The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel

Overview

When Israel declared its independence in 1948, Harry Truman issued a memo recognizing the Israeli government within eleven minutes. Today, the U.S. and Israel continue on as partners in an at times controversial alliance—an alliance, many argue, that is powerfully influenced by the Christian Right. In The Fervent Embrace, Caitlin Carenen chronicles the American Christian relationship with Israel, tracing first mainline Protestant and then evangelical support for Zionism.

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The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel

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Overview

When Israel declared its independence in 1948, Harry Truman issued a memo recognizing the Israeli government within eleven minutes. Today, the U.S. and Israel continue on as partners in an at times controversial alliance—an alliance, many argue, that is powerfully influenced by the Christian Right. In The Fervent Embrace, Caitlin Carenen chronicles the American Christian relationship with Israel, tracing first mainline Protestant and then evangelical support for Zionism.

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, American liberal Protestants argued that America had a moral humanitarian duty to support Israel. Christian anti-Semitism had helped bring about the Holocaust, they declared, and so Christians must help make amends. Moreover, a stable and democratic Israel would no doubt make the Middle East a safer place for future American interests. Carenen argues that it was this mainline Protestant position that laid the foundation for the current evangelical Protestant support for Israel, which is based primarily on theological grounds.

Drawing on previously unexplored archival material from the Central Zionist Archives in Israel, this volume tells the full story of the American Christian-Israel relationship, bringing the various “players”—American liberal Protestants, American Evangelicals, American Jews, and Israelis—together into one historical narrative.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Fervent Embrace is the product of remarkable research and shows a commendable mastery and balance. A welcome contribution." -Stephen Spector,Stony Brook University

"Deeply researched, insightful, and sharply focused, The Fervent Embrace appears at a time when foreign/international relations history is waking up to the crucial importance of religion in shaping policy. Carenen’s cutting-edge, discerning analysis will prove valuable to scholars and students of foreign relations history, domestic politics, and religious studies."-Frank Castigliola,University of Connecticut

"Highly recommended [for] all academic levels/libraries."-CHOICE,

"The Fervent Embrace takes a broad approach that sweeps up not simply evangelicals but also, most intriguingly, the mainline church...The Fervent Embrace is to be commended as thorough and evenhanded."-Christianity Today,

"Carenen's book is particularly welcome as a call for seeing more complexity in the history of American Protestants' views of Zionism."-H-Net Reviews,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814741047
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 3/26/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Caitlin Carenen is Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Connecticut State University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

List of Abbreviations

1 American Protestants and Jewish Persecution, 1933–1937

2 American Protestants Respond to Zionism and the Jewish

Genocide in Europe, 1938–1948

Case Study 1.

The Myth of Christian Intervention, Christian Guilt,

and the Martin Niemöller Controversy

3 The Challenges of Statehood, 1948–1953

4 Political and Theological Dissent, 1953–1967

Case Study 2.

“Of course, down in Virginia, you do have to

worry about Southern Baptists”: Samuel Newman,

American Protestants, and Post–World War II

Jewish-Christian Dialogue

5 The Tide Turns, 1967–1973

Case Study 3.

The Individual and the U.S.–Israeli Alliance:

Ursula Niebuhr, the Jerusalem Committee, and

Christians Concerned for Israel

viii | Contents

6 A New U.S.–Israeli Alliance, 1973–1979

7 The Political and Religious Landscape Shifts, 1980–2008

Notes

Selected Bibliography

Index

About the Author

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