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Dr. Halpern Says Rebellion for Sake of Rebellion Never Acceptable to Socialist Zionism

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A Labor Zionist scholar yesterday told a leadership seminar of the Poale Zion-United Labor Zionist Organization of America that rebellion for the sake of rebellion, sheer breaking loose “never was acceptable to Socialist Zionism.” Professor Ben Halpern of the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University, added that American Jewish youth do not always understand this. He declared “We did not break with the past to have our minds blown but to build something new. Nor, like some young rebels today, could we regard the groups we formed, the collective brotherhood, as a mere therapeutic instrument: constructed at need and disbanded at will, and constituting for a moment a separate world, with no functional ties to the other world.” Dr. Halpern, speaking to more than 100 leaders of the Labor Zionist Movement gathered here from throughout the nation for an ideological conference, observed that “If there is to be a reunion of generations and a revitalized movement, we elders must recapture the mood and motivations of our ideological origins. We must find new ways of stating old ideas so that the young will not be repelled and may be able to identify with them.” He added, “The young people have suffered traumas that demand expression. What distinguished them from their immediate predecessors as well as from their parents is their radicalism–their fundamental rejection of the American way of life and of the American Jewish establishment. And many among them, driven back on themselves by black nationalism, demand a radical expression of their Jewish identity.”

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