A groundbreaking work that overturns the conventional understanding of the Israeli-American relationship and, in doing so, explores how fundamental debates about American identity drive our country’s foreign policy.
In this bold examination of the Israeli-American relationship, Walter Russell Mead demolishes the myths that both pro-Zionists and anti-Zionists have fostered over the years. He makes clear that Zionism has always been a divisive subject in the American Jewish community, and that American Christians have often been the most fervent supporters of a Jewish state, citing examples from the time of J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller to the present day.
He spotlights the almost forgotten story of left-wing support for Zionism, arguing that Eleanor Roosevelt and liberal New Dealers had more influence on President Truman’s Israel policy than the American Jewish community–and that Stalin’s influence was more decisive than Truman’s in Israel’s struggle for independence. Mead shows how Israel’s rise in the Middle East helped kindle both the modern evangelical movement and the Sunbelt coalition that carried Reagan into the White House. Highlighting the real sources of Israel’s support across the American political spectrum, he debunks the legend of the so-called “Israel lobby.” And, he describes the aspects of American culture that make it hostile to anti-Semitism and warns about the danger to that tradition of tolerance as our current culture wars heat up.
With original analysis and in lively prose, Mead illuminates the American-Israeli relationship, how it affects contemporary politics, and how it will influence the future of both that relationship and American life.