Israel-Diaspora Relations: A Survey of American Jewish Leaders

By Steven M. Cohen

Israel-Diaspora Institute, January 1990

This article explores the positions of American Jewish leaders towards American involvement in Israeli politics. It found that generally liberal Jewish American leadership would overall like to see Israel become more like what their vision of America is, but are actually only willing to try to influence the Israeli polity in only some areas. They see themselves as most appropriately playing a role in Jewish identity questions, 'who is a Jew', and immigrant absorption. Additionally, half of those surveyed thought it would be appropriate for American Jews to play a role in questions of Israeli electoral reform. Only a quarter think American Jewish involvement in matters of Israeli security would be appropriate. Although American Jewish leaders are generally liberal and dovish, dissatisfaction with specific Israeli politics has led neither to a cooling of the relationship nor to a significant desire to become involved in Israeli foreign policy decisions. They want American Jewish organizations to remain politically neutral, yet by huge margins report more favorable impressions of Israeli Doves and are more likely to support Peace Now than Gush Emunim. The article considers possible explanations for this dichotomy, including a general ambivalence or even confusion on questions of Israeli foreign policy, to the feeling that if domestic policy is influenced to become more liberal, foreign policy will follow.

Topic: Diaspora Relations, Israel-Diaspora Relations, Leadership, Israel's Impact on American Jewry

Genre: Report

Coverage: Israel , United States

Language: English

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Cohen, Steven M. Israel-Diaspora Relations: A Survey of American Jewish Leaders. Israel-Diaspora Institute. January 1990:


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