In This Review

The Crisis of Zionism
The Crisis of Zionism
By Peter Beinart
Times Books, 2012, 304 pp

In the name of liberal Zionism and universal human values, Beinart’s slender but provocative new book launches a deeply felt attack on the policies of the current Israeli government toward the Palestinians. Along the way, Beinart examines the close relationship between President Barack Obama and the liberal wing of the Jewish community in the United States, considers the failure of the Obama administration’s Israel policy, and analyzes the state of the American Jewish community at a time of assimilation and generational discord. In many ways, the book is an exercise in nostalgia: Beinart would like to re-create the unity American Jews experienced before Israel’s divisive occupation of the Palestinian territories after the Six-Day War, in 1967. Beinart believes that a revival of liberal Zionism would strengthen Jewish identity among younger American Jews who are disenchanted with establishment groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and B’nai B’rith. By attempting to cover so many complex and contentious themes in such a short book, Beinart leaves himself vulnerable to critics who can point to occasional slips and flaws. But the book is intended to launch a discussion, and in that it will certainly succeed.