Divided…Not Distant

Ted Sasson

Ted Sasson, Senior Research Scientist

A few weeks ago I testified, together with Len, before the Knesset Subcommittee on Israel-Diaspora Relations chaired by Einat Wilf.

Drawing on our recent research, I challenged the notion that American Jews are “distancing” from Israel. I noted that despite the popularity of the “distancing hypothesis” in the public discourse, there is actually little evidence for it. Rather than distanced, I described American Jews as increasingly divided among competing visions of Israel – of what Israel ought to be like, of what threatens Israel, and of how American Jews ought to relate to Israel.  In other words, what many frequently misinterpret as evidence of distancing often reflects an interest in and deep caring for Israel.

Previewing our latest research, I discussed four segments of American Jews’ relationship to Israel: philanthropy, tourism, public opinion, and advocacy. Continue reading