Bulletin: Americans Jews and Israel

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New Article: Sherrard, American Biblical Archeologists’ Responses to the Six-Day War

Sherrard, Brooke. “Mystical Unification or Ethnic Domination? American Biblical Archeologists’ Responses to the Six-Day War.” Journal of the Bible and its Reception 3.1 (2016): 109-33.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jbr-2016-1002

 

Abstract

After the Six-Day War, members of the American Schools of Oriental Research experienced conflict over how and whether to maintain the organization’s policy on political neutrality. This article argues that ASOR members who supported Israel framed their views as theological, lauding the war for achieving a mystical unification of Jerusalem, while members who opposed the war’s outcome responded that appeals to theology and neutrality were being deployed to justify one ethnic group’s domination over another. I present two main examples, George Ernest Wright and Paul Lapp, and connect their scholarly views on objectivity versus relativism to their political views on the conflict. Wright, a biblical theologian, argued the Old Testament was an objective record of a religion revealed by God to the Israelites and defended the slaughter of Canaanites in terms that echoed justifications for Palestinian displacement. Conversely Lapp, who read the Old Testament as a polemical text, overtly connected his perspectivalism to his pro-Palestinian politics. In 1968 Wright clashed with ASOR residents, including Lapp, who protested Israeli plans to reroute a parade through recently captured areas of East Jerusalem. A reading of the correspondence record created after the protest analyzes the political implications of these differing scholarly positions.

 

 

 

New Book: Waxman, Trouble in the Tribe

Waxman, Dov. Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.

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Trouble in the Tribe explores the increasingly contentious place of Israel in the American Jewish community. In a fundamental shift, growing numbers of American Jews have become less willing to unquestioningly support Israel and more willing to publicly criticize its government. More than ever before, American Jews are arguing about Israeli policies, and many, especially younger ones, are becoming uncomfortable with Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Dov Waxman argues that Israel is fast becoming a source of disunity for American Jewry, and that a new era of American Jewish conflict over Israel is replacing the old era of solidarity.

Drawing on a wealth of in-depth interviews with American Jewish leaders and activists, Waxman shows why Israel has become such a divisive issue among American Jews. He delves into the American Jewish debate about Israel, examining the impact that the conflict over Israel is having on Jewish communities, national Jewish organizations, and on the pro-Israel lobby. Waxman sets this conflict in the context of broader cultural, political, institutional, and demographic changes happening in the American Jewish community. He offers a nuanced and balanced account of how this conflict over Israel has developed and what it means for the future of American Jewish politics.

Israel used to bring American Jews together. Now it is driving them apart. Trouble in the Tribe explains why.

 

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1
1. THE CHANGING AMERICAN JEWISH RELATIONSHIP WITH ISRAEL 18
2. THE END OF “ISRAEL, RIGHT OR WRONG” 55
3. THE ARGUMENT ABOUT ISRAEL 91
4. THE EROSION OF CONSENSUS 123
5. THE FRACTURING OF THE PRO-ISRAEL LOBBY 147
6. THE CHALLENGE TO THE JEWISH ESTABLISHMENT 174
7. THE POLARIZATION OF AMERICAN JEWRY 193
CONCLUSION 210
Notes 217
Bibliography 291
Index 309

 

DOV WAXMAN is professor of political science, international affairs, and Israel studies at Northeastern University. He is the author of The Pursuit of Peace and the Crisis of Israeli Identity and the coauthor of Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within. He lives in Boston..

 

 

 

New Book: Barnett, The Star and the Stripes

Barnett, Michael N. The Star and the Stripes. A History of the Foreign Policies of American Jews. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.

 
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How do American Jews envision their role in the world? Are they tribal—a people whose obligations extend solely to their own? Or are they prophetic—a light unto nations, working to repair the world? The Star and the Stripes is an original, provocative interpretation of the effects of these worldviews on the foreign policy beliefs of American Jews since the nineteenth century. Michael Barnett argues that it all begins with the political identity of American Jews. As Jews, they are committed to their people’s survival. As Americans, they identify with, and believe their survival depends on, the American principles of liberalism, religious freedom, and pluralism. This identity and search for inclusion form a political theology of prophetic Judaism that emphasizes the historic mission of Jews to help create a world of peace and justice.

The political theology of prophetic Judaism accounts for two enduring features of the foreign policy beliefs of American Jews. They exhibit a cosmopolitan sensibility, advocating on behalf of human rights, humanitarianism, and international law and organizations. They also are suspicious of nationalism—including their own. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that American Jews are natural-born Jewish nationalists, Barnett charts a long history of ambivalence; this ambivalence connects their early rejection of Zionism with the current debate regarding their attachment to Israel. And, Barnett contends, this growing ambivalence also explains the rising popularity of humanitarian and social justice movements among American Jews.

Rooted in the understanding of how history shapes a political community’s sense of the world, The Star and the Stripes is a bold reading of the past, present, and possible future foreign policies of American Jews.

 

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One Heine’s Law and Jewish Foreign Policies 19
  • Chapter Two The Making of a Prophetic People (pre-1914) 51
  • Chapter Three Prophets Mugged by Reality (1914–1945) 87
  • Chapter Four The Cosmopolitan and the National (1945–1967) 121
  • Chapter Five The New Tribalism (1967–1990) 155
  • Chapter Six Back to the Future? (1990–present) 195
  • Chapter Seven The Foreign Policies of an Uncertain People 243
  • Notes 275
  • Bibliography 303
  • Index 335

 

MICHAEL N. BARNETT is the University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at George Washington University. His many books include Empire of Humanity and Dialogues in Arab Politics.

 

 

 

Panel: Louis Brandeis and the Transformation of American Zionism (Brandeis , March 1, 2016)

BrandeisLouis Brandeis and the Transformation of American Zionism: 

Vision, Identity and Legacy

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Rapaporte Treasure Hall,  Goldfarb Library

Brandeis University
This panel discussion is part of Brandeis University’s semester-long centennial celebration of Justice Brandeis’ nomination and appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. The discussion will feature Professors  Jonathan Sarna and Yehudah Mirsky (Brandeis University) and Professor Frances Molina (Wellesley College). Moderated by Brandeis University Interim President, Lisa M. Lynch, with Rabbi David Ellenson and Dr. Rachel Fish (Brandeis University). The event will be live streamed, so join us in person or online.

Opening Remarks:
David Ellenson, Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and Visiting Professor in the Department of Near Eastern & Judaic Studies, Brandeis University

Moderator:
Lisa M. Lynch, Interim President of Brandeis University

Roundtable Discussants:
Yehudah Mirsky, Associate Professor of Near Eastern & Judaic Studies
Jonathan D. Sarna ’75 MA ’75, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History and chair of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program
Frances Malino MA ’70, PhD ’71, P’89, Sophia Moses Robison Professor of Jewish Studies and History, Wellesley College

Commentator:
Rachel Fish PhD ’13, Associate Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies

This roundtable conversation will discuss how Louis Brandeis transformed, popularized, and idealized American Zionism in line with his progressive social ideals. Among other things, we expect to look at what was distinctive about Brandeis’s Zionism, how his vision of Zionism was integrated with his understanding of Americanism, and why he believed that Zionism and social justice were intertwined. Attention will also be paid to expressions of American Irish nationalism of the time so that a fuller understanding of the American context that shaped Brandeis’ Zionism can emerge.

The Q&A will incorporate questions from the live audience as well as with an online audience who will be asked to send their questions via email.

New Article: Sherrard, American Biblical Archaeologists and Zionism

Sherrard, Brooke. “American Biblical Archaeologists and Zionism: How Differing Worldviews on the Interaction of Cultures Affected Scholarly Constructions of the Ancient Past.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 84.1 (2016): 234-59.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfv063

 

Abstract

A major critique of American biblical archaeologists has focused on biblical presuppositions they brought to their work, whereas Israeli archaeologists have been critiqued for promoting Jewish ethno-nationalism through their work. I maintain, however, that American archaeologists also participated in the debate over Zionism, implicitly (and not necessarily consciously) through writings about the ancient past, and explicitly through political activism. This article focuses on contemporaries William Foxwell Albright and Millar Burrows, who disagreed about Zionism. Burrows, who opposed Zionism, characterized the ancient world in terms of cultural interaction and fluidity, while Albright, who favored Zionism, characterized the ancient world in terms of rigid ethnic boundaries. Burrows published a book about Palestinian refugees; thus, his political involvement was no secret. Albright’s political involvement in favor of a Jewish state, which he later denied, is reconstructed here from archival materials. The terms of this debate still resonate, as demonstrated by the current controversy over archaeological theory at the City of David site in Jerusalem.

 

 

 

ToC: Israel Affairs 22.1 (2016)

Israel Affairs, Volume 22, Issue 1, January 2016 is now available online on Taylor & Francis Online.

This new issue contains the following articles:

Articles Sixty-two years of national insurance in Israel
Abraham Doron
Pages: 1-19 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111632

Rethinking reverence for Stalinism in the kibbutz movement
Reuven Shapira
Pages: 20-44 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111640

Making war, thinking history: David Ben-Gurion, analogical reasoning and the Suez Crisis
Ilai Z. Saltzman
Pages: 45-68 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111638

 
Military power and foreign policy inaction: Israel, 1967‒1973
Moshe Gat
Pages: 69-95 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111636
Arab army vs. a Jewish kibbutz: the battle for Mishmar Ha’emek, April 1948
Amiram Ezov
Pages: 96-125 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111633
Lip-service to service: the Knesset debates over civic national service in Israel, 1977–2007
Etta Bick
Pages: 126-149 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111630
State‒diaspora relations and bureaucratic politics: the Lavon and Pollard affairs
Yitzhak Mualem
Pages: 150-171 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111637
Developing Jaffa’s port, 1920‒1936
Tamir Goren
Pages: 172-188 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111634
University, community, identity: Ben-Gurion University and the city of Beersheba – a political cultural analysis
Yitzhak Dahan
Pages: 189-210 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111631
The Palestinian/Arab Strategy to Take Over Campuses in the West – Preliminary Findings
Ron Schleifer
Pages: 211-235 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111639
Identity of immigrants – between majority perceptions and self-definition
Sibylle Heilbrunn, Anastasia Gorodzeisky & Anya Glikman
Pages: 236-247 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111635
Book Reviews
Jabotinsky: a life
David Rodman
Pages: 248-249 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2016.112095

Ethos clash in Israeli society
David Rodman
Pages: 250-251 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2016.1120967

Nazis, Islamists and the making of the modern Middle East
David Rodman
Pages: 252-254 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2016.1120968
The new American Zionism
David Rodman
Pages: 255-257 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2016.1120969
Rise and decline of civilizations: lessons for the Jewish people
David Rodman
Pages: 258-259 | DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2016.1120970

New Article: Segev, The World Jewish Congress, in the Shadow of the Holocaust

Segev, Zohar. “Remembering and Rebuilding: The World Jewish Congress, in the Shadow of the Holocaust.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 14.2 (2015): 315-32.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14725886.2014.957917

 

Abstract

In this essay I expand on the role of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in the 1940s and 1950s. Its mode of operation during the two decades that followed World War II was markedly different from those that characterized other sections of American Jewry. What set the WJC apart from other Jewish organizations was that its leaders sought not merely to institutionalize the relationship between Israel and American Jewry, but involved themselves in the Jewish world as a whole and in Europe in particular, where they vigorously worked to rehabilitate the post-Holocaust Jewish diaspora and to assist those survivors who wished to do so to reintegrate themselves into Europe.

 

New Article: Jacobs, Hebrew on a Desert Island: The Case of Annabelle Farmelant

Jacobs, Adriana X. “Hebrew on a Desert Island: The Case of Annabelle Farmelant.” Studies in American Jewish Literature 34 (2015): 154-74.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/studies_in_american_jewish_literature/v034/34.1.jacobs.html

 

Abstract

The poetic output of the American-born poet and playwright Annabelle “Chana” Farmelant consists entirely of two books of Hebrew poetry, Iyyim bodedim (Desert Islands) and Pirchei zehut (Flowers of Identity), published in Israel in the early 1960s. In this article, I offer an overview of Farmelant’s oeuvre through my own English translations of her poems and in the context of American Hebrew literary history and scholarship, which has long neglected women writers. Farmelant’s short career as a poet notwithstanding, her work engaged directly—and thereby offers crucial attestation of—the gender politics and U.S.-Israel literary relations that contributed to the decline of American Hebrew literature in the mid-twentieth century and to Farmelant’s early departure from the field of modern Hebrew poetry.

New Book: Shiff, The Downfall of Abba Hillel Silver

Shiff, Ofer. The Downfall of Abba Hillel Silver and the Foundation of Israel. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2014.

 

downfall


URL:
http://syracuseuniversitypress.syr.edu/spring-2014/downfall-abba-hillel-silver.html

 

In early February 1949, American Jewry’s most popular and powerful leader, Abba Hillel Silver (1893–1963), had summarily resigned from all his official positions within the Zionist movement and had left New York for Cleveland, returning to his post as a Reform rabbi. In the immediate years prior to his resignation, during the second half of the 1940s, Silver was the most outspoken proponent of the founding of a sovereign Jewish state. He was the most instrumental American Jewish leader in the political struggle that led to the foundation of the State of Israel. Paradoxically, this historic victory also heralded Silver’s personal defeat.

Soon after Israel’s declaration of independence, he and many of his American Zionist colleagues were relegated to the sidelines of the Zionist movement. Almost overnight the most influential leader—one who was admired and feared by both supporters and opponents—was stripped of his power within both the Zionist and the American Jewish arenas.

Shiff’s book discerns the various aspects of the striking turnabout in Silver’s political fate, describing both the personal tragic story of a leader who was defeated by his own victory and the much broader intra-Zionist battle that erupted in full force immediately after the founding of Israel. Drawing extensively on Silver’s personal archival material, Shiff presents an enlightening portrait of a critical episode in Jewish history. This book is highly relevant for anyone who attempts to understand the complex homeland-diaspora relations between Israel and American Jewry.

New Book: Krampf, The National Origins of the Market Economy (in Hebrew)

קרמפף, אריה. המקורות הלאומיים של כלכלת השוק. פיתוח כלכלי בתקופת עיצובו של הקפיטליזם הישראלי. ירושלים: מאגנס, 2015.

 

Krampf

 

URL: http://www.magnespress.co.il/

 

About the Book

During the consolidation of Israeli capitalism, economic policy went through dramatic changes that reflected the key challenges of its society, the power relations between various groups of Israeli political economy, and the changes in worldviews and economic theories in the global arena. This book surveys the shifts in economic worldviews that guided the policymakers of of the State of Israel, and identifies the causes of these changes. The book is based on a variety of historical documents, some of which did not gain scholarly attention so far, and illuminates many issues from a new perspective. It also exposes unknown episodes in the history of political economy of the pre-State years and of Israel. The author presents this economic history in a clear and coherent storyline, readily accessible to readers. This cohesion is achieved through a crystallized and innovative theoretical framework. The book focuses on the period from the 1930s to the year 1967. However, readers will be able to better understand the nature of the relations between the state and the market today and gain insights about Israel’s economic and political future. (Yuval Yonay)

The author presents his readers, both professionals and the general public, with data, analasis and a narrative which will surprise many of them. Many will be surprised to learn that the planners of Israeli economy were far less socialist than they are told to be, and that the process of the formation of Israeli capitalism began long before the era of liberalization and globalization. (Guy Rolnik)

For a full Table of Contents (in Hebrew) click here (PDF).

ToC: Israel Affairs 20.3 (2014)

Israel Affairs, Volume 20, Issue 3, July 2014 is now available online on Taylor & Francis Online.

This new issue contains the following articles:

Articles
The ‘Arab Spring’: implications for US–Israeli relations
Banu Eligür
Pages: 281-301
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.922802

The effects of the ‘Arab Spring’ on Israel’s geostrategic and security environment: the escalating jihadist terror in the Sinai Peninsula
Yehudit Ronen
Pages: 302-317
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.922807

Consolidated monarchies in the post-‘Arab Spring’ era: the case of Jordan
Nur Köprülü
Pages: 318-327
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.922803

Turkish foreign policy after the ‘Arab Spring’: from agenda-setter state to agenda-entrepreneur state
Burak Bilgehan Özpek & Yelda Demirağ
Pages: 328-346
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.922806

Myth and reality, denial and concealment: American Zionist leadership and the Jewish vote in the 1940s
Zohar Segev
Pages: 347-369
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.922808

Middle Eastern intellectual correspondence: Jacob Talmon and Arnold Toynbee revisited
Amikam Nachmani
Pages: 370-398
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.922804

Fiscal allocation to Arab local authorities in Israel, 2004–12
Tal Shahor
Pages: 399-409
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.922809

‘Spring of Youth’ in Beirut: the effects of the Israeli military operation on Lebanon
Dan Naor
Pages: 410-425
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.922805

Book Reviews
Bohaterowie, hochsztaplerzy, opisywacze: wokół Żydowskiego Związku Wojskowego [Heroes, hucksters, storytellers: the Jewish Military Organization
Yehuda Bauer
Pages: 426-429
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.897470

Israel: a history
David Rodman
Pages: 430-431
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.897025

Holy war in Judaism: the fall and rise of a controversial idea
David Rodman
Pages: 431-432
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.897027

Saturday people, Sunday people: Israel through the eyes of a Christian sojourner
David Rodman
Pages: 433-434
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.897028

The Arab Spring, democracy and security: domestic and international ramifications
David Rodman
Pages: 434-436
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.897029

Operation Damocles: Israel’s secret war against Hitler’s scientists, 1951–1967
David Rodman
Pages: 436-437
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.897030

A Jew’s best friend? The image of the dog throughout Jewish history
David Rodman
Pages: 437-438
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.897031

2048
David Rodman
Pages: 438-440
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.897032

Tested by Zion: the Bush administration and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
David Rodman
Pages: 440-441
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.897033

Routledge handbook of modern Israel
David Rodman
Pages: 441-442
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.897034

Israel’s clandestine diplomacies
David Rodman
Pages: 442-444
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.897026

Erratum
Erratum

Pages: 1-1
DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.937589

New Article: Katz, Niagara, Primitivism, and the Hebrew Literary Imagination

Katz, Stephen. “Power and Powerlessness: Niagara, Primitivism, and the Hebrew Literary Imagination.” Modern Judaism 34.2 (2014): 233-56.

URL: http://mj.oxfordjournals.org/content/34/2/233

 

Excerpt

Despite the impression of having attained tranquility and a stable existence, the Jews in Semel’s novel have not found their proper rest, not even on their IsraIsland by the Niagara River. The Falls, just a hop-skip-and-jump downstream, issue forth a foreboding mushroom-like pillar of vapor that rises into the air taking the form that evokes a nuclear explosion (pp. 80, 176, 203, 225–26), a force that threatens to annihilate all of humanity. The metaphor stands as a constant reminder of the violence lurking behind human affairs, from the destruction of Native American culture to the events of September 11, 2001. In addition, it is a threat to Jewish existence as its relatively pristine homogeneous culture gives rise to an Americanized hybridity, as is the life of all who reside in this place.

The image of the Falls resembling the mushroom-shaped aftermath of a nuclear explosion resembles an analogous image frequently applied to Israel. As opposed to life on the precipice of a torrential waterfall, Israel’s condition has often been likened to existence on the edge of a volcano. Nava Semel merely substitutes water for fire. The Falls, it turns out, become a harbinger for the devastations of September 11 as a mark of the end of things, and perhaps some new beginnings.

[…]

At the time when Jews migrating to Eretz Israel were occupied with learning the lay of the land (yedi‘at ha’aretz, knowledge of the land), Hebrew writers in America were also making the acquaintance of the Golden Land. Assimilation into America—whether by those dwelling in America literally, or figuratively for those Hebraists demonstrating their worldliness by writing of vistas other than their own—was also a process of yedi‘at ha’aretz for America’s Hebraists. Their writings testify to an act of inscribing America, of acculturation and internationalization, an adoption of the New World, its environment and myths. In this process, Niagara was but one of many sites of intersection, of American places introduced to the Hebrew reader. As we see, more than a few works in prose or verse were preoccupied with this project, either directly or as an incidental setting of the plot in a new milieu. In so doing, these poems and tales were making the American landscape part of the Jewish experience, fixing it within the reader’s conscience, as a “coming out” of Hebrew literature from the cocoon of self-absorption to an exploration and adaptation to the world.

We might even detect in these American-centered vistas a legacy of the haskalah, when Hebrew writing was praised for the attention devoted to the intricacies of nature and the natural world or was criticized for not doing so. In their fixation on Niagara, writers were inevitably challenged to add their own powers of observation, replication, and metaphorizing, when needed, to broaden it for the host of uses in the Hebrew literary canon.

New Article: Lainer-Vos, Israel in the Poconos: Simulating the Nation in a Zionist Summer Camp

Lainer-Vos, Dan. “Israel in the Poconos: Simulating the Nation in a Zionist Summer Camp.” Theory and Society 43.1 (2014): 91-116.

 

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/ryso/2014/00000043/00000001/00009210

 

Abstract

This article develops a theory of simulation as a nation building mechanism by exploring the production of national belonging in Massad, a Jewish-American summer camp that operated in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, between 1941 and 1981. Trying to inspire campers to Zionism, the camp organizers shaped Massad as a “mini Israel.” This simulation engendered national attachments by lending credence to the belief that others, in Israel, experience more authentic national belonging. Rather than tempting campers to imagine the nation as a “horizontal camaraderie” (Anderson 1991), national simulations allow members to account for their distinct and often ambivalent position from within the nation. From this perspective, nation building is not simply a matter of relativizing internal differences and dramatizing differences between the groups that make up the nation and “outsiders.” Instead, nation building also is centrally a matter of creating institutional routines and practices that allow members to account for their differential position from within the nation.

New Book: Sasson, The New American Zionism

Sasson, Theodore. The New American Zionism. New York: New York University Press, 2013.

 

9780814760864

Click here for Table of Contents.

Is American Jewish support for Israel waning?
As a mobilized diaspora, American Jews played a key role in the establishment and early survival of the modern state of Israel. They created a centralized framework to raise funds, and a powerful, consensusoriented political lobby to promote strong U.S. diplomatic, military, and economic support. But now, as federation fundraising declines and sharp differences over the Israeli-Palestinian peace process divide the community, many fear that American Jews are distancing themselves from Israel.
In The New American Zionism, Theodore Sasson argues that at the core, we are fundamentally misunderstanding the new relationship between American Jews and Israel. Sasson shows that we are in the midst of a shift from a “mobilization” approach, which first emerged with the new state and focused on supporting Israel through big, centralized organizations, to an “engagement” approach marked by direct and personal relations with the Jewish state as growing numbers of American Jews travel to Israel, consume Israeli news and culture, and connect with their Israeli peers via cyberspace and through formal exchange programs.
American Jews have not abandoned their support for Israel, Sasson contends, but they now focus their philanthropy and lobbying in line with their own political viewpoints for the region and they reach out directly to players in Israel, rather than going through centralized institutions. As a result, American Jews may find Israel more personally meaningful than ever before. Yet, at the same time, their ability to impact policy will diminish as they no longer speak with a unified voice.

Cite: Cohen, Lee Kaufer Frankel and American Jewish Philanthropy, 1899-1931

Cohen, Michael R. “‘A Scientific Humanitarian and a Humanitarian Scientist’: Lee Kaufer Frankel and American Jewish Philanthropy, 1899-1931.” American Jewish History 97.3 (2013): 207-233.

 

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/american_jewish_history/v097/97.3.cohen.html

 

Excerpt

During the mission, Frankel spent approximately three weeks in Palestine, scientifically surveying the situation with an eye toward fostering the long-term sustainability of Jewish settlement there. Much of what he saw impressed him, as he recognized “the great work that Zionists have done”—particularly women in the area of health and welfare. Though he had previously been critical of women’s charitable work, he nevertheless applauded the “infant welfare stations and milk stations in the old and new city” established by Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization of America. He also praised the organization’s “high caliber of work and the application of the most modern methods of preventative medicine.” He noted that in the case of Hadassah, “the health education work in the clinics followed by home instruction through trained nurses had all the marks of advanced and scientific procedure,” and observed that the organization “has undoubtedly done a distinct piece of pioneer work and its effect on the population, both Jew and Arab, has been most pronounced.” Frankel’s assessment of Hadassah’s work was thus much more positive than his assessments of most other Jewish women’s philanthropy he had encountered.

[…]

There is no question that Frankel’s guiding hand helped to shape the American Jewish philanthropy of his era, but what was his legacy? He played a critical role in guiding the interwar reconstruction of Eastern Europe and the development of Palestine—two of the most important philanthropic initiatives of his lifetime—and his impact on the life insurance industry was transformative. His emphasis on science and the professionalization of social work also left a lasting footprint, with Lowenstein suggesting that Frankel’s work “has resulted in the creation, throughout the country, of a large group of influential and valuable social, public health, and other communal workers, who owe much of their inspiration and success to his example, encouragement and support.” Frankel’s scientific approach to health care still remains influential in governmental decisions about social welfare programs as well, though the accompanying tension with emergency relief still lingers.

But Frankel’s desire to create systemic change by transitioning American Jewish philanthropy from its focus on immediate needs to a focus on the eradication of the root causes of social problems does not characterize the typical fundraising approach of Jewish federations today. Perhaps Frankel’s calls for proactive social change during the economic boom of the 1920s fell on deaf ears during the Great Depression, when scores of Jews needed the most basic of essentials. The destruction of European Jewry and the immediate needs of the State of Israel—particularly in 1948, 1967, and 1973—may also have necessitated emergency aid in ways in which Frankel could not have envisioned.Nevertheless, though he was unable to foster the larger systemic change he desired, his approach helped to define American Jewish philanthropy of his era.

Cite: Silverstein, Genderings of Diasporic Zionism and Jewish Holocaust Education

Silverstein, Jordana. “ ‘From the Utter Depth of Degradation to the Apogee of Bliss’: The Genderings of Diasporic Zionism and Jewish Holocaust Education.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 11.3 (2012): 377-398.

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14725886.2012.720512

Abstract

This article examines some of the memories of the Holocaust produced in Holocaust education in a selection of Jewish high schools in Melbourne and New York at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It is being suggested here that the narratives about the Holocaust being taught in these schools are in part shaped by a gendered Zionist outlook. This article takes up the question of why this is, and in doing so provides an explanation of these types of narratives. In particular, this article explores the ways that this pedagogy places the story of the creation of the sovereign Jewish State of Israel at the end of a unit of study on the Holocaust, thus linking these two “events” in an important way. This article also explores what it is that makes these narratives gendered, and what work such narratives, and collective memories, do in the formulation of particular notions of diasporic Zionist thinking.

ToC: Journal of Israeli History 31.2 (2012)

Journal of Israeli History: Politics, Society, Culture

Volume 31, Issue 2, 2012

 

Articles

Political aspects of the literature of the Israeli War of Independence

Avner Holtzman
pages 191-215
  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2012.710770

 

The influence of Abba Hillel Silver’s diaspora Zionism on his decision not to immigrate to Israel

Ofer Shiff
pages 217-233
  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2012.710771

 

Creating a socialist canon for children: Lea Goldberg dictates a revolutionary dualism in labor movement children’s literature in the 1940s and 1950s

Yael Darr
pages 235-248
  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2012.710772

 

 

Funeral at the edge of a cliff: Israel bids farewell to David Ben-Gurion

Michael Feige & David Ohana
pages 249-281
  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2012.710773

Motherhood and nation: The voice of women artists in Israel’s bereavement and memorial discourse

Yael Guilat
pages 283-318
  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2012.710774

Book Reviews

 
British Pan-Arab Policy, 1915–1922: A Critical Appraisal

Asher Susser
pages 319-321
  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2012.710775

 

Evolving Nationalism: Homeland, Identity and Religion in Israel, 1925–2005

Stuart Cohen
pages 321-324
  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2012.710776

Nation and History: Israeli Historiography between Zionism and Post-Zionism

Eran Kaplan
pages 324-328
  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2012.710777

 

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Changing Women, Changing Society

Sharon Halevi
pages 328-330
  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2012.710778

 

Miscellany

Editorial Board

  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2012.734055