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American Jewry and Israel: Continuity and Change over 75 years

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 5 Kislev 5783

7:00 PM - 8:15 PMCBI Sanctuary

November 29,2022 marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations voting to partition or divide Palestine into two states, with an international regime set up for Jerusalem, and a proposed economic union between the new states. Jews in America and Zionists in Palestine were jubilant; Arabs in the Middle East were livid. The US State Department opposed Truman’s support of partition and then the recognition of Israel in 1948. Over the next 75 years, American State Department hesitancy to oppose Israel evolved into a strategic embrace. It was a slow crawl, in part because the State Department had to wean out anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist sentiment that was part of the American scene in the post WWI world. It took more than thirty years for one Arab state to recognize Jewish sovereignty in Israel. Looking back from Colleyville in January 2022 with the attack on members of the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue, and making a comparison to 75 years ago, violent as the Colleyville attack was, it did not contain the deep and wide-spread anti-Semitic roots that were in Washington and in other parts of American in the post WWI and WWII periods. What changed in America? How did Israel move from being a strategic liability to a strategic asset? How representative was the event Colleyville of much larger brewing anti-Semitism in America? How can or could Israel and American Jews and the American government slow down or stifle anti-Semitic outbursts? Addressing these questions will be Dr. Kenneth W. Stein, Professor Emeritus at Emory University, and the President of the Center for Israel Education ( Ken is an internationally recognized scholar with a four-decade reputation as a superb teacher to college students, and a teacher providing guidance to other educators on learning about Israel and the Middle East. The Center that he leads has more than 50,000 weekly users to its website. Ken will look back over these 75 years reviewing how and why the American and Israel relationship changed, and how American Jews and Israelis see each other differently than they did when the state was established.

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