In January 1950, Israel was the first country in the Middle East and the seventh in the non-communist world who recognized the PRC. Israel did not promote the establishment of diplomatic relations, mainly because of pressure from the US and fears of Chinese communism, while China avoided their promotion because it favored relations with the Arab and Muslim world. Only 42 years later, in January 1992, the two countries established diplomatic relations. Despite the geographic, cultural, and political distance between Israel and China, today the ties between the two countries are flourishing, especially but not exclusively in the financial arena. This volume includes articles dealing with the connection between the two countries before the establishment of diplomatic relations and afterwards. Among other things, it discusses the historical and Jewish background, diplomatic aspects, Asian and the Middle Eastern contexts, the role of the Communist Party, the process of establishing relations, international, military, and economic dimensions of these relations, as well as the development of relations between Israel, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The authors reflect a combination of the academic world of research and the practical world of diplomacy.
The book deals with the relations between Israel and China and their dramatic change from enmity and lack of contact to friendship and closeness. The articles are based on documents and primary sources as well as personal experiences. In addition to the references in every article, the book includes a reading list of publications which do not appear in it. The book, which is a new version of a previous edition published in English in the late nineties, includes new sources and additional and updated articles that refer to relations between the two countries to this day. It is intended for students and a general readership, both professional and unprofessional.
This study considers the roles of management and ideology in modifying the sustainability of communal systems. We approached this issue by discussing the major forces that shaped the planned kibbutz and the recent processes that have brought about its current transformation. Using a questionnaire-based survey we tried to reveal the relative importance that the members attach to traditional kibbutz values and their perception of the tension between the original ideology and the management strategies that have been imposed on the communal society by both external and internal forces. The findings indicate that pragmatism tends to prevail over ideology and communality has difficulty in functioning effectively in a highly complex and changing world. It points to the weakening of the communal system and to growing disengagement from principles of equality. However, the process and project of reshaping the kibbutz is ongoing.
This article explores the mythological, ritualistic, and symbolic aspects of the ways in which the festivals of Hanukkah and Passover were celebrated by the Jewish Communists in Mandate Palestine and the State of Israel. It illustrates how elements of Zionist-socialist culture were adopted by Jewish Communists and integrated in their cultural activities. In a gradual process starting in the1920s and culminating in the mid-1960s, the Jewish Communists created a combination of Marxist ideology and Zionist-socialist cultural practices. However, when a group of young Sabra activists reinforced the Zionist-socialist elements, the balance was undermined, contributing to the rift within Israeli communism.
From the moment it was first introduced into the Arab community in the Holy Land, Communism had been associated with the Christian community, more specifically the Greek Orthodox (or Rum Orthodox) denomination. A large proportion of the Arab leadership of the Communist Party in Israel until the 1980s originated from this Orthodox background and the question discussed in this article is what links Communism, an ideology famous for its atheist tenet, with a particular Christian community? The discussion begins with the history of the Orthodox community during the Ottoman and British Mandate periods. It examines the historical, religious and political circumstances that first created the overlap between Orthodoxy and Communism. It then turns to examine the particular circumstances in the history of Israel that helped sustain and deepen this complex religious-political situation.
The Jewish underground movement in the Soviet Union in the second half of the 1960s produced literature that became a part of the counterculture of Soviet dissent. For the first time in decades, Russian Jews identified, to a significant degree, as people of the galut (Jewish Diaspora). The battle for the return to Israel and the new Jewish renaissance in the intellectual sphere of the unofficial led to the emergence of new topographical concepts, which were inspired primarily by the Jewish cultural tradition. In fact, the exodus texts written in the 1960s–1980s represented a new, late Soviet shaping of Zionist prose. They relate to the symbol of the Promised Land as a fundamental projection of aspirations. Late Soviet Zionist texts share the traditional Jewish vision of Israel as an imagined topos of the original homeland that is both retrospective (with reference to the biblical promise of the land and the seizure of Canaan) and prospective (return and redemption). The Exodus story contained in Sefer Shemot becomes a leading poetic, philosophical and at times religiously charged metaphor of liberation and reunification. The re-strengthened collective memory of tradition required biblical symbols to be imbued with new semiotic power.
This paper will show that the historical dimension of the events dealt with in the literature often has strong mystical and mythological traits and displays messianic-apocalyptic hopes of salvation. However, alternative literary space and time models represented in the aliyah literature hereby betray their rootedness in the teleology of the communist regime. The powerful Israel utopia reflects both the eschatological time of the Soviet empire and its phantasms of paradise on earth. Late Soviet Zionism and totalitarian discourse are shown to be two space-time utopias.
This article explores some of the major operations of the Czechoslovak secret police (State Security Forces, StB) against individuals involved in organising Jewish social assistance networks during the 1950s, as documented by fragments of case files preserved in the Security Services Archive in Prague. While there is much focus on victims of the Prague show trial of the so-called “Conspiracy Centre,” all of whom were members of the top echelons of the Communist Party, the individuals who tried to revive Jewish life and secure the well-being of the needy in a country swept by anti-Jewish sentiment raked up by that trial remain largely unknown. In this work, we learn who these people were and what they did, and how the Communist regime punished them for their involvement. As an original contribution, the article details the search for safe methods of delivering humanitarian aid to Czechoslovak Holocaust survivors after the expulsion of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in 1950, from the initial attempts to use Israeli channels to the gradual legalisation of JDC aid under Swiss cover organisations.
The Egyptian public has witnessed in recent decades an active, at times heated, debate between present and former left-wing activists and a variety of Egyptian intellectuals over the role played by Jews in the communist movements. The polemic discourse particularly focused on their contribution to the failure of the various communist organizations to unite, expand and take root within the Egyptian lower classes in the first half of the twentieth century. This article scrutinizes and analyses, chronologically, the ongoing discourse as it came to be expressed in a number of important ideological venues. This lively polemic discourse sheds new light on the centrality of Jews in the development of organized communism during the monarchy period. It also adds an important dimension to the historiographic debate regarding the Jews of Egypt, generally, and their attitude towards Zionism and the State of Israel, particularly.
The political marginalisation of the Palestinians inside Israel between 1948 and 1977 has been widely discussed in the literature. The Israeli Communist Party is often credited with being the sole political organisation which gave an outlet during this period to the critical and oppositional political, literary and artistic activities of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Party organs in particular have done their utmost to popularise this claim, which has also become an article of faith for many Arab left-wing intellectuals. The question tackled in this article is: why did the Israeli State grant a margin of freedom to the Communist Party during this period, while denying it to every single Palestinian organisation inside Israel? I discussed this question at a conference on the Left in Palestine held at SOAS in February 2010. While the reader will be spared here the details of the subsequent personal accusations levelled against me in the organs of the Communist Party, I argue here (as in my SOAS paper) that the Communist Party was given this freedom of action for a range of reasons and in particular those to do with the Soviet support for the establishment of Israel and the important pro-Zionist role played the Communist Party during the 1948 War for Palestine. Other reasons are related to the endorsement by the Communist Party of Zionism’s tenets and claims in support of the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, including the ‘modernising’ nature of the Zionist project.