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American Jewry and the State of Israel: How Intense the Bonds of Peoplehood?

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Publication Date: June 2008

Publisher(s): Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Author(s): Steven Bayme

Series: Jewish Political Studies Review, vol.20, no.1-2 (Spring 2008)

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: Diaspora Relations; Israel Attachment; Jewish Identification; Israel Advocacy

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


The author describes how American Jewish leadership, initially ambivalent about the creation of a Jewish state, quickly formed a pro-Israeli consensus within the Jewish community. The 1950 Ben-Gurion-Blaustein Agreement effectively removed many of the sources of tension in American Jewish-Israeli relations such as dual loyalty, negation of the Diaspora, and who may speak on behalf of the Jewish people. In turn, American Jewish leadership helped frame an ongoing special relationship between Washington and Jerusalem. He concludes that although tensions remain in relations between Israel and American Jewry, particularly over issues of personal status and religious pluralism, the pro-Israeli consensus has generally held firm over a sixty-year period.