Hasbara Revisited: Israel, the New Left, and Diaspora Jewry, 1967–1973

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Abstract

In the years between 1967 and 1973, the younger generation of Diaspora Jewry in the West was torn between its sympathy for the State of Israel and its identification with New Left politics and ideology. In response, Israel conducted a wide-ranging campaign of Hasbara—the Hebrew word for explaining the justice of the Israeli and Zionist cause—to this cohort in order to gain its support. Until now, scholarship on Israeli hasbara has not given any attention to how Israel grappled with the New Left in general and with its Jewish supporters in particular; similarly, studies of the encounter between Jews and the New Left lack any discussion of the role played by Israeli hasbara. This article connects the two, revealing the unknown history of the relationship between Israel, Diaspora Jewry, and the New Left. But it is of more than mere historical interest, as in the last decade Israel has been deeply concerned about leftists and liberals in the West (who today largely term themselves “progressives”), many of them are young Jews who have allied with pro-Palestinian forces, first and foremost the BDS movement. This article offers a possible model that could be used to mobilize these progressive Jews in support of Israel.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)164-186
Number of pages23
JournalModern Judaism
Volume43
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023

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