A dramatic shift is taking place in Israel and America. In Israel, the deepening occupation of the West Bank is putting Israeli democracy at risk. In the United States, the refusal of major Jewish organisations to defend democracy in the Jewish state is alienating many young liberal Jews from Zionism itself. In the next generation, the liberal Zionist dream - the dream of a state that safeguards the Jewish people and cherishes democratic ideals - may die. In The Crisis of Zionism, Peter Beinart lays out in chilling detail the looming danger to Israeli democracy and the American Jewish establishment's refusal to confront it. And he offers a fascinating, groundbreaking portrait of the two leaders at the centre of the crisis: Barack Obama, America's first Jewish president, a man steeped in the liberalism he learned from his many Jewish friends and mentors in Chicago; and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister who considers liberalism the Jewish people's special curse. These two men embody fundamentally different visions, not just of American and Israeli national interests, but of the mission of the Jewish people itself.
Beinart concludes with provocative proposals for how the relationship between American Jews and Israel must change, and with an eloquent and moving appeal for American Jews to defend the dream of a democratic Jewish state before it is too late.
Peter Beinart is the author of The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris and The Good Fight. A former editor of The New Republic, he is an associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, and the senior political writer for The Daily Beast. He lives with his family in New York City.
The crisis in Israel - The crisis in America - Should American Jews criticize Israel? - Is the occupation Israel's fault? - The Jewish president - The illiberal Zionist - The clash - The humbling - The future.