Labour History

The Australian Left’s Support for the Creation of the State of Israel, 1947-48

Labour History (2009), 97, (1), 137–148.


Historically, the international Left held a range of perspectives on Zionism ranging from mild sympathy to sharp ideological hostility. However, during the 1947-48 Arab-Israeli war, virtually the entire Left – whether communist or social democratic – supported the State of Israel. This paper examines the Australian Left’s pro-Zionist position in 1947-48 in the context of this international trend, with particular reference to the views expressed by the Communist Party of Australia and the Australian Labor Party government. This pro-Zionist-position is attributed to three factors: a humanitarian sympathy for the Jews following the Holocaust; a relative indifference to the aspirations and plight of the Palestinian Arabs; and the advocacy activities of Jewish groups including the key activism of the left-wing Jewish Council to Combat Fascism and Anti-Semitism and, conversely, the absence of any Palestinian or Arab lobbying activities.

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Author details

Mendes, Philip

Table of Contents

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