A new study by Oxford University scholar Sara Hirschhorn on the makeup of settlers in the occupied West Bank has revealed what she described as a “strikingly over-represented” number of American settlers. Some 60,000 Americans are settlers, fully 15% of the overall settlement population.
By comparison, only 170,000 American immigrants are living in Israel all told, including the children of immigrants, which means that the overall Israeli-American population of Israel is just about 2%. It is puzzling, then, to find such a huge number of American settlers.
Hirschorn is planning to publish an entire book on the phenomenon of Jewish-American settlers in the occupied territories, with some other surprising demographic facts about them. She noted that a large number of them were politically active American Socialists in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Hirschorn noted that the American settlers tended to use the “values and language of the left to justify projects on the right,” and that many seem convinced they are creating ideologically important “suburbanized utopian communities” in the region.
Her research in the past shows an interest in how Americans shaped the settler movement, and the ideological origins of “occupied suburbia.” The book is expected to come out some time in 2016.