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The "Bergson Boys" and the Origins of Contemporary Zionist Militancy

Judith Tydor Baumel
Translated from the Hebrew by Dena Ordan

Cloth $24.95s    |    0-8156-3063-8    |   2005

Tells the remarkable story of six young men and the organizations they founded between 1939 and 1948 that would set the stage for the militant Zionist activism of today.

During and shortly after the Second World War, six young men-emissaries of the revisionist-Zionist "Irgun" military movement in Palestinedashrevolutionized the AmericandashJewish and Zionist scene. Judith Tydor Baumel provides the complete story of the role the Bergson group played in raising American public consciousness of Jewish and Zionist concerns. After founding a series of pro-Zionist and rescue organizations, they initiated a new form of fundraising that used the media to turn the spotlight on their activities, gaining adherents and supporters from both ends of the political and social spectrum. Long before the protest movements of the 1950s and 1960s, members of this group learned the art of courting the media in order to bring word of their existence to every part of the United States.

Having energized politicians, gangsters, Hollywood moguls, and ultra- Orthodox rabbis, the handful of young men taught other Zionist and American- Jewish groups not only how the media was the message but how it could and should be used. A guiding force behind the creation of the War Refugee Board, the group served as a beacon for contemporary Zionist militancy while ultimately laying the groundwork for other organizations to utilize the media in future political campaigns.

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Judith Tydor Baumel is chair of the graduate program in contemporary Jewry at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. She has written numerous books, including Perfect Heroes: The World War II Parachutists from Palestine and the Israeli Heroic Ethic, and Double Jeopardy: Gender and the Holocaust.

6 x 9, 292 pages, bibliography, glossary, index, 22 black-and-white photographs

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