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