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Session Submission Type: Panel Session
This panel examines the relationship between Diaspora Jewry and Israel/Palestine across the twentieth century. Building on recent scholarship that has demonstrated the seminal impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Jewish-Muslim relations in places such as France, our panel aims to show that this relationship was in fact bi-directional. It will consider the ways in which Zionist leaders during the British Mandate viewed the development of relationships with both Jews and non-Jews across the British Empire to be a critical component of securing Jewish political futures in Palestine, and will explore the encounters of American and Brazilian Jews with Israeli peace activists and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officials in the 1970s.
Elizabeth Imber will discuss how Zionist leaders from Palestine, South Africa, and Britain worked to build strategic trans-imperial ties with Muslim and Hindu Indians and how they understood their own political movement to be part of a broader, empire-wide dynamic. Geoffrey Levin will show how the American Jewish pro-peace group Breira, through its embrace of Israeli peace activists Mattiyahu Peled and Uri Avnery and engagement with the PLO, fit into a broader Middle East peace initiative in the mid-1970s. Finally, Michael Rom will assess the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Arab-Jewish relations in Brazil, through an examination of the responses of Brazilian Arabs and Jews to the PLO’s attempt to open a diplomatic office in Brazil in 1979, and the influence of these responses upon Israeli and Palestinian diplomacy in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America.
Through a broad geographic and temporal focus, this panel will discuss the contributions of Diaspora Jews to the debate on Jewish and Arab political rights in Israel/Palestine from the British Mandate to the 1970s. It will also shed light on the ways in which Diaspora Jews’ relations with Arab, Muslim, and Hindu minorities in places as disparate as Brazil, India, South Africa, and the United States shaped Jewish-Arab encounters in Israel/Palestine. By exploring understudied Jewish communities and overlooked political encounters, this panel will contribute to a deeper understanding of the transnational relationship between Diaspora Jews and Israel/Palestine throughout the twentieth century and beyond.
Thinking Through Empire: Zionists, British Imperial Networks, and the Future of the Jewish National Home - Elizabeth E. Imber, The College of Idaho
Embracing the Israeli Alternative: Matti Peled, Breira, and the Emerging Two-State Idea - Geoffrey Phillip Levin, New York University
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Arab-Jewish Relations in Brazil - Michael Rom, Yale University