Peter Beinart, the former New Republic editor whose strong critique of the American Jewish establishment in a New York Review of Books essay continues to reverberate in the community, says he has been pleasantly surprised by the responses he has received from pro-Israel critics
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.
Walking along the route of the Israel Day Parade yesterday, from 72nd Street down to 59th Street along Fifth Avenue, I was reminded once again, and in dramatic fashion, how the expression of Zionism in American has become increasingly the purview of the Modern Orthodox community.
The crowd appeared to be made up primarily of relatives and friends of the marchers – many of the large contingents were day school children – and other observant Jews.
Before heading to bed last night, I logged onto the New York Review of Books Web site. On the front-page was a powerful article by former New Republic editor Peter Beinart that lambasts American Jewish organizations -- AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents, and so on -- for letting their steadfast support for Israel trump the liberal ethos that informs broader American Jewish identity. I was sure this would cause a storm.