Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Liberalism and Zionism

Early in World War II, George Orwell wrote that pacifism “is only possible to people who have money and guns between them and reality.” Much the same could be said of modern American liberalism, especially Jewish liberalism; that is, if Peter Beinart’s new article in the New York Review of Books, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment” is anything to go by.

Beinart’s missive is the latest in what is swiftly becoming a literary subgenre in its own right, in which liberal Jews express their agonizing moral struggle with Zionism and Israel in deeply emotive and despairing language. This is not, quite frankly, a particularly new genre, as liberally inclined Jews have always had a somewhat awkward relationship with Zionism; whose partisans have, generally speaking, come from either the socialist left or the nationalist right, both of which have found a certain kinship with Zionism’s recognition of the limits and drawbacks of traditional liberalism.

Continue reading at The New Ledger.