new avenues to power. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 127.

Jewish Radical Leftist Movements -- Political Subversion & Control of The Red Revolution

The student intelligentsia in Russia, which acquired its political education at Russian gymnasia and universities, is another example of the rise of new leaders. These Jewish revolutionaries frequently started their careers with no intention of returning to the Jewish people. The pogroms of 1881 shocked many students into identification with their people and, in moving pronouncements, they declared their desire to devote themselves to aiding the victims.'4 Some of these students organized the first group of pioneers to Palestine. In the first decades of the twentieth century, those who founded the political institutions in Palestine that later became the State of Israel largely came from the ranks of the Russian student intellectuals. Many of those who chose not to leave Russia also found their way back to the Jewish people. Young Jewish revolutionaries who were sentenced to exile in cities of the Pale, which had a large Jewish working class, could continue their political work only among Jews. Some of these activists, such as J. Martov, who was later to lead the Menshevik Party, formed the the Jewish Workers Bund in 1897. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 127.

Jews Move to Secular Answers--And Rely on The Jewish Bund for Leadership

The Haskalah had made only modest inroads at providing a substitute leadership for the rabbis; both circumstances and its predominantly intellectual direction limited its appeal. The new political movements enjoyed much greater suc cess. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Bund, perhaps the best example of a Jewish mass movement, was able to mobilize enormous groups of Jews for economic and political action. The leadership that such a movement provided began to displace traditional authorities, as is revealed in this colorful account of the street meetings that Bund organizers held in Lodz in May 1905: By 1905, many looked to the Bund, and not to the rabbis, for communal leadership. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Californi , Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 128.

Jewish World Hucksterism for Zionist Ideals

Politicians such as Herz] and Weizmann tried to show that the Jews should be taken into account in the balance of world power. Herzl argued that a Jewish state was in the interests of the European nations and even in the interests of the anti-Semites. Throughout the Middle Ages, of course, Jews had secured their positions by showing how they might serve the interests of the monarchs, Now it was argued that the Jews constituted a factor in international politics, that they might play a role in international conflicts. For instance, Weizmann cited the importance of winning Jewish allegiance to Britain during World War I as a compelling reason for the British to issue the Balfour Declaration.'8 Even before they had a sovereign state, Zionist statesmen such as Weizmann acted as if the Jews were to be taken seriously as a political people. While such arguments were not always effective, they symbolized a new type of politics based on equality rather than privilege. . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 134.

The Will to Power of Vladimir Jabotinsky, Zionist Fascist Leader

Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of the antisocialist Revisionist Zionist movement, argued that modern nationalism furnished the Jews with the "will to power" lacking in their earlier history. He borrowed the symbols of this "will to power"-uniforms, military pageantry, and patriotic rituals-from European nationalist movements, includ ing even Italian fascism.21 . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 135.

Herzl Argues Technology & Machinery Belong to Zionist Future

Modern anti-Semitism, Herzl argued, is fundamentally different from the medieval variety. It is a product of the entry of the Jews into the European middle class and the economic conflict between them and the non-Jewish bourgeoisie. But the new middle-class status of the Jews also gave them the power to create a state of their own, to emancipate themselves outside of Europe. Herzl repeatedly suggests that this power comes from modern technology, and his writings are replete with mechanical metaphors: "We now possess slave labor of unexampled productivity, whose appearance in civilization hasproved fatal competition to handi crafts; these slaves are our machines. . .. Everyone knows how steam is generated by boiling water in a kettle, but such steam only rattles the lid. The current Zionist projects . . . are tea kettle phenomena of this kind. But I say that this force, if properly harnessed, is powerful enough to propel a large engine and to move passengers." Jews were now in a position to harness these modern forces, perhaps as a result of their scientific and economic power. Herzl himself proposed a variety of visionary technical schemes for his Jewish state (one of them, a canal from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea, is actually on the drawing boards in Israel today). . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 135.

Larger Russian Holocaust of Christians & German Holocaust of Jews Demonstrate Similar Societal Issues

Our concern ought to be with what the Jewish experience can teach us about the effect that totalitarian systems have on all people. The nature of totalitarian states is to suppress utterly the kind of political organization and activity that are necessary for resistance. The fact that more people were put to death in the 1930s in Soviet Russia than were killed by the Nazis in the camps should give us pause before we accept a myth of the passive Diaspora Jew; Soviet totalitarianism was even more effective in subduing any possibility of resistance, and it scarcely mattered who the victims were. The Jews of the Holocaust, rather than representing the culmination of a history of passivity, are rather a symbol of the helplessness of the individual in face of the modern state gone mad. The specific ways the Nazis treated the Jews may have been unique in history, but the Jewish experience in general, tragically, has too much in common with that of others in our century. . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 144.

Holocaust--The Supreme Justification by Jews for Power

In the wake of the Holocaust, the myth of historical powerlessness, which had evolved during the preceding century, became the central justification for the quest for Jewish power. . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 144.

Jewish American Pluralism Concept

The "melting pot" theory of American society, according to which all immigrant groups would surrender their identities in favor of a common American identity, is now long out of vogue. But in its heyday, during the first half of this century, Jews were among its most fervent advocates It was a Jewish poet, Emma Lazarus, who wrote the words on the Statue of Liberty, thus turning the immigrant experience of the Jews into a definition of America as a refuge for all immigrants. The schoolteachers who insisted most vociferously that their immigrant pupils abandon the languages and cultures of their origins were typically Jews. No other immigrant group learned English as fast as the Jews, and no other immigrant group was as quick to enter into the cultural life of America. . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 194.

Left-Wing Jewish Political MovementsJewishness of American Communists

It was not only in assimilationist ideologies that the Jews demonstrated their identification with America. Even their fervent support for left-wing movements of opposition, such as socialism and communism, flowed from a profound Americanism. Although the Jews brought socialist ideas from Eastern Europe, they developed them along specifically American lines.15 It is astonishing with what incredible self-confidence the Jewish immigrants professed a revolutionary ideology in America. It was as if they assumed that socialism was not at all foreign to the American dream and that immigrants might boldly assert its claim upon their new home. Similarly, American Communists, many of whom were Jews, identified almost fanatically with their myth of America, even as they followed the party line from abroad. . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 194.

Judaism Now Considered 1/3rd of the American Religious Public

The first of these three ideologies is based on the notion, initially formulated by the Jewish writer Will Herberg, that America contains "three great religions": Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism.16 Despite the fact that Jews are numerically less than three percent of the American population, Herberg's formula turns them mythically into thirty-three percent! From a tiny minority, the Jews become one of the three custodians of America's religious identity. America is no longer a Christian country, for Christianity as such no longer exists, having been transmuted into Protestantism and Catholicism, which share equal billing with Judaism. . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 195.

Jewish Claim to an Equal Religious Identity Despite Being only 2% of the Nation

To claim a place in America, which remains a fundamentally religious society, the Jews therefore claim an equal reli gious identity. Yet they insist strongly on the separation of church and state and on the toleration of all religious beliefs, since they perceive any use of government for religious purposes as detrimental to the Jews as a religious minority. It was probably this fear of politicizing religion that led over sixty percent of Jewish voters in 1984 to vote against Ronald Reagan, in defiance of what many assumed to be a conservative trend among Jews.17 For most Jews, religion should play a public role only to the extent that it advances common values; at the point where differences become salient, religion should remain private. . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 194.

Civil Rights as a Part of Identity of "The Good Jew" Myth in Jewish Minds

[The] myth of Jewish liberalism made possible the expression of Judaism for the secular Jew through social activism, a position inherited from Jewish socialism. One could, for example, be a good Jew by working for the civil rights of blacks or by organizing workers in labor unions. Liberal arguments are also important on behalf of Israel: Jewish liberals argue for an intrinsic alliance between Israel and the United States based on their common democractic values. Jewish liberalism therefore constructs positions that allow for full participation in American life without renunciation of a Jewish identity. . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 197.

New Jewish Neo-Conservatism MovementWealth Based on Rewarding MeritAffirmative Action Out

With the challenge to liberalism posed by the so-called neoconservatives in the 1970s and 1980s, a new ideology of American-Jewish symbiosis has emerged. Jewish neoconservatives argue that the conservative agenda corresponds to the contemporary interests of Jews, such as supporting Israel as part of the struggle against Soviet Communism. In addition, they claim that the present economic and social position of the Jews makes their old alliance with the Democratic Party outdated. Like the Jewish liberals, the neoconservatives argue that traditional Jewish values are identical to their political values: for instance, Jews have always believed in rewarding merit and so are naturally opposed to affirmative action. Although the content of neoconservative ideology is radically different from that of the Jewish liberals or the earlier Jewish socialists, it shares with them the penchant for asserting the identity of American and Jewish interests and values, as each defines them. . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 197.

Pluralism--The Third Jewish IdeologyEroding to EthnicismTribalism and Immigrant Nationalism

The third ideology is a cultural argument with important political ramifications: the doctrine of ethnic pluralism. As the belief in America as a "melting pot" eroded in the 1950s and 1960s,21 Jews, like blacks, Latin Americans, and other ethnic groups, have redefined themselves in ethnic terms, that is, according to their national origins before immigration. . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 197.

Ethnic Pluralism--Invented by Horace Kallen, Jewish person, in 1920 in Cultural Pluralism and the American Idea (Philadelphia, 1956).

Significantly, the doctrine of ethnic pluralism as the cardinal definition of America was originally advanced by a Jew ish writer, Horace Kallen, in 1920.22 Like the definition of Judaism as a religion, it has the power to deny the absolute numerical inferiority of the Jews by substituting a different criterion for significance in American society. Jews are not a tiny minority in America, but one of the most important and successful of the immigrant communities. This definition of America allows the sense of nationhood that developed among Jews in Eastern Europe at the end of the nineteenth century to continue in the New World. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 198.

Jewish Belief that Americanism and Judaism are Totally Identical

The ideologies that American Jews have evolved serve to create a Jewish identity that is equally American. They are reflections of the social integration of American Jews and of their involvement in the American political system. The degree to which they have been accepted in America has made it possible, in the words of Charles Silber man, to "speak truth to power."23 For those who subscribe to this position, the ethos of America and the essence of Judaism have become virtually identical. . From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 198-199.

Jewish Intolerance of American Dissidents to Israeli Commitments

American Jews consistently perceive anti-Semitism to be more endemic to American society than the objective indices, such as public opinion polls, say it is. In fact, even to remark on the relative political power of the American Jewish community-whether of the Israel lobby in Washington or of Jewish influence in domestic affairs~arouses fear in some quarters of giving ammunition to the anti-Semites. To criticize Israeli policies in public raises similar kinds of fears. It is almost as if memories of powerlessness have created an embarrassment over power, so that the subject cannot be discussed above a whisper. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 199.

From the Inside Book Cover of POWER AND POWERLESSNESS IN JEWISH HISTORY

Through the lens of history, Baile ... analyses the modern ideologies of Jewish life--liberalism, socialism, and Zionism--and discusses why there seems to be a contemporary ideological crisis. These ideologies were born in nineteenth-century Europe in response to the salient questions facing Jews at that time. From "Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History," by David Biale, a well respected Jewish historian and scholar, Koret Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Published by Schocken Books, New York 1986, p. 199.


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