This in-depth look at a controversial faction of American Zionism fills
a void in the story of American Zionism--and in the story of American Judaism.
This book recounts the fascinating and little-known story
of the militant American Zionists who lobbied Congress, rallied American
public opinion, and influenced British-American relations in their campaign
for Jewish statehood in the 1930s and 1940s. Although these activists have
been dismissed as fanatics who fragmented the American Zionist movement,
Rafael Medoff reveals that the faction--which included an Academy Award-winning
screenwriter and several future members of the Israeli parliament--was
more influential than has been previously acknowledged.
These militants stirred America's conscience by placing
controversial newspaper ads, lobbying conservative as well as liberal members
of Congress, and staging dramatic protest rallies. Through these tactics,
Medoff shows, they attracted a wave of support from an extraordinary cross-section
of leading Americans, including comedians Harpo Marx and Carl Reiner, actors
Vincent Price, Marlon Brando, and Jane Wyatt, musician Leonard Bernstein,
and rising young politicians Jacob Javits and Hubert Humphrey. Medoff also
describes the shadowy underground division that smuggled weapons to the
Holy Land in caskets, naming and interviewing for the first time members
of this gunrunning network.
Based on years of archival research and interviews and
written in a compelling style, Militant Zionism in America documents
events that reshaped the American Jewish community, influenced American
foreign policy, and contributed to one of the most extraordinary events
of modern history: the creation of the State of Israel.
Rafael Medoff is a Visiting Scholar at the State University of New York -- Purchase College.