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The Crisis of Zionism Hardcover – Mar 27 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books (March 27 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805094121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805094121
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.7 x 24.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #254,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"An important new book that rejects the manipulation of Jewish victimhood in the name of Israel’s domination of the Palestinians…. Important and timely for the future of Israel."—Roger Cohen, The New York Times

"Passionately argued."— David Remnick, The New Yorker

"Mr. Beinart has a book … called The Crisis of Zionism. Chapter five, on ‘The Jewish President,’ fully justifies the cover price."—Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal

"A terrifyingly frank account of our current state of affairs."—Andrew Sullivan

"Mr. Beinart thinks America’s Jews must redeem both themselves and Israel by rededicating themselves to Israel’s ethical character. . . . The sentiment is noble, and the message deserves to be heard."--The Economist 

"An impressive achievement." – Alan Wolfe, The Chronicle of Higher Education

"[A] probing, courageous and timely book… [It] marks a significant evolution in the debate over Israel."—The National Interest

"A passionately argued work that will evoke intense debate."—Booklist

"An elegant, deeply honest look at the failure of Jewish liberalism in forging Israel as a democratic state… Straight talk by a clear-thinking intellectual with his heart in the right place."—Kirkus Reviews

"Peter Beinart has written a deeply important book for anyone who cares about Israel, its security, its democracy, and its prospects for a just and lasting peace. Beinart explains the roots of the current political and religious debates within Israel, raises the tough questions that can’t be avoided, and offers a new way forward to achieve Zionism’s founding ideals, both in Israel and among the diaspora Jews in the United States and elsewhere."--President Bill Clinton

"Peter Beinart has written the outstanding Zionist statement for the twenty-first century. The Crisis of Zionism is a courageously scathing critique of the sorry state of Zionism today and a clarion call to reaffirm the linkage of liberal values, Jewish commitment, and democratic practice that made the creation of the state of Israel possible and is the key to its moral and physical survival."--Naomi Chazan, former deputy speaker of the Knesset and president of the New Israel Fund

"Progress in the United States has most often occurred when patriotic Americans have insisted on facing our failures head on and holding us to our founding ideals. In that spirit, Peter Beinart has written a brave and important book about Zionism today. Anyone who loves Israel and wishes to see it survive must read this book."--Anne-Marie Slaughter, Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs, and former dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

"The Crisis of Zionism is a must read for everyone who cares about the future of Israel. Peter Beinart makes a strong case for a vision of Zionism that encompasses ending the occupation of the West Bank and deepening Jewish education in America. Even if you disagree with him, you should still read this book."--Edgar M. Bronfman, president of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation

"If you are concerned about Israel’s future, you should read this book. It will inform, provoke, and challenge you, as the author, with clarity and grace, lays out the looming dangers to Israeli democracy and appeals for a Jewish state that is both democratic and just to all, including its Arab minority."-- Lee H. Hamilton, former Congressman and Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission

About the Author

Peter Beinart is the author of The Icarus Syndrome and The Good Fight. A former editor of The New Republic, he is a senior political writer for The Daily Beast and the editor-in-chief of Open Zion, a blog about Israel and the Jewish future at thedailybeast.com. He is an associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York and a senior fellow at The New America Foundation. He lives with his family in New York City.

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Amazon.com: 73 reviews
163 of 199 people found the following review helpful
A book for people who care about Israel March 27 2012
By MJ Rosenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Two kinds of people will hate this book. The first is the political right which supports the occupation and believes it can be sustained forever.
The other is people who despise the very idea of Israel.
Peter Beinart is a Zionist. He opposes the occupation primarily (although not exclusively) because he believes it is destroying Israel. If there is one message that comes through in this book (I read a review copy)it is that Beinart wants the Israel he grew up on (one that he understands was far from perfect) to be there for his children.
He thinks that the continued occupation will ultimately either destroy Israel's soul or even its physical existence.
Those fears clearly drove him to write this book.
Reading it, I kept thinking of my father-in-law who survived the Holocaust and how much he worried that Israel's leaders would let it be destroyed.
He used to say, "These Jews from Poland and Russia figured out how to create a Jewish country from nothing. What did they know? But sitting in Warsaw and Lodz, they figured out how you create ministries and embassies and a whole government. They figured out how to build an army. But I'm afraid that their children aren't so smart. They take it for granted. They will lose it all unless they get smart."
That is what Beinart thinks too. An old Jewish soul in a young American man.
This book can change history. That is why it is creating such a ruckus. The noise you hear are the moans of those who are devoted to the status quo and worry that Beinart is challenging it.
It's a great book and a pleasure to read.
Not to sound too much like the late 1960's person I am, Beinart's plea reminds me of the quote Bobby Kennedy always invoked. I think it's Tennyson.

"Some people see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask "why not."

That is what Beinart is doing.

MJ Rosenberg
56 of 72 people found the following review helpful
A shallow book May 18 2012
By S. Spilka - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Beinart knows a lot about Zionism in America.
He knows little about Israel and Israelis.
I don't oppose his argument that the settlements should be reigned in. Nor do I argue with his portrayal of Bibi.
What I protest is his unfamiliarity with Israelis' DNA.
The review of his book in the NYRB added much needed details of the cruelty of the occupation. For example: "In mid-January the civil administration sent its bulldozers...to demolish the ramshackle hut of Halima Ahmad al-Hadhalin, a Palestinian widow with nine orphaned children living in the deeply impoverished site of Umm al-Kheir, adjacent to the large and constantly expanding settlement of Carmel in the south Hebron hills. The bureaucrats claimed that the shack was built without a permit, which is no doubt true; Palestinians living in the West Bank 'Area C,' i.e., under full Israeli control, only very rarely receive a permit to build from the committee, largely composed of settlers, that oversees such requests."
Such stories are totally lacking in Beinart's book. How can anyone write about "The Crisis of Zionism" without writing about Israel? I just don't understand that.
If he knew anything about Israel, Beinart would have known that, as NYRB states, "[buried] somewhere inside all this is a bad Israeli conscience about the treatment of Palestinians since 1948--a conscience repressed but still somehow alive..." This is one of the most prescient comments about Israelis. They used to talk (in cafes, around the dinner table, in lectures) about the political situation--non-stop. That was the conversation of the day, punctuated by hourly news announcements that could be heard even on buses. They don't talk so much about politics these days--at least not in Tel Aviv. Confusion and apathy have taken over, perhaps despair. Furthermore, Israelis are not very introspective; they rarely talk about feelings. My hunch (perhaps no more than a hunch) is that they fear that introspection might lead them to what they cannot talk about, or even admit to themselves, the evils of the occupation. I suspect that Israelis fear that introspection, even of personal feelings far removed from politics, would land them right in the midst of a smoldering national conscience, and they simply won't know how to deal with it. One needs to understand, or at least try to understand, the Israeli psyche before writing about the crisis of Zionism. What Israelis say is not at all what they feel, or think, in the depth of their being. And I suspect they themselves don't know what they think or feel. Of course there are exceptions, but those exceptions live perhaps in the newspaper "Haaretz," which is the only humanist paper that managed to survive in Israel. Read Ma'ariv or Yediot Achronot and you'll see what I mean.
My credentials? I was born in Israel, eighth generation in Eretz Yisrael. I left for America in 1980. I know Israel and I know America, as much as anyone can know a country. But I do know, or sense, when a country goes off the moral rails. And, sadly, both America and Israel are doing it now.
106 of 139 people found the following review helpful
Thoughtful and Important! March 29 2012
By Loyd E. Eskildson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Beinart's thesis is that Israel's deepening occupation of the West Bank is putting Israeli democracy at risk. Palestinians in the West Bank are subjects, not citizens; this has gone on for 44 years and it is to be expected that they react violently. Turkey only began shunning the Jewish state after Israel's 2009 war in Gaza and after Israeli troops killed 8 Turkish militants who tried to break Israel's blockade of the strip in 2010. Egypt's new leaders are not generally calling for Israel's destruction, but are angry that 30 years after the Camp David accords which called for Israel to grant Palestinians full autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel still directly controls most of the West Bank and has subsidized hundreds of thousands of its people to move there.

Israel's founders in their May 1948 'Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel' promised 'complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants.' Israeli forces, however, then proceeded to pillage Arab houses and killed protesting residents. About 700,000 Arabs left Palestine either voluntarily or were forced out, and they aren't allowed back in.

Israel's Arab citizens do have freedom of speech, assembly, and worship, sit in its Parliament, the Knesset, and on its Supreme Court. Arabs own less than 4% of Israel's land, but constitute 20% of the population. Soon they will outnumber the Israeli Jewish population. Israel spend 1/3 more per Jewish Israeli student than Arab Israeli student, and its flag obviously conflicts with Muslim religion. West Bank Palestinians are denied access to East Jerusalem, large parts of the West Bank, and the rest of Israel without a hard to obtain permit. Palestinians who violate Israeli law go before military courts where they are often held months or even years before trial, and less than 1% are found innocent.

Jewish settler attacks on Palestinians in the occupied territories are common - vandalizing Palestinian homes, burning their fields, beating the men. Few than 10% of these attacks result in even indictments. Palestinian attacks, on the other hand, result in massive manhunts, frequent village-wide curfews, sometimes bulldozing of homes - in addition to jailing.

A 2010 poll found 44% of Jewish Israelis believe Jews should not rent apartments to Arabs. Russian immigrants are particularly prone to anti-Arab racism - 77% of recent immigrants from the former USSR support encouraging Arabs to leave Israel, vs. 53% of Jewish Israelis. Young Jewish Israelis are more intolerant than their elders. A member of Netanyahu's government has proposed ethnically cleansing Palestinians from the West Bank.Others want to revoke the citizenship of Israel Arabs who won't swear loyalty to the Jewish state. Netanyahu has repeatedly equated the Palestinian bid for statehood with Nazism. Thirty-nine percent of Israelis consider Obama a Muslim.

In America, studies have revealed that non-Orthodox younger Jews, on average, feel much less attached to Israel than their elders. The rationale per Frank Lutz's work, is that they desperately want peace and see flaws in Israel. At the same time, AIPAC and Sheldon Adelson (multi-million political donor) work to undermine support for Palestine in the U.S. and also undermine the world's most respected international human rights groups that criticize Israel.

Bottom-Line: Mr. Beinhart's work is courageous and deserves close attention. It also makes it clear why the U.S. is so despised for its support of Israel.
73 of 95 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant As Always Mr. Beinart March 27 2012
By Omar Chavez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Ive always liked Beinarts books. I first read "The Icarus Syndrome" and was impressed by that book. I have read Crisis of Zionism and enjoyed it as well. The fundamental problem with Israeli policy, is the Government tends to be more Right Wing and Hawkish than the average Israeli cares to be. American Foreign Policy towards Israel tends to be even more right wing and hawkish as well. Peter Beinart wants to have a philosophical and moral discussion in this book and it delivers. Although close minded fundamentalists will automatically denounce the book and begin the slander against Mr. Beinart (waiting for the self hating Jew comments),sometimes people need to be dragged into reality kicking and screaming. This book won't fundamentally change Zionism in the short term but Losing battles still need to be fought.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Provocative, potentially divisive, but opens a needed dialog on the future of Israel Dec 2 2012
By Todd Bartholomew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It is said that only Nixon could go to China, and a Jimmy Carter's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid proved, only someone Jewish can try and start a dialogue on the future of Israel. As an Orthodox Jew and a generally well regarded pundit Beinart is well positioned to expound upon his own beliefs as to where Zionism has been, where it is heading, but also what corrections and adjustments need to be made. While previous generations of Jewish-Americans were steadfastly Zionist and opposed the idea of a two-state solution between Jews and Arabs Beinart is part of a new generation that argues for a rethinking of this position. A parallel of sorts applies to Cuban-Americans who likewise are rethinking the whole concept of retaining the embargo against Cuba, and the Crisis of Zionism speaks to the growing division and divergence of opinions within the Jewish community regarding the future of Zionism, Judaism, and a two-state solution. Beinart is all too aware of the growing demographic shifts developing in Israel and the occupied territories (that phrase itself a loaded word as is reference to Palestine). Beinart is quite unapologetically a liberal in the tradition of Reinhold Niebuhr and he has been quite critical of US foreign policy in recent years; all of which will cause him to held in contempt and suspicion by conservatives. Beinart's primary criticism here is that US policy has been completely uncritical of Israel policy for fear of alienating Jewish-Americans while at the same time opinions within that community have been splintering and diverging. Both political parties have been aggressively currying favor with Jewish-Americans as voting blocs and as donors leading to a game of one-upmanship to see who can be the most slavishly devoted to support of Israel at just the time when we need to be more critically questioning and challenging Israel's stance regarding a two-state solution and the unfolding Arab Spring. While the call for rethinking America's lockstep with Israeli policy is indeed a good idea Beinart goes a bit too far at times, calling for a boycott of some Israeli goods and services. True, his observations of there being two Israels, one a thriving democracy behind the 1948 boundaries and the other an undemocratic colonial power in the occupied territories is quite on point, following on what President Carter was attempting to point out. Israel faces a potential challenge in years to come with these occupied territories and it's a bit like Thomas Jefferson's comment on slavery being akin to holding a wolf by the ears: you cannot hold on forever but you dare not let it go. Ultimately Beinart argues that Israel is being unfaithful to its vision of being a democratic state by engaging in such conduct, but this points to some of the flaws in his argument. Beinart buys into a generalized fantasy that Western states are these wondrous pluralistic democracies when the truth is they are riven by fears of foreign immigrants, petty partisan politics, class conflicts, and religious divisions. Other critics have pointed out his Manicheanistic tendencies and I'm inclined to agree with them. Israel is predicated on trying to plant Western style democracy in an area not known for it and a rather tough neighborhood at that. Israel has survived by being tougher than its neighbors, which has required it at times to drop the mantle of being genuinely democratic, but what Western nation at times hasn't got in bed with very unsavory characters to advance their own interests? Having read about the growing divisions and disconnect within Israel much of what Beinart points out here has a ring of truth to it. For most Israelis what goes on day-to-day in the West Bank and Gaza is something of a distraction. They are benefiting from the hard work previous generations did in creating Israel and it's not clear that the current generations appreciate that or quite know how to move things forward to ensure Israel's continued success and security. It is clear the Middle East is changing in ways not yet understood and which is largely unwritten. "The Crisis of Zionism" is a fascinating glimpse into that debate and discussion and it is a shame so many have attempted to silence Beinart as divergent opinions should be heard. No one person or group has a monopoly on truth and those arguments without merit will lose out. But censoring someone for fear of their opinion tells you that someone may just a point; a point that the censors are fearful of.


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