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The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People

In-Person Event

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On October 27th, 2022, the UCLA Nazarian Center hosted its third Harry C. Sigman Distinguished Lecture in Israel Studies. The engaging lecture was presented by Bard College Professor and Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Russell Mead, who discussed the American–Israeli relationship, how it affects contemporary politics, and how it will influence the future of American life.


About the Book & Talk

In this bold examination of the Israeli-American relationship, Walter Russell Mead demolishes the myths that both pro-Zionists and anti-Zionists have fostered over the years. He makes clear that Zionism has always been a divisive subject in the American Jewish community, and that American Christians have often been the most fervent supporters of a Jewish state, citing examples from the time of J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller to the present day.

He spotlights the almost forgotten story of left-wing support for Zionism, arguing that Eleanor Roosevelt and liberal New Dealers had more influence on President Truman’s Israel policy than the American Jewish community–and that Stalin’s influence was more decisive than Truman’s in Israel’s struggle for independence. Mead shows how Israel’s rise in the Middle East helped kindle both the modern evangelical movement and the Sunbelt coalition that carried Reagan into the White House. Highlighting the real sources of Israel’s support across the American political spectrum, he debunks the legend of the so-called “Israel lobby.” And, he describes the aspects of American culture that make it hostile to anti-Semitism and warns about the danger to that tradition of tolerance as our current culture wars heat up. With original analysis and in lively prose, Mead illuminates the American–Israeli relationship, how it affects contemporary politics, and how it will influence the future of both that relationship and American life. This event is co-sponsored by the UCLA Political Science Department, the UCLA History Department, the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, the UCLA Center for the Study of Religion and Hillel at UCLA.


About the Author


Walter Russell Mead is the Ravenel B. Curry III Distinguished Fellow in Strategy and Statesmanship at Hudson Institute, the Global View Columnist at The Wall Street Journal and the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College in New York. He is also a member of Aspen Institute Italy and board member of Aspenia. Before joining Hudson, Mead was a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations as the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy. He has authored numerous books, including the widely-recognized Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004). Mead’s most recent book is entitled The Arc of A Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People.



 About the Harry C. Sigman Distinguished Lecture in Israel Studies

The lecture series is named for the late Harry C. Sigman, a longtime Los Angeles attorney, UCLA alumnus, and generous supporter of the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. The series was created through a major endowment gift from Mr. Sigman's estate and supports public presentations by leading experts on a range of Israel-related topics, as part of the program of the Nazarian Center.


Sigman specialized in U.S. and international commercial law. He worked as a consultant to governments and NGOs all over the world and had represented the United States at the United Nations, The Hague and Unidroit (the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law) in multilateral commercial law treaty negotiations. He also taught law at the University of Southern California, UCLA and universities around the world, including in Israel.


Sigman earned his undergraduate degree from UCLA and completed his law degree at Harvard University. He was a member of the State Bar of California for more than 50 years.



DISCLAIMER: The views or opinions of our guest speakers and the content of their presentations do not necessarily reflect the views of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Hosting speakers does not constitute an endorsement of the speaker's views or opinions.


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