The Ben-gurion-blaustein exchange: Ben-gurion's perspective between an ideological capitulation and a strategic alliance

Ofer Shiff, Adi Sherzer, Talia Gorodess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The article discusses Ben-Gurion's stance towards American Jewry following the establishment of the State of Israel (1949-1951) with a focus on the Ben-Gurion-Blaustein Exchange of 1950, and specifically on Ben-Gurion's alignment with the non-Zionist American Jewish Committee (AJC). Our main contention here is that Ben-Gurion's motivation in aligning with the non-Zionists cannot have been merely political or pragmatic but reflects rather a deliberate ideological position. Contrary to the dominant scholarly view, Ben-Gurion did not make ideological 'concessions' to the AJC in the "Exchange". The "Exchange" was in full accord with Israel's selfdefinition both as a nation-state and a Jewish state. The article draws on letters, cables and telegrams exchanged between Ben-Gurion, Blaustein and Proskauer before and after the Ben-Gurion-Blaustein Exchange and relates the correspondence to Ben-Gurion's momentous speech before a gathering of the American Zionist Committee during his first visit to the US as Prime Minister in 1951. These developments taken together shed light on Ben-Gurion's ideology as it applies to the Jewish State in relation to the American Jewish Diaspora.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-32
Number of pages18
JournalIsrael Studies
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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