Communism versus Zionism: The Comintern, Yishuvism, and the Palestine Communist Party

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VOL. 36

2006/2007

No. 2
P. 6
Articles
Communism versus Zionism: The Comintern, Yishuvism, and the Palestine Communist Party
ABSTRACT

This article discusses how the official communist position on the Zionist project in Palestine went from hostile condemnation in the early 1920s to wary support after World War II. In so doing, it focuses on the ideological struggle between the traditional party line and “Yishuvism,” a theory that sought to reconcile Zionist and communist ideas, as it played out in the two bodies most closely involved in shaping Comintern policy on Palestine (the Palestine Communist Party and the Communist Party of Great Britain). In following the tortured justifications for evolving positions, the author identifies the key actors shaping the debate and turning points impacting it, especially the 1936–39 Arab Revolt, Britain’s 1939 White Paper, and the wartime fight against fascism. The author contends that an important reason for the USSR’s post-war about-face on Palestine was the success of the Yishuvist ideological campaign.


JOHAN FRANZÉN is a Ph.D. student in the modern history of the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He would like to thank Ali Ali, Dr. Paul Lalor, Sada Mire, and Dr. Charles Tripp for insightful comments on earlier drafts of this article.