Yakov Rabkin: Orthodox historian barred from bimah

Historians in the News

An Orthodox historian who published a book on Jewish anti-Zionism said he was prevented from giving a blessing from the bimah in Dublin’s main synagogue.

University of Montreal professor Yakov Rabkin, whose book “A Threat From Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism” charts the history of religious objections to Zionism, tried during Shabbat services Saturday to recite a thanksgiving blessing after crossing the ocean, but was stopped by two members of the congregation.

In a letter published in Wednesday’s Irish Times, Rabkin complained that Dublin Jews had “yet to come terms with the contradictions” between religion and ideology, and therefore were “hostile” even to writing about Jewish opposition to Zionism.

Community members said they objected not to Rabkin’s political views or scholarship, but to the fact that he was in Ireland to promote his book at the invitation of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an anti-Israel organization regarded by many in the community as a hate group.

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