Books & Testimonials

Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel

Trouble in the Tribe explores the increasingly contentious place of Israel in the American Jewish community. In a fundamental shift, growing numbers of American Jews have become less willing to unquestioningly support Israel and more willing to publicly criticize its government. More than ever before, American Jews are arguing about Israeli policies, and many, especially younger ones, are becoming uncomfortable with Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Dov Waxman argues that Israel is fast becoming a source of disunity for American Jewry, and that a new era of American Jewish conflict over Israel is replacing the old era of solidarity. Drawing on a wealth of in-depth interviews with American Jewish leaders and activists, Waxman shows why Israel has become such a divisive issue among American Jews. He delves into the American Jewish debate about Israel, examining the impact that the conflict over Israel is having on Jewish communities, national Jewish organizations, and on the pro-Israel lobby. Waxman sets this conflict in the context of broader cultural, political, institutional, and demographic changes happening in the American Jewish community. He offers a nuanced and balanced account of how this conflict over Israel has developed and what it means for the future of American Jewish politics. Israel used to bring American Jews together. Now it is driving them apart. Trouble in the Tribe explains why.


"Dov Waxman could hardly have picked a more contentious topic for investigation than the troubled relationship between (and among) American Jews and Israel. But with Trouble in the Tribe, he brings to bear a rare combination of calm, reasoned analysis with scrupulous scholarly research. American Jewish arguments about Israel will certainly continue, but if Waxman's contribution to it gets the attention it deserves, they should be based far more on complex reality than simplistic fantasy. And we will all be better for it." – Eric Alterman, columnist for the Nation

"Good books, Orwell once wrote, set your scattered thoughts in order--in a way, tell you what you already know. Dov Waxman's Trouble in the Tribe lays it out: the attitudes, the clashes, the numbers, the future. For a generation, American Jewish solidarity regarding Israel was indistinguishable from the élan of community life. Waxman shows how, and why, this can change, even how Israel has become polarizing for congregational life. A grim, real, necessary book." – Bernard Avishai, Dartmouth College and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

"This is an extremely important book that will have profound consequences. When puzzled friends ask me why the American Jewish community is now so divided over Israel, this is the book I will recommend." – Kenneth D. Wald, coauthor of Religion and Politics in the United States

"Trouble in the Tribe is an outstanding book. Waxman's judgments are fair, judicious, and balanced." – Theodore Sasson, author of The New American Zionism

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Israel's Palestinians: The Conflict Within

Israel's Palestinians- The Conflict Within Arguing that a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict depends on a resolution of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict within Israel as much as it does on resolving the conflict between Israel and Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, this timely book explores the causes and consequences of the growing conflict between Israel's Jewish majority and its Palestinian-Arab minority. It warns that if Jewish-Arab relations in Israel continue to deteriorate, this will pose a serious threat to the stability of Israel, to the quality of Israeli democracy, and to the potential for peace in the Middle East. The book examines the views and attitudes of both the Palestinian minority and the Jewish majority, as well as the Israeli state's historic approach to its Arab citizens. Drawing upon the experience of other states with national minorities, the authors put forward specific proposals for safeguarding and enhancing the rights of the Palestinian minority while maintaining the country's Jewish identity. 1. Most up-to-date study of Arab-Jewish relations in Israel. 2. Presents Arab-Jewish relations in Israel within the context of the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 3. Provides in-depth analysis of the views and attitudes of both communities - the Arab minority and the Jewish majority.


“Mr. Peleg and Mr. Waxman...provide the socioeconomic evidence to show just how badly the Palestinians fare compared with Jewish Israelis... To continue along present lines, the two authors conclude, would be to invite a collision. So they have come up with a set of proposals that they describe as a compromise between doing nothing (or tinkering with cosmetic change) and the binational state that many Palestinians, inside and outside Israel, advocate... They suggest policies that would enhance both the collective and individual rights of the country’s hefty minority, arguing that Israel’s Palestinians should not only be recognised as a fully fledged national group, but should exercise autonomy in certain cultural areas...And their overall economic conditions should be improved through long-term development plans and fairer financial allocations to Arab municipalities.” – The Economist

“This is a superb overview of an understudied dilemma. Even those familiar with the issues will learn much that is new from this thorough and dispassionate analysis. Peleg and Waxman look at both the Palestinian and Israeli Jewish sides of the question fairly and impartially. The comparative dimension is also a great strength, adding needed depth and perspective. For both scholars and general readers looking for an up-to-date, reliable guide to the current situation of Palestinians in Israel, this is the book of choice.” – Alan Dowty, University of Notre Dame, past president of the Association for Israel Studies

“Israel’s Palestinian problem stretches beyond the Occupied Territories, Peleg and Waxman argue in this outstanding work. It includes Palestinians in Israel – citizens who have drifted ever farther away from active citizenship in recent years, as they have faced unending discrimination and been absorbed into the larger Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The authors maintain that the only way to reverse the downward spiral in the relations between Jewish and Arab citizens is to accede to Arab demands for Israel to be reorganized as a state of all its citizens. But, the authors convincingly claim, a state with ‘equality now’ can still continue to serve as the Jewish homeland.” – Joel Migdal, University of Washington

“This book is the most authoritative study to date on the increasingly crucial question of Israel’s Arab minority. The work represents a focused analysis of recent political and socio-economic changes, supported by a wealth of documentary evidence. It will undoubtedly serve all scholars and students seeking deeper insight into this timely topic.” – Professor Elie Rekhess, Northwestern University

“Some Israelis say their country has the choice of being a Jewish state or a state of its citizens. Peleg and Waxman’s comprehensive, earnest book shows this is not true, that Israel must be the latter and can be, with intelligent reforms, the former. This is not a challenge for after a peace process succeeds. For what, the book shows, is democracy but a peace process without end?” – Bernard Avishai, author of The Hebrew Republic

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The Pursuit of Peace: Defending/Defining the Nation

The Pursuit of Peace and the Crisis of Israel Identity- Defending/Defining the Nation offers a theoretically-informed analysis of the way in which Israeli national identity has shaped Israel's foreign policy. By linking domestic identity politics to Israeli foreign policy, it reveals how a crisis of Israeli identity inflamed the debate in Israel over the Oslo peace process.


"Rejecting standard 'realist' accounts of foreign policy, which center almost exclusively on a state's 'national interests' and security concerns, The Pursuit of Peace and the Crisis of Israeli Identity argues that national identity is at the heart of Israel's policies regarding the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Foreign policy, in Dov Waxman's view, is less the product of a small number of high officials conferring in smoke-filled rooms, than a broader set of struggles in society over the definition of national identity. This must-read book argues persuasively that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict demands first that Israelis solve their own roiling conflict over national identity." - Alan Dowty, Kahanoff Professor in Israel Studies, University of Calgary, and President, Association for Israel Studies

"Waxman's engrossing account of Israel's foreign policy as a site of conflict over collective identity in analytical and historical perspective is not only a must read for everyone interested in a deep perspective of Israel's passionate search for meaningful national existence, but also a milestone in the development of a 'constructivist' school of Israel Studies." - Joel Migdal, Robert F. Philip Professor of International Studies, University of Washington

"This is a masterful study; seldom if ever have the internal and external dimensions of Israeli politics been tied together so persuasively. Waxman goes to the roots of the Jewish dilemma - which is also the Zionist dilemma - between the pull of universalism and the claims of particularity. But this is not a work mired in abstractions; rather, it traces this dilemma in Zionist and Israeli history with an extraordinary precision and command of events. The analysis of the Oslo peace process, in particular, explains its ultimate collapse with a depth of understanding that few other analyses have approached. This is a book that will be of value to readers on all levels, from the uninitiated to the expert. It should be on everyone's short list of books on Israel." - Emanuel Adler, Andrea and Charles Bronfman Professor of Israeli Studies, University of Toronto

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