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Title: The left's views on Israel : from the establishment of the Jewish state to the intifada
Author: Edmunds, June
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 1997
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The British left has confronted a dilemma in forming its attitude towards Israel in the postwar period. The establishment of the Jewish state seemed to force people on the left to choose between competing nationalisms - Israeli, Arab and later, Palestinian. Over time, a number of key developments sharpened the dilemma. My central focus is the evolution of thinking about Israel and the Middle East in the British Labour Party. I examine four critical periods: the creation of Israel in 1948; the Suez war in 1956; the Arab-Israeli war of 1967 and the 1980s, covering mainly the Israeli invasion of Lebanon but also the intifada. In each case, entrenched attitudes were called into question and longer-term shifts were triggered in the aftermath. The evolution of Labour's debates shows important contrasts with thinking in the Communist Party over the same period. There are also continuities and differences between developments in both British parties and their French equivalents. Within the Labour Party (and the French Socialist Party) the virtual consensus of support for Israel was maintained in 1956; was tested but not completely broken in 1967 and more or less collapsed in the early 1980s. Within the British and French communist parties, the initial support for the formation of the Jewish state broke down by the 1956 crisis and the parties adopted a consistently pro-Arab perspective thereafter. However, in the 1980s the extreme anti-zionism of earlier periods was replaced with a more tolerant approach to Jewish nationalism. The left's attitudes did not derive directly from democratic socialist or communist principles. Non-ideological factors including political expediency, linkages between the left and the nationalist movements, intraparty organisational developments and the campaigning activities of certain individuals were critical to understanding the left's policy positions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available