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The Struggle for Soviet Jewry in American Politics: Israel versus the American Jewish Establishment (Studies in Public Policy) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0739113431 ISBN-10: 0739113437

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Editorial Reviews


Fred Lazin's book covers one of the great humanitarian campaigns of our time. But even beyond the struggle over the fate of Soviet Jewry, it provides wonderful insight into the ways in which humanitarian impulse, public policy, and civic society come together in America. Lazin has provided a valuable account of how the system can work when there is sufficient good will and dedication to do the right thing. (Princeton N. Lyman, Council on Foreign Relations)

Future researchers of the Soviet Jewry movement in America are given much to build on in this exquisitely researched study that touches all bases of this complex subject. Researchers in this area cannot afford to ignore this work. (Henry Feingold, Baruch College, The City University of New York)

This thoughtful, deeply-researched book about the politics that affected the destination of Soviet Jewish émigrés powerfully illuminates key issues characterizing the relationship between governments, organizations, and communities in Israel and the United States. Written by an accomplished scholar at home in both countries, it makes important contributions to our understanding, among other subjects, of immigration, ethnicity, advocacy groups, ideological conflict, and political entrepreneurship. (Ira Katznelson, Columbia University)

This important study focuses on the American Jewish community and the ways it tried to influence U.S. policy on Soviet Jewry, often in conflict with the views of the government of Israel. It makes a significant contribution to understanding the influence of organized groups generally, and provides particularly fascinating material for those interested in the complexities of Jewish politics and communal life in the United States. (Joel D. Aberbach, University of California, Los Angeles)

In this important new study, Fred Lazin lays bare the tensions and contradictions embodied in the 'We Are One' slogan deployed by American Jews to signal solidarity with Israel. Rather than bow to Israel's strong desire to channel all Soviet Jewish refugees its way, American Jewish leaders initially demanded that immigrants select their own destination. When it eventually became clear that the costs of settling so many refugees in the United States would overwhelm local federations, only then did the US Jewish leadership accept a cap on Soviet Jewish immigrants. As Lazin shows, this decisive event marked a kind of declaration of independence of American Jewry, an assertion that its interests, rather than Israel's, would automatically govern community priorities. (Kenneth D. Wald, distinguished professor of political science, University of Florida)

Lazin has written an indispensable study of the U.S. Jewish community's struggle on behalf of Soviet Jewry. . . . Highly recommended. (J. Fischel, Emeritus, Millersville University CHOICE)

Fred A. Lazin has written an interesting and informative account of how both the United States and Israel responded to the issue of Soviet immigrant Jews. It is a detailed book based extraordinary research into the archives… . Lazin has written a rich book, throwing much light on a complex issue. (Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal Of Jewish Studies)

Meticulously documented through access to the extensive archives of the Jewish Agency and through interviews with many of the key players, [Lazin's] case study provides new insights into the growth and political maturity of the American Jewish community. (American Jewish History)

Fred Lazin's well-researched narrative, The Struggle for Soviet Jewry in American politics, is the most comprehensive work to date on this central issue in Israeli-U.S. diaspora relations.... Until 1967, Israelis were far better informed than their American Jewish counterparts about the situation of Soveit Jews. This important point, which is well developed by Lazin, has been overlooked by most historians of Soviet Jewry. Lazin is also very good in his general discussion regarding the 'turf issues' at the core of his book.... An important contribution. It will broaden and deepen our understanding—and appreciation—of a time in which the American Jewish communal agenda, and American Jewry's relationship with the state of Israel, moved in radically new directions. (Jerome A. Chanes, 2008, XXIII Jews and The Sporting Life: Studies In Contemporary Jewry)

About the Author

Fred A. Lazin is the Lynn and Lloyd Hurst Family Professor of Local Government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.

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