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Nations Divided: American Jews and the Struggle Over Apartheid

Nations Divided: American Jews and the Struggle Over Apartheid (Hardback)

£63.00
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Synopsis

The anti-apartheid struggle remains one of the most fraught episodes in the history of modern Jewish identity. Just as many American Jews proudly fought for principles of justice and liberation in the Civil Rights Movement, so too did they give invaluable support to the movement for racial equality in South Africa. Today, however, the memory of apartheid bedevils the debate over Israel and Palestine, viewed by some as a cautionary tale for the Jewish state even as others decry the comparison as anti-Semitic. This pioneering history chronicles American Jewish involvement in the battle against racial injustice in South Africa, and more broadly the long historical encounter between American Jews and apartheid. In the years following World War II and the Holocaust, Jewish leaders across the world stressed the need for unity and shared purpose, and while many American Jews saw the fight against apartheid as a natural extension of their Civil Rights activism, others worried that such critiques would threaten Jewish solidarity and diminish Zionist loyalties.

Even as the immorality of apartheid grew to be universally accepted, American Jews continued to struggle over persistent analogies between South African apartheid and Israel's Occupation. As author Marjorie N. Feld shows, the confrontation with apartheid tested American Jews' commitments to principles of global justice and reflected conflicting definitions of Jewishness itself.

Marjorie N. Feld, Ph. D., is Associate Professor of History and Faculty Director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College in Massachusetts, US. She teaches courses on US labor, gender, and social history. Feld is the author of Lillian Wald: A Biography (2008), which won the Saul Viener Book Prize of the American Jewish Historical Society.

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