Digital Zionism — Visual & Virtual Solidarity 


This little bit, some of it swiped from the blog, on Israel in the American Jewish gaze got published in Eretz Aheret, a publication put out by the Foreign Ministry of Israel. The piece presents a quick historical sketch about the variety of ways American Jews have looked to and at Israel, and how things change in the Digital Age.  My favorite lines were about constant and streaming information, hyper vigilant attention, rightwing and leftwing know-it-alls, online voyeurism, displaced erotic attachments, “smutty versions of what Neusner called ‘vicarious Judaism,’” and faux politics. You can read the whole thing here (scrolling down to pp.19-21). This was my conclusion about “hasbara” and the political abuse straining American Jewish solidarity and “Jewish peoplehood.”

But what happens to solidarity in the digital age? It’s not automatic, and it’s not generic; it forms in ways not unlike the ways niche markets are formed. Digital media make it easier to sustain inter-group solidarity even as it subjects those connections to strain and stress. Liberal Jews still constitute the great majority of the American Jewish public; from Israel, they want movies, musicians, artists, dancers, writers, and critics…And they want peace. Liberal American Jews tend to shy away from bellicose language. It’s reasonable to assume that they are increasingly losing focus, no longer content to gaze up at or on Israel when what they see is tired and tiring hasbara and unflattering politics that continue to abuse and test the stretching point of the bonds of solidarity

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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1 Response to Digital Zionism — Visual & Virtual Solidarity 

  1. dmf says:

    Allen Ginsberg tries his hand at Market Research, Walter Benjamin goes on the radio and ToE’s Chris drops in on a new bar in DC called the Freedom Cock. Radiotopiaforever!

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