Elder Statesmen Of Left And Right Unite In Support Of Wyman Institute

News Release
June 24, 2004

Two of the most widely respected elder statesmen of the left and right wings of the Zionist movement have joined the leadership councils of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which sponsors research and educational programs concerning America’s response to the Nazi genocide.

Saadia Gelb, a pillar of Labor Zionism and the kibbutz movement, has joined the Wyman Institute’s Advisory Committee.

During the 1930s, Gelb was one of the founders of the Labor Zionist youth movement Habonim and a U.S. representative of the Histadrut labor union. In the 1940s, he recruited volunteers and smuggled equipment to the Haganah, the main underground militia in Palestine. He was also an editor of the journal Furrows, which strongly criticized the Roosevelt administration’s failure to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. After the war, he moved to Israel, became a leader of Kibbutz Kfar Blum and the national kibbutz movement, and also served as the first Labor Party emissary to the United States.

Prof. Benzion Netanyahu, distinguished historian and elder statesman of Revisionist Zionism, has joined the Wyman Institute’s Academic Council.

During the 1940s, as executive director of the U.S. Revisionist Zionists, Netanyahu lobbied Congress, authored full-page newspaper ads, and organized rallies protesting the Allies’ refusal to help European Jewry and closure of Palestine to Jewish immigration. During his academic career, he served as editor in chief of the Encyclopedia Hebraica, general editor of the World History of the Jewish People, and co-editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review, and taught Jewish history at Dropsie College, the University of Denver, and Cornell University. His books include Don Isaac Abravanel: Statesman and Philosopher; his magnum opus, The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain; and, most recently, The Founding Fathers of Zionism.

“We are honored that these two activists, who worked tirelessly to alert the American public about the Nazi genocide, have joined the Wyman Institute, to help teach the lessons of America’s response to the Holocaust,” said Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff. “As distinguished elder statesmen of the Zionist movement’s two main opposing factions, their decision to unite in support of the Wyman Institute demonstrates that teaching the lessons of the U.S. response to the Holocaust is a cause that crosses party lines and is recognized and appreciated all across the political spectrum.”