Liberal Whispers and Propaganda Fears

The American Jewish Committee and Israel’s Palestinian Minority, 1948–1966

in Israel Studies Review
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  • 1 New York University gpl233@nyu.edu
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abstract

This article examines the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) engagement with Israel regarding the state’s Palestinian-Arab minority. It focuses on the period of military government (1948–1966), when the rights of most Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel were curtailed under military rule. In the mid-1950s, AJC leaders became interested in examining and alleviating the plight of the Arab minority. Rather than publicly confronting Israel, the AJC privately lobbied Israeli officials on the matter and later attempted to educate Israelis about liberalism using ideas more closely associated with its work in America than its human rights advocacy abroad. To understand the AJC’s motives, the article points toward AJC’s domestic civil rights and ‘human relations’ activity, its distinct form of pro-Israel non-Zionism, and its concerns about ‘Arab propaganda’, anti-Semitism, and Jewish-Christian relations in America.

Contributor Notes

geoffrey p. levin is a PhD candidate in Hebrew and Judaic Studies/ History at New York University and is affiliated with the Taub Center for Israel Studies. His dissertation examines Palestinian rights as an issue in Israel-Diaspora relations between 1949 and 1977. A recipient of the Association for Israel Studies’ Kimmerling Prize, he is a 2016–2018 Israel Institute Doctoral Fellow and a recent Feinstein Center for American Jewish History Summer Fellow. He has taught at Rutgers University, and his research has appeared in Israel Affairs, Shofar, and Arab Studies Journal. E-mail: gpl233@nyu.edu

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