In this Book

The New American Zionism
summary
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 established a centralized framework to raise funds, and a powerful, consensus-oriented political lobby to promote strong U.S. diplomatic, military, and economic support. But now, as federation fundraising and consensus political lobbying have leveled off, many fear that American Jews no longer actively support Israel.
 
In The New American Zionism, Theodore Sasson argues that, for supporters of Israel, there is good news and bad news—and 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 travel to Israel, consume Israeli 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.
 
Theodore Sasson is Professor of International Studies at Middlebury College and Senior Research Scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. He is also Visiting Research Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University and a consultant to the Mandel Foundation.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-7
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-12
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  1. 1. Mobilization
  2. pp. 13-32
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  1. 2. Advocacy and Activism
  2. pp. 33-61
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  1. 3. Fundraising and Philanthropy
  2. pp. 62-88
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  1. 4. Tourism and Immigration
  2. pp. 89-113
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  1. 5. Attitudes and Attachment
  2. pp. 114-143
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  1. 6. Direct Engagement
  2. pp. 144-164
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  1. Appendix: List of Organizations
  2. pp. 165-170
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  1. Glossary of Hebrew Terms
  2. pp. 171-172
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 173-194
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 195-206
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 207-218
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  1. About the Author
  2. pp. 219-230
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