(Photoillustration: Tablet Magazine; Israeli flag: iStockphoto; U.S. flag: Wikimedia)

The Jewish people and the Founding Fathers of the United States have at least one thing in common: the belief that they were chosen by God. But chosen for what, exactly? That is a question that has vexed Jews, Americans, and everyone else for ages. Tablet Magazine’s Liel Liebovitz and sociologist Todd Gitlin have come up with an answer, and, in their new book, The Chosen Peoples: America, Israel, and the Ordeals of Divine Election, they delve into the moral implications of being chosen, both in the American context and the Jewish one. They joined Sara Ivry on Vox Tablet to talk about the origins and tenacity of the idea of chosenness, how it affects contemporary politics, and how to make good on a concept that has not always served either people well.