Norton Mezvinsky

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Norton Mezvinsky speaks, March, 2012 in Washington, DC.

Norton Mezvinsky (born 1932) is an American historian, professor, and author. He is a Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus, Central Connecticut State University and is the president of the International Council for Middle East Studies, an academic think tank in Washington, D.C.[1][2] He has written numerous published books, articles and book reviews that deal with various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Zionism.


Norton Mezvinsky is from a well-known Iowa family long involved in Jewish politics. His father, Abe, was for decades a grocer and leading businessman in Ames, Iowa, and was famous for his philanthropy. Norton's brother, Edward Mezvinsky, was an Iowa state representative, a member of the United States House of Representatives[3] and the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in the 1970s.[4] His brother, Edward, was prosecuted for fraud and spent time in prison many years later. His nephew, Marc, is married to Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton.[3]

Mezvinsky was married to the playwright and novelist, Shirley Lauro, and has one daughter with her.[5] There was apparently a second marriage because two issues of the Directory of Scholars in the Humanities, which for those years was available as a print edition only, list him as married well after the divorce to Lauro.


Norton Mezvinsky specializes in U.S. history between 1877 and 1920, U.S. immigration history, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the history of Judaism, and terrorism in the post-modern world.[6]

The book Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (published 1999, revised 2004), which he wrote with controversial Israeli scholar and author Israel Shahak, has been translated and published in four languages in addition to English. In the introduction to the 2004 version, Mezvinsky wrote that "We realize that by criticizing Jewish fundamentalism we are criticizing a part of the past that we love. We wish that members of every human grouping would criticize their own past, even before criticizing others."[7]

His most recent publications are a lengthy biographical essay of David Ben-Gurion in the new, highly praised Encyclopedia of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, published by Lynne Reiner Publishers (2010), and a chapter essay, titled "The Christian Zionist View of Islam," in the new book, Islam in the Eyes of the West, published by Routledge (2010). Two additional essays on the Jewish religious Right and Zionism are scheduled for publication in 2011. Professor Mezvinsky is currently writing a book on Christian Zionism. Professor Mezvinsky has lectured and delivered papers at conferences around the world.[citation needed]


Nathan Guttman, writing in The Forward, described Mezvinsky as "an academic known for his anti-Israel views...who has been labeled as anti-Zionist [and who] holds strong views questioning the right of Jews to a homeland in Israel".[3]


  • Disagreement in Definition: Three Views of the American Jewish Community in the Twentieth Century, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1956.
  • (With Uri Davis): Documents from Israel, 1967-73: Readings for a Critique of Zionism, Ithaca Press, 1975, ISBN 978-0-903729-09-3.
  • (As co-editor and contributor): Anti-Zionism: Analytical Reflections, Amana Books, 1988, ISBN 978-0-915597-73-4.
  • Report : Human Rights Violations During the Palestinian Uprising, 1988-1989, The Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights.
  • (With Israel Shahak): Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, Pluto Press, 2004, ISBN 978-0-7453-2091-5.