Page 36 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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28
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
1928-1948 is Shmuel D o than ’s
The Struggle for Eretz-Israel
(H e­
brew: Tel-Aviv, 1981). T h e revisionist app roach o f the new re ­
search reveals on the p a r t o f many an u n d e rs ta n d in g o f the
motives and difficulties o f British policy and o ffers a revised esti­
mate o f Zionist diplomacy and politics and th e ir effect on the
B ritish .12 Th is new evaluation applies especially to the classical
m anda to ry per iod (until 1939) and d iffe rs with reg a rd to British
policy a f te r the issuing o f the White Pape r o f May 1939 and the
restrictions on imm igration . Actually, the new Zionist historiog­
raphy tends to view the two periods in the history o f the British
Mandate (until 1939; and from 1939 to 1947) as being entirely
d iffe ren t in charac ter. T h e role o f the British in the deve lopm en t
o f the land and the ir economic policy are now u nd e rgo ing re ­
exam ination . It is in teresting to com pare the studies in this a rea
by Israeli historians with studies by p ronounced pro-Zionist o r
anti-Zionist writers am ong non-Israelis. I t appea rs th a t it is the
academic Israeli historians who tend to g re a te r objectivity in
evaluating the sources and who a re p re p a re d to throw o f f n a tion ­
alist prejudices. Th is is seen as well in the ir trea tm en t o f the d e ­
velopm en t o f Palestinian nationalism.
A second fru itfu l a rea o f research beg inn ing with the sixties
has been the history o f the Labor movement and the settlem en t
e f fo r t (particu larly in ag r icu ltu re). Hardly a Socialist Zionist
party which has no t been stud ied by scholars. T h e activities o f the
various parties, particularly in the thirties, have been covered,
bu t the period o f the forties still awaits exam ina tion . Zionist histo­
riog raphy has sough t to analyze the causes which led to the h e ­
gemony o f the Labor movement in Zionist history, settlem en t
and upbu ild ing o f the land, and to describe its ideals and ideol­
ogy and the ir realization in practice. T h e con fron ta tion between
“ideology and reality,” o r at least the constan t tension between
them , has been delinea ted in the works o f Yosef Gorn i on A chdu t
Ha-Avodah, o f Elkana Margalit on H ashom e r H a tzair and on the
Left Poalei Zion and G edud Ha-Avodah, o f Yaakov Goldstein on
Mapai, and o f Anita Shapiro on the Jewish Labor controversy
and o thers. Wide in terest has been aroused by Anita S hap iro ’s
12 Gabriel Sheffer, “The Principles o f British Pragmatism: Reevaluation o f Brit­
ish Policies toward Palestine in the 1930’s” (Hebrew),
Cathedra
29, September
1983.