1948 and the Bounding of Thought: Zionist Discourse, The New Historians, and American Jewish Public Intellectuals, 1950-2020
1 online resource (164 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The following thesis analyzes American Jewish public intellectuals and their use of the Zionist narrative, the New Historian scholarship, or a mixture of the two in their writing. The political leanings of the public intellectuals, authors, scholars, and journalists, are analyzed through the period, and compared and correlated with public opinion polling and foreign policy legislation (primarily in the form of US aid to Israel). The thesis follows the development of the Zionist narrative in the first several decades as the dominant narrative in the discourse on Israel/Palestine, particularly after 1967. It then details the entrance of the watershed scholarship of the New Historians, and the subsequent challenge to the Zionist narrative and simultaneous validation of dissenting opinions. The thesis then analyzes American Jewish public intellectuals use of the Zionist or New Historian narratives in the twenty first century in which a central model for moderate authors appeared with the potential to shift the window of debate. The thesis argues that the Zionist narrative enjoyed a singular dominant position in the early decades, while the New Historian scholarship effectively challenged the Zionist narrative since the mid-1980s publication of the first two New Historian monographs. The Zionist narrative still remained, though less dominant, and while the New Historian scholarship challenged the Zionist narrative, the New Historian scholarship did not make any measurable change to public opinion or foreign policy, until the past decade. In the past decade, the New Historian narrative played a role in significant public opinion shifts in key demographics.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2022.
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