From the Editors

, October 6, 2006

Jewish Political Studies Review 18:3-4 (Fall 2006)

This issue opens with two articles analyzing post-Holocaust topics. A persistent Holocaust myth has portrayed Denmark as a country that under occupation followed a policy as favorable as possible toward Jews. This was based mainly on the highlighting of a single occurrence, the rescue of the Danish Jews to Sweden in October 1943.

Sometimes it was even falsely suggested that the entire Danish people were involved in this rescue, rather than a small number of individuals. Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson and Bent Blüdnikow present a much less positive picture of Denmark, which rejected Jewish refugees at its borders from 1935 and expelled twenty-one Jewish refugees to Germany in the period 1940-1943, most of whom were eventually murdered. The authors also note that Danish firms used Jewish slave labor.

So far, little attention has been given to the issue of which governments and institutions have offered apologies to Jewish communities for their wartime crimes and collaboration with Germany. In a case study on the Netherlands, Manfred Gerstenfeld reviews its government’s very belated admission of part of that collaboration and other wartime failures, while continuing to refuse to apologize. He contrasts the Dutch government’s behavior with that of other West European countries.

As indicated in the previous JPSR issue, psychology as a discipline requires greater emphasis in analyzing contemporary topics affecting Israel and the Jewish people. Daphne Burdman investigates the hatred of Jews as a psychological phenomenon in Palestinian society. She attributes this to classical Muslim sources, extremist Islamic militancy, and the indoctrination and incitement of children by the Palestinian Authority.

Two articles analyze Israel’s relations with Third World countries. Arye Oded outlines Israel’s special connection with Uganda among the African countries that attained independence. Israel’s activity there during the 1960s was among its most wide-ranging in Africa, including extensive business, military, and educational cooperation. The situation changed radically in March 1972 when President Idi Amin expelled all Israelis from Uganda and adopted a hostile stance.

Moshe Yegar describes Israel’s failed attempts to establish formal diplomatic relations with Malaysia over the decades. The country’s long-term prime minister, Dato Mahathir bin Muhamad, regularly publicly condemned not only Israel but Jews as well. Malaysia thus became an example of a country where anti-Semitism flourishes without any Jews being present.

Three articles address Jewish community issues. Peter Y. Medding discusses how the Zionist movement permeated Australian Jewry in the period before Israel’s establishment in 1948. The Zionists’ strong position in the country enabled the community’s representative bodies to press the Australian government to support the establishment of the Jewish state. Dr. Herbert Vere Evatt, the minister of external affairs, played a crucial role in the UN decision to partition Palestine.

Asher Cohen and Aaron Kampinsky investigate the history of the Board of Rabbis, a body founded in 1948 that united Israeli rabbis of the religious-Zionist trend. After holding a central position in religious-Zionist public life in the 1950s and 1960s, the Board’s position has gradually deteriorated to becoming insignificant at present.

In an “At Issue” article, Sharon Shenhav discusses changes occurring in the appointment of religious court judges in Israel. The ultra-Orthodox control over the appointment process has been weakened by a combined effort of women’s organizations and non-ultra-Orthodox members of the commission that appoints these judges.

A number of book reviews conclude this issue, several of them dealing with contemporary anti-Semitism.