Nations Divided: American Jews and the Struggle over by Marjorie N. Feld (auth.)

By Marjorie N. Feld (auth.)

A pioneering learn of yankee Jewish involvement within the struggle opposed to racial injustice in South Africa.

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Extra info for Nations Divided: American Jews and the Struggle over Apartheid

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53 Tensions in the Black/Jewish labor alliance related to African Americans’ frustration with white and Jewish paternalism and condescension, and a broader frustration with liberalism as a strategy for liberation. Indeed, the JLC worked with the ICFTU and cosponsored the Emergency Action Conference with the NAACP despite the heavy weight of a conflict earlier that year. 54 Of the earliest years of the American Jewish labor movement, Tony Michels writes that: From the start the Jewish labor movement—and the broader Yiddish culture it fostered—contained its own tensions and conflicts.

14 In the wake of the war, many mainstream American Jews reconfigured their theological and political commitments. Increasingly, they expressed their Jewishness through religious observance and support of Israel while dismissing those who linked the prophetic tradition in Judaism to social justice, antiwar, Civil Rights, and anticolonial campaigns. Liberal and left American Jews who continued to embrace these campaigns as Jews faced accusations: they were traitors to the Jewish community, consumed by selfhatred, harbored communist sympathies, and were unconcerned with the future of the Jewish people.

Editors of left and liberal Jewish journals dedicated a shrinking amount of space to anticolonialist campaigns; left and liberal Zionist organizations of American Jewish life reconfigured their priorities, placing support of Israel over other commitments, such as Black African liberation and South African apartheid. ”20 Although scholars have studied these trends, they have not considered American Jews who rejected this choice altogether. These Jews held fast to their commitments to liberation campaigns, allying with the growing Third World movement and strongly criticizing Israeli policies and Zionism—or rejecting them outright.

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