cover image We Are Not One: A History of America’s Fight Over Israel

We Are Not One: A History of America’s Fight Over Israel

Eric Alterman. Basic, $35 (512p) ISBN 978-0-465-09631-2

Historian Alterman (Lying in State) delivers a thought-provoking and thorough study of America’s political relationship with the modern state of Israel. Contending that since the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence, U.S. presidential administrations have deferred to the wishes of Israel’s leaders, Alterman explores the reasons for that consistent support, including guilt over America’s failure to save a significant number of Jews from the Holocaust, the rising political influence of Christian evangelicals who believe that saving Israel is a divine mandate, determined efforts by pro-Israel lobbyists and Jewish organizations, and cultural touchstones including the novel and movie Exodus, which popularized a mythic narrative about Israeli independence. He also highlights Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “relentless propaganda campaign” against President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and the growing generational divide within the American Jewish community over support for Israel as “stateless and oppressed” Palestinians increasingly “occupy the underdog role that history had previously assigned to the Jews.” Evenhanded yet incisive, this is an accessible history of a complex geopolitical matter and a persuasive call for more open-minded debate on an issue tearing at the fabric of the American Jewish community. (Nov.)