Is history about to repeat itself? President Obama’s first three years in office saw some serious tussling with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the peace process and settlements.
What do hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Zionist critic Peter Beinart and Dr. Ruth have in common?
When President Bill Clinton chose in January 2001 to unveil his Clinton Parameters for Arab-Israel peacemaking, he chose an Israel Policy Forum gala to do it. Four years later, then-Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sought the same audience to announce then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s willingness to negotiate with the Palestinians.
David Suissa wants us to believe that settlements aren’t an obstacle to peace because their physical “footprint,” their built-up area, represents “only” around 1% of the West Bank.
One of the more brazen initiatives in the Jewish world today is Peter Beinart’s call, in his book “The Crisis of Zionism,” to boycott anything produced in the Jewish settlements of Judea and Samaria (commonly known as the West Bank). In his view, the settlements must be stopped because they are encroaching on a future Palestinian state that is necessary for the survival of a Jewish and democratic Israel.
Journal president and columnist David Suissa debates Peter Beinart, author of the controversial book, “The Crisis of Zionism,” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Temple Israel of Hollywood’s Rabbi John Rosove moderates the discussion on the lack of progress in peace talks — Beinart acknowledges acts of violence on the Palestinians’ part but faults Israeli policies; Suissa ascribes blame to the Palestinian Authority’s use of incitement against Jews. Wed. 7 p.m. Free. Temple Israel of Hollywood, 7300 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 876-8330. tioh.org
Peter Beinart has had some harsh words for the Jewish establishment. In 2010, he shook up the communal debate over Israel with his essay “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.”
Power corrupts. But so too does powerlessness. The narrative of powerlessness, of perpetual helpless victimhood, corrupts moral vision. In his cover story, Rabbi Wolpe does a masterful job of diffusing the political arguments of Peter Beinart’s book, The Crisis of Zionism. But he does not address the fundamental and disconcerting questions at the heart of Beinart’s concern: How has the narrative of victimhood warped contemporary Zionism and American Jewish identity? How has it distorted our collective discourse? What new narratives are made possible by sovereignty in Israel and political power in the US? And what shall we do with all our power? Like the Wicked Son of the Haggadah, Beinart is castigated, but his question goes unanswered.
In the last two years, the ideas of Jewish journalist Peter Beinart have been at the center of the conversation over how American Jews should relate to Israel today.
The first Israeli government official ever to appear before J Street received a rousing, whistling, foot-stomping reception. And that was it, as far as the welcome went.
Peter Beinart’s new book showcases its deepest flaw on the very first page, courtesy of his grandmother. From her home in South Africa, she says to her American grandson who is boasting about his country, “Don’t get too attached. The Jews are like rats. We leave the sinking ship.”
Far from charting a path toward peace for Israelis and Palestinians, Peter Beinart’s advice, “boycott the settlements to save Israel,” would make peace far less likely.
Should Jews shun other Jews? And should they shun Jews who call on Jews to shun other Jews? Peter Beinart’s call in Monday’s New York Times for a boycott of goods manufactured in West Bank settlements reignited a debate not just about what works and doesn’t when it comes to advancing a two-state solution, but also about what should and should not be said during the debate.
Sometimes you get lucky. I've spent the last year writing a new book, The Crisis of Zionism. It tells the story of how a young Barack Obama fell in love with the Jewish social justice tradition, only to discover the deep chasm between that tradition and the American Jewish Establishment when it comes to Israel.
Announcing his new book in a hucksterish email to J street members, Peter Beinart details the truths vouchsafed to him and his fellow enlightened acolytes. A brief sampler:
Our Annual (well, from now on) Top Jew of the Year list features Jews who embody the best in Jewish values. And you don't have to be Jewish to win: see our "Honorary Jew of the Year."
Kicked around by the Right and disdained by the Left, Liberal Zionists are having their comeback moment.