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How Israel Silenced American Jewish Critics: A Historical Perspective
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By News
Published 2 months ago on
March 4, 2024

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In his new book, “Our Palestine Question,” Emory University scholar Geoffrey Levin reveals the covert interference of the Israeli government in American Jewish politics from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The aim was to suppress Jewish criticism of the 1948 Nakba, the mass displacement and expulsion of Palestinians during Israel’s founding, and Israel’s subsequent oppression of Palestinians.

Israeli Diplomats and American Jewish Politics

Levin’s research uncovers how Israeli diplomats, with the help of individuals like Wolf Blitzer, now a CNN host, orchestrated a clandestine campaign to silence influential American Jewish voices advocating for Palestinian rights. This included the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the largest Jewish organization in the U.S. at the time, which was publicly critiquing the Nakba and pushing for full civil and human rights for Palestinians.

The book also highlights the case of journalist William Zukerman, whose critical reporting on Jewish nationalism and its destructive effects in Israel led to a concerted effort by the Israeli government to discredit him and prevent his work from being published.

Similarly, Don Peretz, an American Jew who wrote the first doctoral dissertation on the post-Nakba Palestinian refugee crisis, was pressured to leave his position at the AJC after the Israeli government expressed disapproval of his work.

Implications and Questions Raised

Levin’s book provides a historical perspective on the current crisis in Gaza and the growing dissent among American Jews against Israeli policy. It also raises questions about the potential impact on the American Jewish community if these critical voices had not been silenced.

Read more at The Intercept.

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