Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel

Article excerpt

Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel. By Dov Waxman. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2016. 288 pp. $29.95.

Recent debate among American Jews over Israel and its policies has attracted increasing attention. Waxman, a professor of political science at Northeastern University, traces the development of this debate over decades and illustrates how it has become so passionate and divisive.

Using a number of polls, Waxman ably demonstrates that American Jews are much like Israeli Jews, whom he describes as "hawkish doves," no longer believing a negotiated solution with the Palestinian Authority is possible though most would favor one if it were. When he attempts a breakdown of American Jewish political divisions, however, he is less successful. Waxman correctly declares that the so-called "right-wing camp" believes that Palestinian statehood will not bring peace since Palestinian Arabs seek to destroy Israel, not to live in peace alongside it. But if this is just a "right-wing" view, how should one explain what he himself points out on the basis of surveys, that three-quarters of American Jews also believe that Palestinian Arabs seek Israel's destruction, not statehood.

Waxman's explanation for the increasing distancing of young American Jews from Israel is also open to serious doubt. He believes that they are increasingly knowledgeable about Israel and estranged by what he ominously calls "the Occupation. …

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