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Israeli Elections, American Jewry and the Road Ahead
April 26, 2015 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Lecture: “Israeli Elections, American Jewry and the Road Ahead”
On Sunday April 26 at 3:30 PM in the main sanctuary at OZ, the Interfaith/Social Action Committee is pleased to sponsor this timely lecture by Professor Theodore Sasson.
The March 2015 Israeli elections will address issues of profound concern to both Israeli society and American Jewry. In his lecture, Middlebury College Professor Ted Sasson, author of The New American Zionism, will examine how the election will likely affect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s Jewish and democratic character, and the relationship between American Jewry and the Jewish state.
Professor Sasson will bring his considerable expertise on the relationship over time between Israel and the American Jewish diaspora as informed by his research that is the foundation of his recent book.
As described in the book description on amazon.com:
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.
This is a great opportunity to get an up to date assessment of the likely impact of the Israeli election from an expert in the field. The OZ library has a copy of The New American Zionism.
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.