Quest for Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism in Modern American

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Princeton University Press, Jul 23, 2000 - History - 296 pages
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For over sixty years, Jews have ranked as the most liberal white ethnic group in American politics, figuring prominently in social reform campaigns ranging from the New Deal to the civil rights movement. Today many continue to defy stereotypes that link voting patterns to wealth. What explains this political behavior? Historians have attributed it mainly to religious beliefs, but Marc Dollinger discovered that this explanation fails to account for the entire American Jewish political experience. In this, the first synthetic treatment of Jewish liberalism and U.S. public policy from the 1930s to the mid-1970s, Dollinger identifies the drive for a more tolerant, pluralistic, and egalitarian nation with Jewish desires for inclusion in the larger non-Jewish society.

The politics of acculturation, the process by which Jews championed unpopular social causes to ease their adaptation to American life, established them as the guardians of liberal America. But, according to Dollinger, it also erected barriers to Jewish liberal success. Faced with a conflict between liberal politics and their own acculturation, Jews almost always chose the latter. Few Jewish leaders, for example, condemned the wartime internment of Japanese Americans, and most southern Jews refused to join their northern co-religionists in public civil rights protests. When liberals advocated race-based affirmative action programs and busing to desegregate public schools, most Jews dissented. In chronicling the successes, limits, and failures of Jewish liberalism, Dollinger offers a nuanced yet wide-ranging political history, one intended for liberal activists, conservatives curious about the creation of neo-conservatism, and anyone interested in Jewish communal life.

 

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Contents

An Introduction
3
What Do We Owe to Peter Stuyvesant? The New Deal in the Jewish Community
19
Fighting Hitler Cultural Pluralism and American Jewish Life 19331941
41
The Hope of Democracy and Peace American Jews and the Campaign for Intergroup Dialogue 19331941
61
Unless That War Be Won All Else Is Lost American Jews and the Home Front
77
Planning the Postwar Peace The United Nations Zionism and American Jewish Liberalism
107
The Struggle for Civil Liberties The Cold War AntiCommunism and Jewish Liberal Reform
129
Hamans and Torquemadas Southern and Northern Jewish Responses to the Civil Rights Movement 19451965
164
A Different Kind of Freedom Ride American Jews and the Struggle for Racial Equality 19641975
191
An Epilogue
214
Notes
229
Index
289
Copyright

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Roots Too
Matthew Frye JACOBSON
Limited preview - 2006
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About the author (2000)

Marc Dollinger is Associate Professor of U.S. History at Pasadena City College.

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