Fathom Forum | ‘City on a Hilltop’? Sara Hirschhorn on the clash between liberal values and settler realities

To shamelessly quote from American constitutional history, we may find this truth to be self-evident: there is an emerging nexus between the Trump administration and the Israeli settler movement. Last summer, the Trump campaign opened an office in the Israeli settlement of Karnei Shomron to ‘get out’ the Israeli-American vote for the Trump presidency. Members of the Trump administration have deep ties to the Israeli settler movement, specifically to Beit El, which the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman supports politically and philanthropically. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and special advisor on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, also has deep ties to the settlements. Now these people are in power. Talk of the ‘alleged occupation’ by Ambassador Friedman, as quoted in the press, perhaps portends a shift in the administration’s policy to the settlement question as part of a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But this relationship goes far beyond the Trump administration. Today over 60,000 American Jews live in the occupied territories – they constitute 15 per cent of the Israeli settler movement and about half of the total number of America Jews in Israel on either side of the Green Line. Their story begins across the ocean back in the US of the hippie generation, with the coming together of the dynamics of the Six-Day War and other concurrent trends of ‘the Sixties’ including the civil rights movement.


American Jews living in the occupied territories have often grabbed the headlines for shocking acts of terrorism or as the public relations spokesperson for the Israeli settler camp, but very little is known about why they chose to devote their lives to living at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Six-Day War was a watershed movement for American Jewry as a whole and specifically for the cohort of American Jews who would later migrate to Israel and then move to the occupied territories. As the US neoconservative Norman Podhoretz once said, the 1967 war turned American Jews into Zionists. READ MORE.