Young American Jews and Israel: Beyond Birthright and BDS

Fall 2017

Source: Israel Studies Volume 22, Number 3 


The article examines the attitudes of young adult American Jews towards Israel and their views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Drawing on the Pew Research Center’s 2013 survey of American Jews, the largest in more than a decade, as well as other empirical data, the article rejects the popular claim that young American Jews are emotionally detached and disconnected from Israel.

Instead, the article argues that they are actually more engaged with Israel than their predecessors were, but that they are also more critical of Israeli government policies and feel more sympathetic towards the Palestinians than older American Jews. A number of reasons for these attitudes towards Israel are put forward, focusing on the political orientation, demographic composition, and formative experiences of this younger cohort of American Jews. In doing so, the article seeks to explain the generational differences between younger and older American Jews when it comes to Israel.

Updated: Jul. 19, 2017