Tomorrow, political journalist Peter Beinart will be spending the day at Skidmore as part of the Jacob Perlow Lecture Serie. Beinart has written extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and his book, The Crisis of Zionism, has garnered praise and controversy from across the political spectrum. He was formerly the editor of The New Republic and has written for a wide range of publications. He currently writes for The Daily Beast, where he edits the blog “Open Zion.”
Beinart’s most recent book The Crisis of Zionism, has its origins in a highly polarizing 2010 article published in The New York Review of Books, titled “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.” Beinart argues that liberal American Jews—long-committed to principles of democracy, human rights, social justice, and the avoidance of military force—are moving further and further away from Israel in the face of an increasingly virulent, undemocratic strain of Zionism championed by the ultra-Orthodox, the settler movement, and their political allies.
He argues that there is a growing divide between older, secular Jews—those willing to “check their liberalism at Zionism’s door”–and their children, who:
“…have no memory of Arab armies massed on Israel’s border and of Israel surviving in part thanks to urgent military assistance from the United States. Instead, they have grown up viewing Israel as a regional hegemon and an occupying power. As a result, they are more conscious than their parents of the degree to which Israeli behavior violates liberal ideals, and less willing to grant Israel an exemption because its survival seems in peril. Because they have inherited their parents’ liberalism, they cannot embrace their uncritical Zionism. Because their liberalism is real, they can see that the liberalism of the American Jewish establishment is fake.”
Beinart will be speaking at two events. The first will be an afternoon student panel focusing on the state of political journalism in America. The second lecture will take place in the evening, where Beinart will be interviewed by Professors Robert Boyers and Jennifer Delton about Israel, Palestine, and the future of Zionism.
Incidentally, I will be sitting on the student panel, along with Jean-Ann Kubler ’13 and Tye Stien ’13. But don’t let my shameless self-promotion dissuade you from going, because Beinart is going to be GREAT.
Student Panel: Thursday November 8, 3:30pm @ Ladd 307
Lecture: Thursday November 8, 8pm @ Gannett