In recent weeks, the Jewish blogosphere has been in a state of collective shpilkas. Even before the flotilla incident, Jews in America and Israel were hotly debating two essays, Danny Gordis’ “The Storm Ahead” in the Jerusalem Post and Peter Beinart’s “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” in The New York Review of Books.
No humanitarian aid to Shalit, and no story either.
Even before the facts were clear about the battle between Israeli commandos and the pro-Hamas flotilla, we were told by The New York Times website, and dozens of other online media, that Israel was being “condemned.” Indeed it was.
Peter Beinart's essay "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment" in The New York Review of Books argues that most of the mainstream American Jewish organizations have abandoned liberalism on the issues of the Middle East and are responsible for a generation of young Jews who hold no connection to Israel.
I'm fine with any critique of the Jewish establishment from serious Jews and serious journalists, people who deeply love Israel and disagree with its policies. Not acceptable, though, are the assimilationists and anti-Israel -- yes, let's call them that -- leftists who piggy-back on the legitimate Jewish left as a beard to cover their loathing of all things Jewish and Israeli. They are the ones who say they can't attend even the harmless. non-political Salute to Israel Parade or show the flag or even allow Ambassador Oren to speak, because of the mean ol' Israeli government.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Peter Beinart attends an Orthodox synagogue, once edited The New Republic (the closest thing to a smicha for Jewish policy wonks) and backed Sen. Joe Lieberman’s quixotic 2004 bid to become the first Jewish president.
Which is why he’s always been counted among the Washington pundits who defend Israel, Zionism and the right of American Jews to lobby for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.
Beinart also frets about how Jewish his kids will be.
For young American Jews, it’s a long way from ‘Exodus’ to the separation wall.
In 1960, the film “Exodus” was nominated for three Academy Awards. Based on Leon Uris’ novel about the founding of Israel, it seems hard to believe that such a film, drenched in Jewish military heroism and suffused with Holocaust imagery and Arab aggression, could have such broad and unambiguous appeal. But it did. It not only won an Oscar, it also starred a Hollywood icon, Paul Newman, as the heroic Jewish fighter, and even made a commendable showing at Cannes.
But almost a half-century later, a very different film about Israel won an Oscar nomination. “Waltz With Bashir,” (2008) directed by the Israeli Ari Folman, put a spotlight on the massacres at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps during the first Lebanon War.
Peter Beinart warns that alienation from Israel now at a breaking point.
Once upon a time, assimilated Jews would, well, assimilate, leaving Judaism to the Jews. Similarly, Jewish liberals — prizing universalism over parochialism — pretty much left Zionism to the professional Zionists.
One leftist Jewish blogger at a Jewish newspaper wrote, "I will be honest with you: I myself knew little about the specfics of Jerusalem's modern history until this spat," between the U.S. and Israel earlier in the spring, but he'll tell you his opinion anyway. Such is the state of modern Jewish journalism. Knowledge is nothing. Opinion is everything. Step right up, you don't need to know anything to play.