First, the left fought against Zionism, then backed it. Robert Wistrich explains the complex relationship in comprehensive detail.
If you stand at the lower Manhattan corner of East Broadway and Essex on just about any spring weekend, you’ll see tour guides leading groups around the neighborhood. They follow different routes, but all come to East Broadway at some point. Once the intellectual center of immigrant Jewish life, the street still hosts a number of functioning Jewish organizations: the Educational Alliance, the Bialystoker Home for the Aged, the Orthodox weekly Algemeiner Zhurnal and several Orthodox synagogues.
The men and women who founded the Jewish Daily Forward were not business people out to make a buck. They were socialist intellectuals and labor activists who wanted to create a new tribune for Yiddish-speaking workers. On January 30, 1897, they met in a rented hall on Orchard Street to make plans.
If the second intifada has achieved little else, it has reawakened furious disputes over questions seemingly settled long ago. Are Jews a nation? Are they entitled to political self-determination? Does the State of Israel have a right to exist? In recent years, a growing number of leftwing scholars, writers and activists have answered those questions with a resounding “no.” Israel, they declare, is an anachronism, a tragic mistake, even a horrible crime. Justice, they say, demands the eradication of Zionism so that Palestinian nationalism can be fulfilled. As the goal of Palestinian statehood remains elusive, more and more leftists call for an end to Jewish statehood. Those who disagree and suggest that maybe both Jews and Palestinians deserve statehood increasingly find themselves on the defensive.