Almost two years ago, Peter Beinart wrote an article in New York Review of Books that sent shock waves through the Jewish community. He argued that liberalism was losing out in Israel to a far-right, anti-democratic, and even racist form of Zionism largely rooted in an ultra-Orthodox interpretation of Judaism. Worse still, the organizations of the American Jewish establishment were too reflexively supporting the policies of the Israeli government, and failing to criticize its illiberal behavior. Consequently, young American Jews perceive that there is a conflict between their own liberal values and Israel’s policies, and they are withdrawing their support from Israel and the American Jewish organization that support the Zionist cause.
Beinart has elucidated these ideas in a book, “The Crisis of Zionism,” that’s slated to go on sale in late March. Yet, at least two fawning assessments have already appeared. Jacob Heilbrunn, a senior editor with the National Interest, has a lengthy review essay in the March/April issue of that journal. Roger Cohen devoted one of his New York Times columns to the book. You can expect that the publication of Beinart’s book will spawn many more articles that viciously attack Israel.