“Jewish Women’s Leadership In the Anti-Apartheid Movement,” chapter in American Jews and the Struggle Over Apartheid


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American Jews and the Struggle Over Apartheid chronicles American Jewish involvement in a transnational movement to end the system of racial injustice in South Africa. It explores the complex relationships among Jews’ diasporic identity, the contested legacies of the Nazi Holocaust, and Jewish commitments to the principles of liberation. “Jewish Women’s Leadership in the Anti-Apartheid Movement” studies the individual experiences of four white American women who fought apartheid from the 1950s through the 1990s. It highlights the compelling intersections of their work for South Africa, especially the ways in which they explicitly linked their Jewish family histories with political activism, the personal with the political. Combining feminist critiques of the American Jewish establishment and the anti-apartheid movement—seeing both as male-dominated, often “macho”-driven—these women chose to stand outside of the organized Jewish world and yet saw their activism as intricately bound up in their Jewish identities. This chapter offers a pioneering analysis of this central tension as it places these women in the history of a global movement for human rights.

Academic Division

History and Society


American Studies | History of Gender | United States History

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