American Jews and Zionism: Bringing us Together and Pulling Us Apart
American Jews and Zionism: Bringing us Together and Pulling Us Apart marks the State of Israel’s 75th birthday by gathering twenty internationally recognized scholars at the Center for Jewish History to discuss the long relationship between the American Jewish community and the Zionist movement.
Since the Jewish state’s founding in 1948, American Jews have been stalwart supporters of Israel. But the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict and recent spike in domestic antisemitism have caused new splits to emerge among American Jews about the Zionist movement. Generationally as well as politically, American Jews appear to be more divided about Zionism than ever. Yet these divisions are hardly new. In fact, for nearly a century and a half, Zionism has been a source of contention, not just consensus, among Jews in the United States and around the world. The question of whether the Jewish people should be viewed as an ethnically defined nation or merely a religious community has been hotly contested within Jewish communities from the late 19th century to the present. American Jews and Zionism chronicles this long history in the effort to explain present-day tensions and opportunities in the relationship between the American Jewish community and the State of Israel.
The symposium, which is organized in partnership with the National Library of Israel, is the first installment in a larger series of public symposia sponsored by the Center for Jewish History’s brand new Jewish Public History Forum. Future symposia at The Forum will include “Jewish Responses to Fascism, 1933-2023” (fall 2023), “Jews and Immigration: 1924-2024 (spring 2024), and “Jews and Democracy: Antiquity to the Present” (fall 2024).