How To Kill Liberal American Zionism

How To Kill Liberal American Zionism February 3, 2011

Last May Peter Beinart set off a small firestorm with an article in The New York Review of Books that questioned the future of American Jewish support for Zionism:

Particularly in the younger generations, fewer and fewer American Jewish liberals are Zionists; fewer and fewer American Jewish Zionists are liberal. …For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door, and now, to their horror, they are finding that many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead.

This morning I had two reminders of how the Zionist establishment, both here and in Israel, are abandoning liberalism.  The first came from news of this week’s meeting between Mike Huckabee and Netanyahu, with special guest nutbag, John Voight.

Voight, the sideshow clown, is a notorious “Christian Zionist” and you can do your own search for the many mentions of his mental instability.

Huckabee’s a serious candidate for president whose vision for the region could just about kill any notion of a secular, democratic Israel:

…Huckabee said Tuesday that if Palestinians want an independent state, they should seek it from Arabs – not Israel.

The evangelical minister and Fox News host said Jews should be allowed to settle anywhere throughout the biblical Land of Israel – an area that includes the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

He called the demand on Israel to give up land for peace an “unrealistic, unworkable and unreachable goal.”

It should be obvious that watching these two galavanting around with Bibi will not rouse young liberal Jews to great feelings of love and support for Israel.

The second reminder came when I opened my snail mail and received my invitation to the Miami Friends of the IDF’s gala featuring fundamentalist preacher John Hagee.  I have always been a supporter of the Friends of the IDF.  It’s an apolitical organization that provides USO-style services for kids serving in Israel’s army.

Now, sadly, with this event it has joined the ranks of the illiberal Zionist organizations by getting all lovey-dovey with one of the most intolerant voices in America.  Just because he has a crush on Israel…a crush based on his apocalyptic end times theology.

I’ve spent a significant amount of my career on Zionist education and creating connections between Israelis and Americans.  The Israel that I shared with my students and community is a place of tolerance and openness.  It is the Israel of freedom, justice, peace  and complete equality described in its own Declaration of Independence.

The next time someone in the American Jewish establishment bewails the disappearance of Zionism among young liberal Jews, just recall Huckabee, Voight and Hagee.  For many young Jews today, they are the faces of support for Israel.

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  • Anonymous

    Jews should leave Israel and go back where they came from.

    Judaism does not exist if it is just made up stories.

    Get over it.

  • Anonymous

    Support Israel, and support all those who dwell in the land – Jew or non Jew. Israel has room for everyone – who isn’t a terrorist or part of a terrorist organization. If we lift the political borders, you will see no boundaries, only deserts, mountains, bodies of water and much history carved into the land reflecting the histories of ALL the people who have lived there in the past. Unfortunately, terrorists, such as those living in Gaza and the West Bank, have taken so much innocent life that it is impossible to allow a lifting of the borders with open arms, thus all of the pro and con issues being batted back and forth. If Gaza becomes its own nation-state, any and all actions (aka: terrorist attacks, including lobbing missiles and rockets from Gaza) against Israel will be considered an act of war against Israel. This will then allow Israel to draft a declaration of war against Gaza/Palestine, which will end very, very poorly for their new nation-state. Israel will have the right to take Gaza – legally in such a situation. Then we are back to where we are now with relations and borders. The Gaza residents are better off being terrorist rogues than a nation-state, since apparently the world currently backs their terrorist mindset and actions. As it stands today, the only way to solve the problem of borders and statehood is to remove all of the Gaza residents to other Arab countries. Their lives would improve greatly, they would be with their people, be able to work, move freely between various borders, and partake in a thriving community. They can then apply for Israeli visas if they’d like to visit, or to become an Israeli citizen.