Page 110 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 12

Basic HTML Version

AMERICAN BOOKS ON ISRAEL AND ZIONISM
1952-1954
By
S
olomon
K
e r s t e i n
D
URING the past two years America has produced compar-
atively few books on Israel and Zionism, even though these
have been years when Israel faced and overcame many grave
political and economic problems, when it was a ceaseless source of
debate at the United Nations, when it occupied the center of
attention in a most sensitive area of the present world conflict.
These have also been years when Zionism again became a contro-
versial issue, when polemics — pro and con — raged in the Jewish
press, when the relationship between Jews of the Diaspora and
the State of Israel aroused heated discussion. Why, therefore, has
all this political and spiritual unrest not given rise to more than
about two score books throughout the entire period?
The question provides its own answer. With Israel and Zionism
in a state of flux, with the Arab conflict unresolved, with the East-
West struggle impinging upon the Middle East in ever shifting
ways, with political, economic, sociological, and ideological changes
following each other with whirlwind rapidity, the soil was not
favorable for the production of standard works that require careful
thinking, constant nourishment, slow fruition, and mature
formulation.
Despite these unfavorable factors, however, some significant
books did appear. These reflect the growth of Israel and the
changing Zionist scene, and may be classified as follows: reports
of writers and travelers; impressions of daily life in Israel by
American Jewish settlers; political and sociological studies; state-
hood and Middle East; the Arab-Israel conflict, including under-
ground activity; pioneering and immigration; architecture and
archaeology; picture albums; fictional and juvenile works. I t is
unfortunate that so few books have appeared in the category of
fiction and youth literature; there are but five books of fiction and
four juveniles which are listed in the appropriate bibliographies
of this
Annual.
However, an encouraging note is the production
of considerable juvenile material in pamphlet form by the several
Zionist parties. Most of these are published by the cultural
division of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund of
America.
104