From the Editors

, April 6, 2008

Jewish Political Studies Review 20:1-2 (Spring 2008)

This issue opens with an assessment by Steven Bayme of the development of American Jewry’s relationship to Israel. American Jewish leadership helped frame the ongoing special relationship between the United States and Israel, especially since 1967. The main tensions between Israel and American Jewry concern the issues of personal status as well as religious pluralism. Nevertheless, the pro-Israeli consensus has held firm over the sixty years since Israel’s establishment.

Ira Sheskin discusses how many Jews live in the United States, whether their number is increasing or decreasing, and whether more Jews live in Israel or the United States. He concludes that the most probable range of the American Jewish population is 6.0 to 6.4 million. It thus appears that the number of Jews in the United States is still higher than that in Israel even though this is likely to change in the near future.

In an “At Issue” article, Sidney Zabludoff scrutinizes the Palestinian-refugee situation and the matter of lost assets. He concludes that, while the number of Jews who fled Middle Eastern and North African countries was 50 percent larger than that of Palestinian refugees, the differences in individual assets lost were even greater.

Michael Whine analyzes the legislation in a number of European states that criminalizes Holocaust denial. Such laws are based on the premise that denial is used as a tool to rehabilitate Nazism. The legislation has not, however, stopped extremists from continuing to promote Holocaust denial. They are now joined by Iran for which it is a state policy.

Susanne Urban describes how German narratives on the Holocaust and World War II have changed since 1945. Nowadays native Germans tend to focus increasingly on their own fate as Germans and to idolize their society’s behavior during the Holocaust era. The overall situation poses challenges to Holocaust education with which Germany has yet to cope successfully.

Susanna Kokkonen discusses the experience of Jewish displaced persons in postwar Italy from 1945 to 1951. Despite the racial laws of fascist Italy that were implemented in 1938, thousands of foreign Jews were authorized to remain in the country. Within a few months after the end of World War II, some 13,000-15,000 Jewish displaced persons of Polish and Baltic origin arrived in Italy.

Rory Schacter contends that the theoretical basis of Hermann Cohen’s attack on Zionism and nationalism in the name of liberal universalism has remained relevant till today. This is true despite the great changes that the nature of Jewish life, on the one hand, and the conceptions of liberalism, on the other, have undergone since Cohen’s period.

A number of book reviews complete this issue.

The Jerusalem Center

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs is a leading independent research institute specializing in public diplomacy and foreign policy.