Peter Beinhart’s essay in the leftwards, critical of Israel New York Review of Books, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment”, is garnering praise from the usual quarters for asserting based on a seven-year old focus group that younger American Jews are not as committed to, even conscious of, Israel as their elders. Beinhart: “One reason is that the leading institutions of American Jewry have refused to foster—indeed, have actively opposed—a Zionism that challenges Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and toward its own Arab citizens.” The mission: “Saving liberal Zionism in the United States—so that American Jews can help save liberal Zionism in Israel—is the great American Jewish challenge of our age.” Beinhart’s “liberal Zionism” is difficult to distinguish from that of ultra-left Jews who bash Israel or demur to the bashers and apologize for Obama’s dangerous domestic and foreign inanities.
In effect, Beinhart is saying that he wants to export American liberal illusions to Israel, which would increase the support for Israel among liberal Americans, Jewish or other. Beinhart’s cure for the failure of American liberals’ illusions is to enlarge the illusion by blaming its failures on those who live in the real world for not embracing it.
There’s another approach to criticizing much of the American Jewish leadership. They forget when liberalism entailed recognizing the difference between friend and foe, and cling to liberalism’s current inability to be willing to deal with unaffordable largesse and unpersuadable enemies. Most are in schizo crisis between their attachment to the Democrat Party and their own access to the halls of power versus their recognition that it has become an undependable ally of Israel.
Israel is successful, exists, because – aside from a vocal but tiny minority clustered behind Ivory towers – it prospers due to the breakout of entrepreneurs from past socialist dominance over the economy and it endures due to being willing to fight when necessary.
Beinhart is simplistically blind to his and fellows’ priority in being part of the liberal herd, regardless the consequences. Following the Beinharts of American liberalism is to leap with the lemmings.
P.S.: Another critique.
Tracked: May 18, 07:32