Blogs > Liberty and Power > Hamas & Zionism

Jan 27, 2006 7:47 am

Hamas & Zionism

I have read the, at this point, eight brief comments to David Beito’s posting yesterday about Hamas’ victory.

For background on Israel, I recommend this piece by Michael Neumann, and have ordered his book. I also suggest this article on the election by Juan Cole.

For identification purposes, I ought to mention that in 1987, as Director of International Studies at Florida Atlantic University, I was also the founding Co-director of the Florida-Israel Institute, and wrote the legislation establishing it, dedicated to promoting education, cultural and economic ties between the two entities.

I was in Gaza in December, 1987, about two weeks before the initial Intifada developed. By my fourth visit to Israel in 1990, it was clear my efforts were over. Florida’s AIPAC leaders were not enchanted with the notion of bringing free market ideas to that essentially socialist/corporatist nation, and so informed the University. At that time about 94% of Israel’s economy was under government ownership or control. Eat your heart out, Fidel!

It is well to recall that Zionism was not only socialist, but in the 1930s a number of such leaders in Israel were enthralled by the ideas of two chaps, one in Italy, the other in Germany, both of whom had come from a national socialist background.

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Max Schwing - 1/31/2006

Isn't 94% a tad bit high? Not even Germany has that big a state quota.

And wasn't the Jewish state of Israel first acclaimed in 194- by the British?

Kenneth R. Gregg - 1/27/2006

Thee was always a classical liberal element within Jewish communities and I don't believe that it has been examined very carefully--at least I haven't read any good works on the topic.

There are several biographies which detail individuals, such as Joseph Fels (of Fels-Naptha fame--A.P.Dudden's fine "Joseph Fels and the single-tax movement") to Emma Goldman (from the very interesting Lithuanian Jewish community), they represent a pretty broad range within classical liberalism.

Throughout the works are often discussions of their relationships to zionism (Fels donated some money to it and following his death, his wife would become a significant benefactor to zionism).

I don't think that zionism was necessarily state socialist in its original beliefs. Somewhere along the line, though (perhaps in the '30's?), the zionist movement would be led by state socialism.

Are you aware of any good works on the subject? I'd be interested in looking into it.

Just a thought.
Just Ken

Sheldon Richman - 1/27/2006

Bill, two of the biggest influences on my thinking about the Middle East, besides my orthodox paternal grandfather, were Rabbi Elmer Berger and Israel Shahak, both of them classical liberals whom I knew personally.