Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment

Overview

Widely acclaimed in both the mainstream and Jewish press, Jewish Power by J.J. Goldberg offers an engaging and provocative portrait of the people, institutions, and ideas that make up organized Jewish political influence in the United States. Deftly mixing anecdote and analysis, journalist Goldberg explores the inner dynamics of American Jewish life today and finds a Jewish political system in trouble, uncertain of its future, and out of touch with its presumed constituents. Of interest to anyone concerned with ...

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Overview

Widely acclaimed in both the mainstream and Jewish press, Jewish Power by J.J. Goldberg offers an engaging and provocative portrait of the people, institutions, and ideas that make up organized Jewish political influence in the United States. Deftly mixing anecdote and analysis, journalist Goldberg explores the inner dynamics of American Jewish life today and finds a Jewish political system in trouble, uncertain of its future, and out of touch with its presumed constituents. Of interest to anyone concerned with the future of American politics, Jewish Power is a serious look at American Jewry and a first-rate assessment of the successes and failures of the American Jewish lobby.

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Editorial Reviews

Miami Herald
Goldberg's compelling page-turner, thankfully written without a shred of academic jargon, will doubtlessly be read, argued with and enjoyed by anyone interested in U.S. Jewish life today.
NY Times Book Review
A straightforward, unblinkered account...that can teach even the initiated a thing or two about American Jewish life in the postwar era.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Doomsday predictions that American Jews are on the verge of disappearing via assimilation are fallacious, declares Goldberg, in part because a large minority of Jews are becoming more observant, in part because even weakly affiliated Jews nevertheless still identify with a common cultural heritage and shared destiny. In a trenchant, provocative probe of American Jewish power politics, Goldberg, New York-based contributing editor for the Israeli news magazine Jerusalem Report, challenges conventional wisdom on many fronts. Refuting critiques by Noam Chomsky, Paul Findley, George Ball and others who contend that the clout of the American Jewish lobby created the U.S.-Israel alliance, he argues instead that the forging of this alliance under Nixona Republican president elected with almost no Jewish backingthrust American Jewry's political establishment onto the international stage, linking liberal Jews in an uneasy alliance with mostly gentile Cold Warriors. Rejecting claims of a Jewish shift to the right, Goldberg marshals statistics to demonstrate that American Jews remain overwhelmingly Democratic and liberal, even though neoconservative, Zionist and Orthodox "New Jews" who gained prominence after the 1967 Six-Day War have come to be identified in the popular mind as the leadership of the American Jewish community. Whether he is discussing FDR's response to the fate of European Jewry or contemporary Jews' self-image of vulnerability, Goldberg forces one to rethink individual positions. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Goldberg editor, Builders and Dreamers, Associated Univ., 1993, a contributing editor to Jerusalem Report, provides a revealing glimpse of Jewish organizations, money, and political power in the United States. Goldberg covers such provocative topics as liberalism and American Jews; Jews and the Cold War; how Jews vote; and the rise of the Israel lobby. Most compelling are his discussions of black-Jewish relations, although the focus of his analysis is principally the relationship between New York City's Orthodox and African American communities. Certain to cause comment is the author's contention that the "Who is a Jew?" debate in Israel has its roots in a dispute among Diaspora Jewry in America and that the Israeli Orthodox community was largely indifferent to the issue initially. Recommended for all popular collections.-Mark Weber, Kent State Univ. Lib., Ohio
Kirkus Reviews
This eye-opening examination of the myths and realities of Jewish influence in America is bound to raise hackles in the Jewish community. Some will accuse Goldberg, a contributing editor to the magazine Jerusalem Report and longtime reporter on Jewish affairs, of washing dirty laundry in public by airing internal Jewish power struggles. Others will say the mere title of his book will feed stereotypes of Jewish control over various American institutions. All will exemplify some of the very phenomena Goldberg is writing about, in particular, the persistence of American Jewish insecurity in the face of communal influence out of proportion to Jews' numbers in the population. In his excellent reporting and analysis, and his refusal to accept simplistic bromides, Goldberg reveals the complexities and contradictions of Jewish power in America, which, he argues, is less than many non-Jews fear but greater than many Jews (particularly the unaffiliated) know. Goldberg explodes many of the myths surrounding the Jewish role in the media, in politics, in lobbying for Israel. But perhaps most controversial is his contention that, starting in the late 1960s, the leadership of the organized Jewish community was hijacked by conservatives—a mix of right-wing Orthodox, neoconservative, and radical Zionist individuals—who did not represent the majority of Jews, who remain overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic. This was concomitant with a shift in power to elite leadership groups like the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and away from groups closer to the grassroots. Goldberg also details the behind-the- scenes machinations and battles over the Jewish community's relationshipwith Israel, exemplified by Yitzhak Shamir's success in mobilizing Jewish leadership for Likud's hard-line positions during Israel's so-called "unity" government in the late 1980s. The first honest look at Jewish power in America and at the structure of the organized Jewish community. Anyone with an interest in Jewish affairs will find it unsettling and indispensable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780201327984
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/1997
  • Pages: 446
  • Sales rank: 1,019,476
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

J.J. Goldberg writes for a variety of American and Israeli publications. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, and The Jerusalem Report. He won the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Award for his history of Jewish popular music. He lives in New York City.

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