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Professor Ofer Shiff earned his Ph.D. at Brandeis University in 1994. His dissertation was "Survival Through Integration: American Jewish Responses to Anti-Semitism and Zionism." Shiff is Professor of Jewish History at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.  His university profile page

"Abba Hillel Silver and David Ben-Gurion: A Diaspora Leader Challenges the Revered Status of the "Founding Father"
Professor Shiff presented this paper at the 2010 conference of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism. London School of Economics.

Read the 20 page essay (pdf)

A carefully researched description in the differences between Silver and Ben Gurion, how Silver was removed from leadership roles in the US and World Zionist. and how, as Silver adjusted his views and behavior, he and Ben Gurion once again had a close, cordial relationship.

As the web address at the London School of Economics website is unmanageable, the paper unidentified and the likelihood of its loss high, we have tried to preserve it by posting it here with a simpler document name.


The Defeated Zionist: Abba Hillel Silver and his Attempt to Transcend Jewish Nationalism"
Ofer Shiff
2010 Resling, in Hebrew publisher's page (Hebrew)

All that is currently available related to this book is a lengthy essay by Dalia Karpel published in Haaretz on May 13, 2010. Titled Silver Lining Click here to read it online. (no registration needed)

As that essay will be widely viewed, we will use this page for our comments, clarifications and corrections (there are more than a few) on the essay.

May 20, 2010

The Downfall of Abba Hillel Silver and the Foundation of Israel

Ofer Shiff  Syracuse U.Press 2014
After the passage of the United Nations Resolution that partitioned Palestine and created a State of Israel, Ben Gurion and his team took control. They quickly removed Silver and others outside of Israel from leadership roles in the Zionist movement. American and world support, financial and political, was desperately needed, but Israel, surrounded by Arab nations ready to attack, had to control its destiny.

To view this necessary power shift as a downfall for Abba Hillel Silver is difficult.

This book review by Rafael Medoff, a leading American historian of the birth of the State of Israel. in Jewish Review of Books Summer 2015 is suggested reading.


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