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.

 

 

 

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New Article: Tamari et al, Urban Tribalism: Negotiating Form, Function and Social Milieu in Bedouin Towns

Tamari, Shlomit, Rachel Katoshevski, Yuval Karplus, and Steven C. Dinero. “Urban Tribalism: Negotiating Form, Function and Social Milieu in Bedouin Towns, Israel.” City, Territory and Architecture 3.2 (2016): 14pp.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40410-016-0031-3

 

Abstract

Historically, the tribe was a central pillar of Bedouin society. Recently, the forcibly resettled-Bedouin of Israel’s Negev Desert have experienced profound socio-economic transition and change in addition to spatial relocation. This paper offers a critical examination of the manner in which the tribe has served to inform top-down State-led urban planning, resettlement and housing policies while remaining a vital aspect of Bedouin life. We suggest that in an ironic twist, these policies have generated a new form of urban tribalism that challenges the development of a “modern,” “western” social fabric and practices of citizenship as initially envisioned by State officials.

 
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New Article: Acosta, The Dynamics of Israel’s Democratic Tribalism

Acosta, Benjamin. “The Dynamics of Israel’s Democratic Tribalism.” Middle East Journal 68.2 (2014): 268-86.

 

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mei/mei/2014/00000068/00000002/art00006

 

Abstract

This article evaluates Israeli national identity and its core founding tenets of Zionism, democracy, and Judaism. For decades, demographic changes and associated cultural and ideological fluctuations have gradually pushed Israel into a national identity conflict, as multiple ethnic and sectarian identity groups have come to promote competing interpretations of the state’s purpose, political nature, and connection to territory. Continued demographic shifts, situated amid the sociopolitical dynamics of what this article will define as Israel’s “democratic tribalism,” will further test the compatibility of the constituent parts of Israeli national identity: the respective roles of Zionist ideology, democratic institutions, and the territory of the historic Jewish homeland.