The Threshold of Dissent: A History of American Jewish Critics of Zionism (Hardcover)

The Threshold of Dissent: A History of American Jewish Critics of Zionism By Marjorie Feld Cover Image

The Threshold of Dissent: A History of American Jewish Critics of Zionism (Hardcover)


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Explores the long history of anti-Zionist and non-Zionist American Jews

Throughout the twentieth century, American Jewish communal leaders projected a unified position of unconditional support for Israel, cementing it as a cornerstone of American Jewish identity. This unwavering position served to marginalize and label dissenters as antisemitic, systematically limiting the threshold of acceptable criticism. In pursuit of this forced consensus, these leaders entered Cold War alliances, distanced themselves from progressive civil rights and anti-colonial movements, and turned a blind eye to human rights abuses in Israel. In The Threshold of Dissent, Marjorie N. Feld instead shows that today's vociferous arguments among American Jews over Israel and Zionism are but the newest chapter in a fraught history that stretches from the nineteenth century.

Drawing on rich archival research and examining wide-ranging intellectual currents--from the Reform movement and the Yiddish left to anti-colonialism and Jewish feminism--Feld explores American Jewish critics of Zionism and Israel from the 1880s to the 1980s. The book argues that the tireless policing of contrary perspectives led each generation of dissenters to believe that it was the first to question unqualified support for Israel. The Threshold of Dissent positions contemporary critics within a century-long debate about the priorities of the American Jewish community, one which holds profound implications for inclusion in American Jewish communal life and for American Jews' participation in coalitions working for justice.

At a time when American Jewish support for Israel has been diminishing, The Threshold of Dissent uncovers a deeper--and deeply contested--history of intracommunal debate over Zionism among American Jews.
Marjorie N. Feld is Professor of History in the History and Society Division at Babson College. She is the author of Lillian Wald: A Biography and Nations Divided: American Jews and the Struggle Over Apartheid.
Product Details ISBN: 9781479829316
ISBN-10: 1479829315
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English