by J.J. Goldberg ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 1996
This eye-opening examination of the myths and realities of Jewish influence in America is bound to raise hackles in the Jewish community. Some will accuse Goldberg, a contributing editor to the magazine Jerusalem Report and longtime reporter on Jewish affairs, of washing dirty laundry in public by airing internal Jewish power struggles. Others will say the mere title of his book will feed stereotypes of Jewish control over various American institutions. All will exemplify some of the very phenomena Goldberg is writing about, in particular, the persistence of American Jewish insecurity in the face of communal influence out of proportion to Jews' numbers in the population. In his excellent reporting and analysis, and his refusal to accept simplistic bromides, Goldberg reveals the complexities and contradictions of Jewish power in America, which, he argues, is less than many non-Jews fear but greater than many Jews (particularly the unaffiliated) know. Goldberg explodes many of the myths surrounding the Jewish role in the media, in politics, in lobbying for Israel. But perhaps most controversial is his contention that, starting in the late 1960s, the leadership of the organized Jewish community was hijacked by conservatives--a mix of fight-wing Orthodox, neoconservative, and radical Zionist individuals--who did not represent the majority of Jews, who remain overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic. This was concomitant with a shift in power to elite leadership groups like the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and away from groups closer to the grassroots. Goldberg also details the behind-the-scenes machinations and battles over the Jewish community's relationship with Israel, exemplified by Yitzhak Shamir's success in mobilizing Jewish leadership for Likud's hard-line positions during Israel's so-called ""unity"" government in the late 1980s. The first honest look at Jewish power in America and at the structure of the organized Jewish community. Anyone with an interest in Jewish affairs will find it unsettling and indispensable.
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996
Page Count: 448
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996
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