Revisionist Maximalism

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Revisionist Maximalism was a Jewish fascist ideology which was part of the Brit HaBirionim faction of the Zionist Revisionist Movement (ZRM) created by Abba Ahimeir.[1][2] Revisionist Maximalists strongly supported the Italian fascist regime of Benito Mussolini and wanted the creation of an Israel based on fascist principles.[3] The Revisionist Maximalists became the largest faction in the ZRM in 1930 but collapsed in support in 1933 after Ahimeir's controversial decision to support Nazi Germany due to its fascist and anti-communist stances, while opposing their antisemitic policies. After facing outrage, Ahimeir reversed his position shortly afterwards, with Revisionist Maximalists attacking German consulates, but support for Ahimeir did not recover and the Revisionist Maximalists collapsed until they were recreated in 1938 under new leadership.[4]

History[edit]

Abba Ahimeir, the founder of Revisionist Maximalism.

The ideology and political faction of Revisionist Maximalism was officially created in 1930 by Abba Ahimeir, a Jewish historian, journalist, and politician, who called for the Zionist Revisionist Movement (ZRM) to adopt the fascist principles of the regime of Benito Mussolini in Italy to create an integralist "pure nationalism" amongst Jews.[5] Ahimeir was originally a member of the Jewish Labour movement who supported the October Revolution in Russia in 1917, and called for Jews to have their "own 1917" and spoke of the need for an October Revolution in Zionism.[6] However Ahimeir grew disillusioned with Russian Bolshevism which he began to see as a Russian nationalist movement rather than a movement to promote international class struggle.[7] Having become disillusioned with communism, Ahimeir grew nationalistic after the Arab-Jewish violence occurred in the British Mandate of Palestine from 1928 to 1929.[8] Revisionist Maximalism rejects communism, humanism, internationalism, liberalism, pacifism and socialism; condemned liberal Zionists for only working for middle-class Jews rather than the Jewish nation as a whole.[9][10] After the rise of anti-Jewish violence in the British Mandate of Palestine one year prior, support for the Brit HaBirionim faction of the ZRM soared, Brit HaBirionim quickly became the largest faction within the ZRM in 1930.

In 1930, Brit HaBirionim under Ahimeir's leadership publicly declared their desire to form a fascist state at the conference of the ZRM, saying:

"It is not the masses whom we need ... but the minorities ... We want to educate people for the 'Great Day of God' (war or world revolution), so that they will be ready to follow the leader blindly into the greatest danger ... Not a party but an Orden, a group of private [people], devoting themselves and sacrificing themselves for the great goal. They are united in all, but their private lives and their livelihood are the matter of the Orden. Iron discipline; cult of the leader (on the model of the fascists); dictatorship." Abba Achimeir, 1930[11]

Ahimeir claimed that the Jewish people would outlast Arab rule in the region of Palestine, saying:

"We fought the Egyptian Pharaoh, the Roman emperors, the Spanish Inquisition, the Russian tsars. They 'defeated' us. But where are they today? Can we not cope with a few despicable muftis or sheiks? ... For us, the forefathers, the prophets, the zealots were not mythological concepts..." Abba Achimeir, 1930. [12]

Revisionist Maximalism and the Brit HaBirionim movement were fierce opponents of pacifism, while promoting militarism and demonstrated in 1932 against Norman Bentwich's inaugural lecture on peace to which Ahimeir saying that "It is not a cathedral to international peace in the name of Bentwich that we need, but a military academy in the name of Ze'ev Jabotinsky" and said "we can defend the honour of Israel ... not by filling our bellies with lectures on peace ... but rather by learning the doctrine of Jabotinsky".[13] Brit HaBirionim demonstrators outside handed out leaflets declaring that peace studies were "the work of Satan" and were "an anti-Zionist measure, a stab in the back of Zionism.".

Ahimeir believed that his ideology would constitute a "neo-Revisionism" within the Zionist movement that he criticized, and advocated it at a meeting of the Hatzohar movement in Vienna in 1932, saying:

Zionism is imbued with the ghetto and pronouncements. The path to Jewish sovereignty has to cross a bridge of steel, not a bridge of paper. ... I bring to you a new form of social organization, one that is free of principles and parties ... I bring you Neo-Revisionism.[14]


In 1932, Brit HaBirionim pressed the ZRM to adopt their polices which were titled the "Ten Commandments of Maximalism" which were made "in the spirit of complete fascism".[15] Moderate ZRM members refused to accept this and moderate ZRM member Yaacov Kahan pressured Brit HaBirionim to accept the democratic nature of the ZRM and not push for the party to adopt fascist dictatorial policies.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kaplan, The Jewish Radical Right. University of Wisconsin Press, 2005. p15
  2. ^ Shindler, Colin. The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right. I.B.Tauris, 2006. p13.
  3. ^ Larsen, Stein Ugelvik (ed.). Fascism Outside of Europe. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-88033-988-8. p364-365.
  4. ^ Larsen, p380.
  5. ^ Larsen, p364-365.
  6. ^ Shindler, Colin. The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right. I.B.Tauris, 2006. p156.
  7. ^ Shindler, Colin. The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right. I.B.Tauris, 2006. p156.
  8. ^ Shindler, Colin. The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right. I.B.Tauris, 2006. p156.
  9. ^ Kaplan, p15
  10. ^ Shindler, Colin. The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right. I.B.Tauris, 2006. p156.
  11. ^ Larsen, p377.
  12. ^ Larsen, p375.
  13. ^ Shindler, Colin. The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right. I.B.Tauris, 2006. p156.
  14. ^ Jacob Shavit. Jabotinsky and the revisionist movement, 1925-1948. Oxon, England, UK: Frank Cass & Co, Ltd., 1988. Pp. 202.
  15. ^ Larsen, p377.
  16. ^ Larsen, p377.