Dorothy Thompson and Zionism

Source: LOC

I have a new article out in the most recent American Jewish History on journalist and political commentator Dorothy Thompson’s relationship to the Zionist movement and Israel.

Thompson was a remarkable figure. She was the first woman to lead an American newspaper’s overseas news bureau (as the Berlin bureau chief for the Philadelphia Public Ledger). She endured a lively but tumultuous marriage to Sinclair Lewis (for a time). She was the first American columnist to interview Hitler, whom she mocked as “insignificant” and “formless” in a 1932 profile for Cosmopolitan. During the crises of the 1930s, Thompson became perhaps the foremost American advocate of a political solution to the growing international refugee crisis (as well as privately supporting a number of individual refugees). After the initial outbreak of WWII in 1939, she used her platform as one of the most widely-read political commentators in the US to urge American support for the Allies.

What prompted my interest in Thompson, though, was that she famously went from being a fervent supporter of the Zionist movement in the early 1940s to one of its leading critics after the establishment of Israel in 1948. This shift alternately puzzled, excited, and angered her contemporaries. How and why did it happen? Read “‘Weizmann to her was God’: Dorothy’s Thompson’s Journey to and From Zionism” to find out…

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