On January 8 for the Puffin Cultural Forum, Leader Joe Chuman interviewed author Eric Alterman about his new book, We Are Not One: A History of America’s Fight Over Israel.
Fights about the fate of the state of Israel, and the Zionist movement that gave birth to it, have long been a staple of both Jewish and American political culture. But despite these arguments’ significance to American politics, American Jewish life, and to Israel itself, no one has ever systematically examined their history and explained why they matter.
In We Are Not One, historian Eric Alterman traces this debate from its nineteenth-century origins. Following Israel’s 1948–1949 War of Independence (called the “nakba” or “catastrophe” by Palestinians), few Americans, including few Jews, paid much attention to Israel or the challenges it faced. Following the 1967 Six-Day War, however, almost overnight support for Israel became the primary component of American Jews’ collective identity. Over time, Jewish organizations joined forces with conservative Christians and neoconservative pundits and politicos to wage a tenacious fight to define Israel’s image in the US media, popular culture, Congress, and college campuses. Deeply researched, We Are Not One reveals how our consensus on Israel and Palestine emerged and why, today, it is fracturing.
About Eric Alterman
Former Nation media columnist Eric Alterman is a CUNY distinguished professor of English at Brooklyn College, and the author of 12 books, including We Are Not One: A History of America’s Fight Over Israel, just published by Basic Books.
About the Interview Series & Dr. Chuman
The Puffin Cultural Forum is proud to present our “Puffin Interview Series with Dr. Joe Chuman.” On the first Sunday of every month Dr. Chuman will delve into and explore the work of renowned authors through meaningful dialogue in an intimate interview format. There will be an opportunity for audiences to ask their own questions during a Q&A session. Dr. Chuman recently retired from his post as the leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County after forty-six years. He has taught at Columbia University, Hunter College, and the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica. His works have been published in the New York Times, The Humanist, Free Inquiry, Humanistic Judaism, The Hill and many other periodicals.