Why can't we talk about Israel?

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Recent comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., triggered a firestorm of controversy that Democratic Party leaders are struggling to contain.

Let the pundits argue about whether her statements were anti-Semitic. Instead, we want to focus on why it's so difficult for Americans to talk about Israel. What are the historical cultural contexts that led to this moment? Is there room to question America's relationship with the Jewish state? How does the difference between Zionism and Judaism add nuance to the discussion?

MPR News host Kerri Miller sat down for a thoughtful conversation about the entwining of America and Israel. Her guests were Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker, who is leading his congregation at Mount Zion through a year of wrestling with Israel, and Sherene Seikaly, an associate professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and editor of the Arab Studies Journal.

If you'd like to explore more, our guests recommended the following books and articles:
"Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor," by Yossi Klein Halevi
• "Zionism from the standpoint of its victims," by Edward Said
"Zionism from the standpoint of its Jewish victims," by Ella Shohat
"Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History," by Michel-Rolph Trouillot
"Tale of Love and Darkness," by Amos Oz
"The Case for Israel," by Alan Dershowitz
"A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of The State Of Israel," by Walter Laqueur

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.