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Perceptions of Israel in the American Imagination with Shaul Mitelpunkt

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

Announcement by Bruce Pearson and Jessica Horst


Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 5, the Center for Israel Studies will host author and professor Shaul Mitelpunkt to discuss his latest book, “Israel in the American Mind: The Cultural Politics of US-Israeli Relations 1958-1988." While most books covering political histories tend to focus on the political elite, Dr. Mitelpunkt’s book focuses instead on the roles of other influencers, such as filmmakers and cartoonists, to examine the social mechanisms that defined the perception of Israel in the American imagination during the war-torn years of Israel’s founding. In breaking from the pattern of traditional histories, Mitelpunkt explores the the relationship under a comprehensive cultural, analytical, and ideological lens for both American and Israeli societies.


“Tracing the back-and-forth debates that unfolded between writers, filmmakers, diplomats, professors, cartoonists, and others - both in English and in Hebrew - Mitelpunkt thoughtfully reveals how thinking, dreaming, and arguing about Israel provided a way for intellectuals and policymakers of both nations to talk about citizenship, military service, and democracy in an age of persistent warfare,” writes Brooke L. Blower, author of Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars.


Mitelpunkt examines Israeli propaganda efforts to show how they influenced perceptions of the new nation. This examination reveals reservations some Israelis expressed toward their country’s relationship with the United States and provides a history of relations by contextualizing it within the changing domestic situation of both countries.

“Eschewing more traditional approaches focusing on bilateral diplomacy and geopolitics, Mitelpunkt explores the symbolic roots of the special relationship between the United States and Israel and offers a provocative new explanation for the American love affair with Israel from the age of Eisenhower through the age of Reagan,” writes Douglas Little, author of Us versus Them: The United States, Radical Islam, and the Rise of the Green Threat.


This event is open to the public and free, with RSVP. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event. RSVP:https://tinyurl.com/MitelpunktAU


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