The thesis of Knowing Too Much is simple: American Jews are distancing themselves from Israel. An ethnic identification, combined with a belief that Israel and the US shared both interests and liberal values, led to a great love-in after 1967 when American Jews fell head over heels for Israel. But as the evidence piles up it is increasingly difficult to reconcile liberal values with continued support for Israel. And, rather than the predominantly liberal values of American Jews buckling, it is support for Israel that is giving way.

What has caused the change, argues Finkelstein, is that there is now too much information out there. The myths of the past and the early academic work in support of Israel’s foundational myths (‘Exodus with footnotes’) has given way to serious scholarship, much of it by critical Israelis. Increasing numbers of American Jews no longer buy Israeli policies, however strong their primal attachment to Israel. And among younger Jews, even that is not as strong as it was. The evidence of this alienation is carefully chronicled by Finkelstein. How to explain it?

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