Fifty Years of the State of Israel

Review of three works presented at the CSJO conference. Introduction by Larry Schofer.

The CSJO conference in May 1998 included several sessions relating to the 50th anniversary of the state of Israel. The speakers at the three sessions are all respected in their fields. They come from a politically left/left of center perspective, and they all expressed pessimism about prospects for Israel because of the direction coming from the Netanyahu government.Allen Glicksman is a sociologist who deals with ethnic communities in America; he has written several analyses about the recent demographic survey of American Jewry. Rabbi Brian Walt's congregation, Mishkan Shalom, is known in the Philadelphia area for being in the vanguard of the fight for social justice; he spoke about prospects for peace. Jerry Kutnick is associate professor of history at Gratz College and head of its Israel studies program; he is an expert on the history of Zionism in America. He also has a brother and sister active in the kibbutz movement, and he merged their stories with his discussion of crisis in the kibbutz movement.

The three summaries here are based on tapes of the sessions and on my participation in the kibbutz session. In a few spots I have added material in order to flesh out the points made by the speakers.

Tapes of individual sessions can be ordered for $5 per tape plus $1.50 shipping from Roberta Feinstein, executive director