H-Diplo State of the Field Essay 160 on Culture, Communities, and Early U.S.-Israel Relations

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H-Diplo Essay No. 160

An H-Diplo State of the Field Essay


Published on 18 July 2018





H-Diplo Essay Editor:  Diane Labrosse

H-Diplo Web and Production Editor:  George Fujii

State of the Field Essay on Culture, Communities, and Early U.S.-Israel Relations.

URL: http://tiny.cc/E160

Reviewed by Geoffrey P. Levin, New York University


The recent opening of an American embassy in Jerusalem has only increased interest in the relationship between the United States and Israel in recent months. Many onlookers view it as the culmination of years of ‘unconditional’ support going back to Israel’s founding in 1948. Yet the very fact that the past twelve presidential administrations declined to recognize Israel’s self-proclaimed capital should serve as a stark reminder that the relationship between the two countries has always been in flux, and much more fraught than many people realize.

Historians have long pointed out the tense aspects and colder periods of the so-called ‘special relationship.’ Published from the 1980s through 2000s, books by Isaac Alteras, Warren Bass, Abraham Ben-Zvi, Uri Bialer, Neil Caplan, Michael J. Cohen, Peter Hahn, Zach Levey, Douglas Little, Zaki Shalom, Salim Yaqub, and others used archival material to paint a clearer—and messier—picture of U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations in the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy administrations.[1]

Rather than discussing these now-classic works, this essay will showcase some of the latest developments in the historiography of the America-Israel relationship over the past decade, focusing on new literature on cultural and communal aspects of the early relationship. These transnational histories zoom out, exploring the meaning and construction of the U.S.-Israel relationship within society and specific communities. Richer literatures on American Christian attitudes towards Israel/Palestine, Israel-American Jewish relations, and Israel’s role in American culture are all emerging. We can see several common trends in this new work. One is that it deepens our understandings of the making and meaning of the American relationship with Israel. Second is the emergence of a much more substantive literature of American engagement with Palestinians and the question of Palestinian rights. Third is that Israeli officials and events in the Middle East have played a greater role in shaping how Americans engaged with Israel than has been previously acknowledged. Rather than being solely a product of endogenous American communal feelings, important developments in the history of support for Israel sometimes came amidst Israeli prompting or guidance. These new transnational approaches better capture the entangled role of American and Middle East histories in the shaping of U.S.-Israel cultural ties.

The expansion of literature on culture and the early U.S.-Israel relations should be of little surprise given trends in the broader discipline, as well as the fact that diplomatic historians have moved on to the 1970s[2] and even the 1980s.[3] Michelle Mart and Melani McAlister both played trailblazing roles in highlighting cultural aspects of the relationship. The fourth chapter of McAlister’s Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East since 1945 (2000) was among the first scholarly works that emphasized the cultural impact of the Vietnam War on American’s embrace of Israel in the 1970s.[4] Meanwhile, Mart’s Eye on Israel: How America Came to See Israel as Ally (2006) and related articles stand as important early works on the role of popular culture and gender in the Americanization of Israel before 1960.[5] While diplomatic histories show how the United States gradually and increasingly came to support Israel in the postwar decades, these cultural histories show why a political-cultural context emerged that underpinned such support.

Recent work has greatly expanded upon this project in several directions. Shaul Mitelpunkt’s new book Israel in the American Mind: The Cultural Politics of U.S.-Israel Relations, 1958-1988 (2018) examines the cultural history of images of Israel amongst Americans, with an emphasis on liberal elites, writers, and thinkers.[6] The book argues persuasively that these thinkers adapted, internalized, revised, and disseminated a concept of Israel as a “citizen-soldier utopia,” a society that, at least until 1973 and to a significant extent even afterward, managed to balance the demands of patriotic military service with liberal ideals. These thinkers, who played a significant role in shaping broader public opinion, become enchanted with such an image of Israel in the context of a perceived imbalance in the United States, especially in light of American struggles in the Vietnam War. Unlike the earlier works in this field, Israel in the American Mind makes great use of Israeli sources; the book can thus be considered the first truly transnational history of the U.S.-Israel relationship in the realm of cultural politics. The merits of such an approach are clear. It allows Mitelpunkt to show that the citizen-solder imagery was on one hand, not an innovation originally created for export but rather emerged in Israeli domestic discourse; on the other hand, Mitelpunkt demonstrates just how active a role Israeli officials played in deploying this cultural narrative to Americans in the hopes of garnering diplomatic, political, and military support.

For example, Mitelpunkt’s first chapter highlights the significant role of Israeli officials in the creation of the bestselling novel (1958) and landmark film (1961) Exodus, a cultural production that has been of considerable interest to a range of scholars including Amy Kaplan, who also has a forthcoming book on Israel in American culture, and Matthew M. Silver.[7] “One cannot overestimate the influence of Exodus in Americanizing the Zionist narrative of Israel’s origins,” Kaplan wrote in her 2013 analysis of Exodus.[8] Silver wrote a book on Exodus titled Our Exodus: Leon Uris and the Americanization of Israel’s Founding Story, which explores the life of the book’s author and the popular reception of the book and film.[9] Yet Mitelpunkt’s project is the first to emphasize the pivotal involvement of the Israeli state in so many aspects of Exodus’s forgotten genesis. Israeli diplomats long understood Exodus’s public relations value, guiding Leon Uris around Israel as he wrote it and recommending that he drop negative portrayals of Israel’s Mapai-affiliated founding institutions and delete positive depictions of rival Revisionist Zionists.[10] Later, the state invested heavily in the filming of the movie and did its best to ensure positive imagery. By using Israeli sources to reveal this hidden history of Exodus, the book and film are shown to be not only an American cultural production, but also an Israeli diplomatic project intended to cultivate American affinities for the Jewish state. Mitelpunkt’s book goes on to unveil the role of Israeli officials in other acts aimed at fostering the citizen-soldier image, though it should be noted that this is only one of the book’s several important interventions.

Other new works clearly indicate that Mitelpunkt’s findings regarding Israeli intervention are not an anomaly but rather part of a trend that is discernable in recent historiography. What Mitelpunkt does to reveal the agency of Israeli officials in the elite cultural realm, Israeli historian Natan Aridan accomplishes in the realm of American Jewish organizational support for Israel. Aridan’s book, Advocating for Israel: Diplomats and Lobbyists from Truman to Nixon, came out last year, yet has received less attention in the United States than it deserves.[11] As the first broad history of American Jewish advocacy and lobbying for Israel that make extensive use of Hebrew-language sources, the book should be an asset to American scholars who are less able to access and decipher Israeli primary source material. Aridan expands on the work of earlier noteworthy texts on Israeli and American Jewish leaders by his fellow Israel-based scholars Zvi Ganin and Ariel Feldestein, but Aridan’s book has a wider breadth.[12] Aridan demonstrates the great extent to which early Israeli diplomats felt a need to manage and direct the state’s American Jewish supporters. This included not only offering guidance and suggestions, but also involved reining in over-enthusiastic supporters and exerting the Israeli state’s newfound sovereignty over the Zionist movement, adding to Ofer Shiff’s recent portrayal of the post-1948 transnational struggle amongst Zionists.[13] Thus, Aridan argues, successful attempts to influence U.S. policy should be considered less an achievement of lobbyists. Rather, in Aridan’s framing, more credit should be given to effective diplomats, who, though originally hesitant to rely on local intermediaries, soon devised what they felt was a fruitful partnership that involved American Jews taking actions that would be inappropriate for Israeli officials. The book forces readers to rethink early American lobbying for Israel as less of a product of American Jewry and more of a success of an image-focused state that understood the high stakes of public opinion on American policy.

Advocating for Israel covers overlapping ground with a recent article, “‘The Edge of the Abyss’: The Origins of the Israel Lobby, 1949-1954,” by Doug Rossinow, whose tone regarding pro-Israel lobbying differs drastically from Aridan’s.[14] Though Rossinow’s article does not draw from Israeli state sources as Aridan’s book does, it too notes the importance of “transnational contacts with Israeli leaders and realities” in organizing support for Israel.[15] “‘The Edge of the Abyss’” aims to link the 1953 Qibya massacre with the creation of the two pro-Israel lobbying bodies in 1954. Rossinow shows that the massacre and contemporaneous US decision to suspend aid – a decision, Rossinow notes, which had been determined prior to the massacre – put Israel’s supporters in crisis. It underscored to supporters the necessity of greater organization and thus catalyzed, in Rossinow’s telling, the formation of the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs (AZCPA) and Conference of Presidents of Major Organizations. Rossinow emphasizes that the Conference of Presidents brought together many Zionist and non-Zionist groups, albeit not yet the preeminent American Jewish Committee, which the article does not note. While Rossinow persuasively contends that consolidation amongst non-Zionists and Zionists was an essential factor in the growth of lobbying, his focus on 1953-1954 may be up for more debate. For example, in a broader forthcoming study, Matthew Berkman also highlights the emergence of non-Zionist advocacy for Israel in the 1940s and 1950s.[16] Instead of the then-fledgling organizations that Rossinow discusses, Berkman examines the much wealthier and more powerful Jewish federations and their umbrella groups, demonstrating that the 1956 Suez Crisis marked the moment when the non-Zionist federation system shifted from domestic activity towards pro-Israel mobilization. Such findings do not negate Rossinow’s argument but rather serve as a reminder that different Jewish groups underwent political change at different historical moments. Collectively, these projects do a great service in showing that the 1950s were not peripheral, but rather were essential to the construction of pro-Israel politics in American Jewry.[17] Previous work on the topic tended to neglect the period, focusing instead on the late 1940s or the growth in the 1970s and 1980s of AZCPA’s successor, AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee).[18] By highlighting the role of Middle Eastern events in domestic developments, this work also fits into this broader trend of breaking down barriers between Israeli and American histories.

The international event most often cited for transforming American Jewish ties with Israel is the state’s dramatic victory in the 1967 war. Yet the importance of 1967 has unfortunately led some scholars to neglect what came before it, thus flattening or dismissing the 1948-1967 period. Emily Alice Katz’s important monograph Bringing Zion Home: Israel in American Jewish Culture, 1948-1967 (2015) offers much-needed context to the electrifying reaction to 1967 by showing how American Jews steadily adopted Israeli culture within their communal institutions.[19] The book serves as an important reminder that American Jewish identification with the Jewish state was not ipso-facto, but rather a bond that underwent construction over time. Historians focused on American Jewish politics and lobbying should not overlook the important rise of cultural identification with Israel as a factor in explaining the growth of American Jewish political mobilization on the state’s behalf. Katz does not emphasize Israelis as actors, though they no doubt also played a role in this cultural transmission. However, the book functions as a corrective in a different way, by emphasizing grassroots actions of individual Jews and local Jewish institutions in adopting Israeli culture into their lives as American Jews for reasons related to human struggles for meaning and identity, particularly within the post-Holocaust context and amidst sociological changes facing American Jewry. Katz’s book includes a broad array of cultural forms, with chapters exploring literature, dance, consumption, art, and music.

Other scholars expanding this important genre include Mira Katzburg-Yungman and Sandra Fox. Katzburg-Yungman’s Hadassah: American Women Zionists and the Rebirth of Israel (2012) gives America’s largest Zionist organization in terms of membership a book worthy of its relevance, as Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is often unfortunately overlooked in the history of U.S.-Israel relations.[20] In a way, the book build on an important 2005 anthology—American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise—which includes contributions from a number of scholars on the broader topic.[21] Meanwhile, Fox’s research focuses on another long-neglected institution that was essential in the fostering of American Jewish ties with Israel: American Jewish summer camps. Though Fox does not frame her work in the context of U.S.-Israel relations and also covers Yiddishist camps resistant to Zionism, her article “Tisha B’Av, ‘Ghetto Day,’ and Producing “Authentic” Jews at Postwar Jewish Summer Camps,” displays ways in which strong emotional attachments with Israel have been instilled in American Jewish youth at an early age.[22] These works all build on the history of American Zionism and the American Jewish relationship with Israel, a literature with its own long history in Jewish studies.[23]

Several other works with novel approaches to the study of American Jews and Israel include Sara Hirschhorn’s City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement (2017) and Michael Barnett’s The Star and the Stripes: A History of the Foreign Policies of American Jews (2016).[24] Hirschhorn’s book explores the lives and politics of American Jews who moved to Israeli settlements in territories occupied in the 1967 war. Instead of simply focusing on the experiences of these Americans in the settlements, Hirschhorn’s book blends American and Israeli histories. The book explores how the American-born settlers have impacted the broader settlement project, arguing that they brought with them liberal concepts of rights (for themselves, not for Palestinians), which they later infused into broader settler discourse. The book’s archival contributions are stronger in the realm of Israeli history, with the chapter on the American context drawing mostly from interviews, press reports, and secondary sources. Overall, it does a great service to historians in multiple fields, breaking down subfield barriers to weigh in on important questions of scholarly and public interest. Barnett’s book is not explicitly a work about American Jewish-Israel relations, but considering that his framework is “the foreign policies of American Jews,” it is no surprise that the issue looms large. Focusing more on what he terms the struggle between “cosmopolitanism” and “tribalism” Barnett contends the former dominated before 1967 and the latter did afterward, and thus does not necessarily reframe pre-1967 histories; as with Hirschhorn’s work, Barnett’s book hinges on 1967 as a turning point and places less emphasis on the role of shifts throughout the 1948-1967 period.[25] Last, in the realm of new approaches are several budding works such as Marjorie Feld’s book project on anti-Zionism in American Jewish history, Kyle Stanton’s dissertation on early American Jewish critics of Israel, and Noam Pianko and Judah Bernstein’s book project exploring American Zionism in the early Cold War context.[26]

While much has been written on American Jewish views of Israel, a new cohort of Israeli scholars are just now moving to write about Israeli views of American Jewry, a topic which has been subjected to surprisingly little historical research.[27] Omri Asscher, who has thus far published work on the understanding and translation of Hebrew literature in America arguing that American translations portrayed Israel in a more positive light than in self-critical source-texts, is now exploring how Israelis translate and understand American Jewish writers such as Philip Roth.[28] In Israel, Asscher has found, Hebrew translations of American Jewish authors have often tended to “Judaize” universal themes in the work. Meanwhile David Barak-Gorodetsky, author of a new book on Judah Magnes–the San Francisco-born President of Hebrew University, reform Rabbi, and leading binationalist–is now examining Israeli understandings of Reform Judaism, a movement largely seen as an American import.[29] Focusing on an earlier period, Zohar Segev, author of a recent book on the World Jewish Congress, and Ofer Shiff, are researching, respectively, a transnational network of Jewish activists and Yishuv views of American Jewry.[30] In the realm of Zionist high politics, Shiff’s The Downfall of Abba Hillel Silver and the Foundation of Israel is perhaps the best source showing just how disorienting the creation of Israel was for American Zionist leaders; while Silver had once rivaled David Ben-Gurion as leader of global Zionism, the latter’s ascent to the premiership left Silver sidelined as Ben-Gurion instead sought partnerships with prominent non-Zionist Jews.[31]

Reflecting, perhaps, the increasing political importance of Christian support for Israel in recent years, a wide array of scholars have recently been investigating the historical evolution of that relationship. Caitlin Carenen’s The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel (2012) explores the relationship between American Protestants and Israel from 1933 through 2008, arguing that earlier mainline Protestant support for Israel actually laid the theological groundwork for later evangelical support of Israel.[32] Carenen’s book is particularly helpful in highlighting the rise of the liberal Protestant group the American Christian Palestine Committee’s (ACPC) support for Israel and the subsequent disenchantment of some of liberal Protestants following the creation of the Arab refugee problem. Amy Weiss’s recent dissertation, “Between Cooperation and Competition: The Making of American Jewish Zionist Interfaith Alliances with Liberal and Evangelical Protestants, 1898-1979” (2014) adds to the picture, examining the first three decades of the twentieth century and showing how American Jewish Zionists cultivated relations with both evangelicals and mainline Protestants before and during the interwar period.[33] Both the works have a clear transnational component, drawing from the Central Zionist Archives and Israel State Archives, and note Israel’s monitoring of American Christian politics.

Yaakov Ariel has long been a respected expert on the relationship between Christians, Jews, and Zionism; though not explicitly focused on Israel, his latest book An Unusual Relationship: Evangelical Christians and Jews (2013) includes great insight on Christian Zionism and is a worthy source for anyone interested in evangelicals’ relationship with Israel.[34] More recently, political scientist Samuel Goldman’s God's Country: Christian Zionism in America (2018) offers a sweeping historical interpretation, arguing that the roots of what is now known as Christian Zionism have been present in American political culture since the colonial period.[35] Other young scholars working on Christian Zionism include Daniel Hummel, whose forthcoming book discusses American evangelicals and Israel; Walker S. Robins, whose recent articles examine how specific Christian leaders dealt with questions raised by Zionism; Jason Olson, who has a forthcoming book on American Christians and the 1967 war, and Amber Taylor, whose forthcoming dissertation examines the topic of Mormons and Israel.[36] All of these newer and forthcoming works expand a rich literature on American Christians and Israel by scholars including Eric Crouse, Moshe Davis, Hertzel Fishman, Shalom Goldman, Paul Charles Merkley, and Stephen Spector.[37]

One of the most important recent developments for the historiography of U.S.-Israel cultural relations is what could be called the ‘Palestinian turn’—the growth of literature relating to America’s relationship with Palestinians as well as pro-Arab and pro-Palestine activism. Pamela Pennock’s The Rise of the Arab American Left: Activists, Allies, and Their Fight against Imperialism and Racism, 1960s–1980s (2017), and Salim Yaqub’s Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs, and U.S.–Middle East Relations in the 1970s (2016), as well as recent articles by those authors greatly enrich our understandings of Arab American activists and their allies in pro-Palestine activism.[38] Historians of ‘America and the world’ should pay particular attention to Yaqub’s work, which deftly intertwines diplomatic history with the historians of activism and culture, an important development for the field as discussed in a recent H-Diplo Roundtable.[39] Another pair of books, Alex Lubin’s Geographies of Liberation: The Making of an Afro-Arab Political Imaginary (2014) and Keith Feldman’s A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America (2015)—also explore the cultural politics of the Middle East, both dealing with Israel/Palestine and race in America.[40] On a similar note, Michael R. Fischbach’s forthcoming Black Power and Palestine: Transnational Countries of Color aims to write the Arab-Israeli conflict into the history of African American civil rights activism.[41] All of these works also touch on the African American relationship with Israel/Palestine in a manner that displays how, particularly amidst decolonization, attitudes toward Israel cannot be separated from the question of Palestine. Finally, two recent articles fall into this category: Suraya Khan’s “Transnational Alliances: The AAUG's Advocacy for Palestine and the Third World” (2018), and my “Arab Students, American Jewish Insecurities, and the End of Pro-Arab Politics in Mainstream America, 1952-1973” (2017), which explore pro-Palestine activism in the context of Arab American history and American Jewish history, respectively.[42] The growth in literature on America and the Palestinians also extends to diplomatic history, with Seth Anziska’s much anticipated book Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo set to be published in September 2018.[43]

The field of archival research on U.S.-Israel relations continues to both broaden thematically and march forward in time on the diplomatic front as new archival material becomes available. A particular novelty are those works that sit at the intersection of diplomatic and cultural or communal politics, looking at the activities of Israeli officials which fall outside the formal diplomatic realm. Such studies emphasize the great importance Israel placed on the broader aspects of the U.S.-Israel relationship. While diplomatic history remains a distinct and fruitful field of scholarly analysis, as shown by the recent work on the 1970s and beyond, one should expect more histories that blend cultural or communal politics with the use of diplomatic sources. Finally, due to a wide array of factors, one anticipates additional interesting work on the politics and diplomacy regarding the Palestinians, hopefully in dialogue with the existing wealth of literature on U.S.-Israel ties.


Geoffrey P. Levin is a Ph.D. candidate in Hebrew & Judaic Studies/History and an Israel Institute Doctoral Fellow at New York University. His dissertation explores the relationship between American Jews, Israel, and Palestinian rights from 1948 to 1977. His work has appeared in Israel Studies Review, Shofar, Israel Affairs, and Arab Studies Journal.


© 2018 The Authors.

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[1] Isaac Alteras, Eisenhower and Israel: U.S.-Israeli Relations, 1953-1960 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1993); Abraham Ben-Zvi, The United States and Israel: The Limits of the Special Relationship (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993); Uri Bialer, Between East and West: Israel’s Foreign Policy Orientation, 1948-1956 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008); Warren Bass, Support Any Friend: Kennedy’s Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); Neil Caplan, Futile Diplomacy, Volume 4: Operation Alpha and the Failure of Anglo-American Coercive Diplomacy in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1954-1956 (Portland: Frank Cass, 1997); Michael J. Cohen, Truman and Israel (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990); Peter L. Hahn, Caught in the Middle East: U.S. Policy toward the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1945-1961 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004); Zach Levey, Israel and the Western Powers, 1952-1960 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997); Douglas Little, American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2002); Zaki Shalom, Israel’s Nuclear Option: Behind the Scenes Diplomacy between Dimona and Washington (Sussex: Sussex Academic Press, 2005); Salim Yaqub, Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004). For an earlier overview of various aspects of the U.S.-Middle East relationship, see essays in “The U.S. and the Middle East” edition of the OAH Magazine of History 20:3 (May 2006).

[2] An array of works on the 1967-1977 period have appeared in recent years including Shaiel Ben-Ephraim, “Distraction and Deception: Israeli Settlements, Vietnam, and the Johnson Administration,” Diplomatic History 42:3 (2018): 456-483; Craig Daigle, The Limits of Détente: the United States, the Soviet Union and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1969-73 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012); Arnon Gutfeld and Boaz Vanetik, “‘A Situation That Had to Be Manipulated’: The American Airlift to Israel During the Yom Kippur War,” Middle Eastern Studies 52:3 (2016): 419-447; Noam Kochavi, Nixon and Israel: Forging a Conservative Partnership (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2009); Jeremy Pressman, “Explaining the Carter administration’s Israeli-Palestinian Solution,” Diplomatic History 37:5 (2013) 1117-1147; Ziv Rubinowitz, “Blue and White ‘Black September’: Israel’s Role in the Jordan Crisis of 1970,” The International Historical Review 32:4 (2010): 687-706; Zaki Shalom and Boaz Vanetik, The Nixon Administration and the Middle East Peace Process, 1969-1973 (Sussex: Sussex Academic Press, 2013); James R Stocker, “A Historical Inevitability?: Kissinger and US Contacts with the Palestinians (1973-76),” The International Historical Review 39:2 (2016): 316-337; and David Tal, “A Tested Alliance: The American Airlift to Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War,” Israel Studies 19:3 (2014): 29-54.

[3] Archival historians are now even moving past the Camp David accords. See Craig Daigle, “Beyond Camp David: Jimmy Carter, Palestinian Self-Determination, and Human Rights,” Diplomatic History (2018) now available online, and the forthcoming books by Jørgen Jensehaugen titled Arab-Israeli Diplomacy under Carter set to be published by I. B. Taurus in September 2018, and by Seth Anziska titled Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo, set to be published by Princeton University Press in September 2018.

[4] Melani McAlister, Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interest in the Middle East since 1945 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).

[5] Michelle Mart, Eye on Israel: How America Came to View Israel as an Ally (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006); Michelle Mart, “Tough Guys and American Cold War Policy: Images of Israel, 1948-1960,” Diplomatic History 20:3 (1996): 357-380; Michelle Mart, “Eleanor Roosevelt, Liberalism, and Israel,” Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 24:3 (2006): 58-89; Michelle Mart, “The ‘Christianization’ of Israel and Jews in 1950s America,” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation 14:1 (2004): 109-147.

[6] Shaul Mitelpunkt, Israel in the American Mind: The Cultural Politics of U.S.-Israel Relations, 1958-1988 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

[7] Amy Kaplan’s forthcoming book Our American Israel: The Story of an Entangled Alliance with be published by Harvard University Press in September 2018.

[8] Amy Kaplan, “Zionism as Anticolonialism: The Case of Exodus” American Literary History 25:4 (2013): 870-895.

[9] M. M. Silver, Our Exodus: Leon Uris and the Americanization of Israel’s Founding Story (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2010).

[10] Mitelpunkt, Israel in the American Mind, 38.

[11] Natan Aridan, Advocating for Israel: Diplomats and Lobbyists from Truman to Nixon (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2017). See also Natan Aridan, “Israel’s Refusal to Endorse the American Friends of Israel (1956),” Israel Studies 15:10 (2010): 189-201.

[12] Zvi Ganin, An Uneasy Relationship: American Jewish Leadership and Israel, 1948-1957 (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005); Ariel L. Feldestein, Ben-Gurion, Zionism, and American Jewry 1948-1963 (New York: Routledge, 2006).

[13] Ofer Shiff, The Downfall of Abba Hillel Silver and the Foundation of Israel (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2014).

[14] Doug Rossinow, “‘The Edge of the Abyss’: The Origins of the Israel Lobby, 1949-1954,” Modern American History 1:1 (2018): 23-43.

[15] Ibid., 23. The article is related to his book project, Two Flags: The Worlds of Political Zionism, 1948-1995.

[16] Matthew Berkman’s forthcoming dissertation explores the pivotal role of Jewish federations and their political auxiliaries–the National Community Relations Advisory Council (NCRAC) and its associated network of Jewish Community Relations Councils–in grassroots political mobilization for Israel during the second half of the twentieth century.

[17] Covering the same period, on the related topic of American Jewish groups’ evolving response to pro-Arab political activism, see Geoffrey P. Levin, “Arab Students, American Jewish Insecurities, and the End of Pro-Arab Politics in Mainstream America, 1952-1973,” Arab Studies Journal 25:1 (2017): 30-59.

[18] Among the books that discuss advocacy/lobbying surrounding 1948 and Truman’s decision to recognize Israel are Cohen, Truman and Israel, and John Judis, Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014). Works that emphasize AIPAC’s growth in the 1970s and beyond include John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007).

[19] Emily Alice Katz, Bringing Zion Home: Israel in American Jewish Culture, 1948-1967 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2015).

[20] Mira Katzburg-Yungman, Hadassah: American Women Zionists and the Rebirth of Israel (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012).

[21] Mark Raider and Shulamit Reinharz (ed), American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise, (Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2005).

[22] Sandra F. Fox, “Tisha B’Av, ‘Ghetto Day,’ and Producing “Authentic” Jews at Postwar Jewish Summer Camps,” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 17:2 (2018): 156-172. See also her dissertation, Sandra F. Fox, “Here, We’re Real Jews”: Producing Authentic Jews in Postwar American Jewish Summer Camps, 1945-1980,” PhD Dissertation, New York University, 2018.

[23] Much has been written on American Jews and Israel. For an overview of earlier work, see Rafael Medoff, “Recent Trends in the Historiography of American Zionism” American Jewish History 86:1 (1998): 117-134, or the chapters by an array of scholars in Allon Gal (ed.), Envisioning Israel: The Changing Ideals and Images of American Jews (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1996).

[24] Sara Y. Hirschhorn, City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017); Michael N. Barnett’s The Star and the Stripes: A History of the Foreign Policies of American Jews (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016). For an H-Diplo roundtable discussion of Barnett’s book, see https://networks.h-net.org/node/28443/discussions/174974/h-diplo-roundtable-xviii-21-star-and-stripes-history-foreign.

[25] Several recent books with a more contemporary focus may also be of interest - Theodore Sasson, The New American Zionism (New York: New York University Press, 2013); Jonathan Rynhold, The Arab Israeli Conflict in American Political Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015); Dov Waxman, Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016). For a helpful collective review of the three, see Eli Lederhendler, “The Arab-Israeli Conflict in American Political Culture; The New American Zionism; Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel,” The Journal of Israeli History 36:1 (2017): 95-99.

[26] Prior published work by these scholars on related topics include Noam Pianko, Zionism and the Roads Not Taken: Rawidowicz, Kaplan, Kohn (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010); Marjorie Feld, Nations Divided: American Jews and the Struggle over Apartheid (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); and Judah Bernstein, “‘The Two Finest Nations in the World’: American Zionists and Irish Nationalism, 1897-1922,” Journal of American Ethnic History 36:3 (2017): 5-37.

[27] This trend is being advanced by a new “Research Lab” on “Israel and World Jewry” at Ben-Gurion University’s Center for Israel Studies as well as the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa, each the first program of its kind in Israel. Until very recently, Israeli historians have tended to overlook the (generally positive) Jewish experience in North America, as the existence of a comfortable and viable diasporic alternative to Israel challenges the old Zionist emphasis on “negating the diaspora” and related claims.

[28] Omri Asscher, “Israel for American Eyes: Literature on the Move, and the Mediated Repertoire of American Jewish Identity, 1960–1980,” AJS Review 42:1 (2018): 21-38.

[29] David Barak-Gorodetsky, Jeremiah in Zion: Religion and Politics in the World of Judah Leib Magnes (Be’er Sheva: Ben-Gurion University Press, 2018) [Hebrew].

[30] Zohar Segev, The World Jewish Congress during the Holocaust: Between Activism and Restraint (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014).

[31] Shiff, The Downfall of Abba Hillel Silver.

[32] Caitlin Carenen, The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel (New York: New York University Press, 2012).

[33] Amy Weiss, “Between Cooperation and Competition: The Making of American Jewish Zionist Interfaith Alliances with Liberal and Evangelical Protestants, 1898-1979,” PhD dissertation, New York University, 2014. Weiss also has forthcoming articles on Billy Graham and Israel, and on the ACPC’s engagement with the Jewish National Fund.

[34] Yaakov Ariel, An Unusual Relationship: Evangelical Christians and Jews (New York: New York University Press, 2013).

[35] Samuel Goldman, God’s Country: Christian Zionism in America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018).

[36] Daniel G. Hummel, “A ‘Practical Outlet’ to Premillennial Faith: G. Douglas Young and the Evolution of Christian Zionist Activism in Israel,” Religion & American Culture 25:1 (2015): 37-81 and forthcoming book A Covenant of the Mind: Evangelicals, Israel, and the Construction of a Special Relationship to be published by University of Pennsylvania Press in 2019; Jason Olson’s forthcoming book America’s Road to Jerusalem: The Impact of the Six-Day War to be published by Lexington Books in 2019; Walker S. Robins, “Cultural Zionism and Binationalism Among Liberal Protestants,” Israel Studies 23:2 (2018): 142-167.

[37] Eric Crouse, American Christian Support for Israel: Standing with the Chosen People, 1948-1975 (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2015); Moshe Davis, America and the Holy Land: With Eyes Towards Zion IV (Westport: Praeger, 1995); Hertzel Fishman, American Protestantism and a Jewish State (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1973); Shalom Goldman, Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews and the Idea of the Promised Land (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 2009); Paul C. Merkley, Christian Attitudes towards the State of Israel (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001); Stephen Spector, Evangelicals and Israel: The Story of American Christian Zionism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

[38] Pamela Pennock, The Rise of the Arab American Left: Activists, Allies, and Their Fight against Imperialism and Racism, 1960s–1980s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017); Pamela Pennock, “Third World Alliances: Arab-American Activists in American Universities 1967-1973” Mashriq & Mahjar 2:2 (2014) 55-78; Salim Yaqub, Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs, and U.S.-Middle East Relations in the 1970s (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016); Salim Yaqub, “‘Our Declaration of Independence’: African Americans, Arab Americans, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1967-1979,” Mashriq & Mahjar 3:2 (2015), 12-29.

[39] H-Diplo Roundtable XIX, 2 (11 September 2017) on Salim Yaqub, Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs, and U.S.-Middle East Relations in the 1970s, http://www.tiny.cc/Roundtable-XIX-2.

[40] Alex Lubin, Geographies of Liberation: The Making of an Afro-Arab Political Imaginary (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014); Keith P. Feldman, A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015).

[41] Michael R. Fischbach’s forthcoming Black Power and Palestine: Transnational Countries of Color will be published by Stanford University Press in November 2018.

[42] Suraya Khan, “Transnational Alliances: The AAUG’s Advocacy for Palestine and the Third World” Arab Studies Quarterly 40:1 (2018) 53-72; Geoffrey P. Levin, “Arab Students, American Jewish Insecurities, and the End of Pro-Arab Politics in Mainstream America, 1952-1973,” Arab Studies Journal 25:1 (2017): 30-59. On discussions between Israeli officials and American Jewish leaders regarding Palestinian rights in Israel, see Geoffrey P. Levin, “Liberal Whispers and Propaganda Fears: The American Jewish Committee and Israel’s Palestinian Minority, 1948-1966,” Israel Studies Review 33:1 (2018): 81-101.

[43] Seth E. Anziska’s Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo will published by Princeton University Press in September 2018.