Defending Israel (and Waiting for a Miracle)

June 1, 2009

Those in the market for conspiracy theories might be pleased by the mainstream media reaction to Peter Beinart’s The Crisis of Zionism. Not only has the book been widely attacked but so too have its author’s motives for writing it. Beinart’s book is essentially a call for American Jews to challenge the professional Jewish establishment that has failed to stand up for the liberal values of the community it professes to represent and acts instead as an apologist for Israel’s rightward, anti-democratic drift toward permanent occupation. With an impressive uniformity of opinion, Beinart’s reviewers have by and large ignored the details of his critique. Jewish liberals, centrists, neocons and far-right chauvinists all apparently agree that Beinart has written the wrong book. Instead of focusing his attention on the shortcomings of Israeli and American Jewish institutions, he should be complaining about Palestinian rejectionism and suicide-bombing (as might be expected of former protégés of Marty Peretz), as it is obviously their behavior, rather than any action that Israel may have been forced to take in self-defense, that lies at the root of the conflict.

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