The United States and Israel have both been roiled by major democratic crises in recent years. Many observers attribute these crises to the Trump presidency and the recent plan by the Netanyahu government to undertake a major overhaul of the judiciary. But their roots may well extend back further. Can we learn from the histories of these two countries in understanding the present? Does the story of slavery and anti-Black racism in the U.S., on one hand, and the displacement and occupation of Palestinians, on the other, help explain where we are today?
Tel Aviv-based historian of the United States, Dr. Yael Sternhell, provides compelling responses to these challenging questions. While obvious differences exist between the two societies, she notes that there are also important similarities between them, including the prevalence of supremacist ideologies in both. Drawing on her long-standing interest in human movement, Sternhell reflects on the American and Israeli past, as well as the current crises of democracy in both places. History, she concludes, offers in its own way a measure of hope for the future.
Dr. Yael Sternhell is Associate Professor of History and American Studies at Tel Aviv University, and is a scholar of the American Civil War and the social history of archives. Her first book, Routes of War: The World of Movement in the Confederate South, is an interpretation of the Civil War in the South as an experience of physical mobility and the many different ways through which mobility figured in the social, cultural, and political processes that shaped the war.