Audie Award Nominee, Nonfiction, 2013
Audie Award Nominee, Nonfiction, 2013
A dramatic shift is taking place in Israel and America. In Israel, the deepening occupation of the West Bank is putting Israeli democracy at risk. In the United States, the refusal of major Jewish organizations to defend democracy in the Jewish state is alienating many young liberal Jews from Zionism itself. In the next generation, the liberal Zionist dream - the dream of a state that safeguards the Jewish people and cherishes democratic ideals - may die.
In The Crisis of Zionism, Peter Beinart lays out in chilling detail the looming danger to Israeli democracy and the American Jewish establishment's refusal to confront it. And he offers a fascinating, groundbreaking portrait of the two leaders at the center of the crisis: Barack Obama, America's first "Jewish president", a man steeped in the liberalism he learned from his many Jewish friends and mentors in Chicago; and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister who considers liberalism the Jewish people's special curse. These two men embody fundamentally different visions, not just of American and Israeli national interests but of the mission of the Jewish people itself.
Beinart concludes with provocative proposals for how the relationship between American Jews and Israel must change, and with an eloquent and moving appeal for American Jews to defend the dream of a democratic Jewish state before it is too late.
©2012 Peter Beinart (P)2012 Tantor
"A deeply important book for anyone who cares about Israel." (President Bill Clinton)
"Important and timely for the future of Israel." (Roger Cohen, The New York Times)
"A passionately argued work that will evoke intense debate." (Booklist)
Absolutely, this book works great as an audiobook, since Beinart does an excellent job at summarizing key points clearly and succinctly. In terms of the content of the book, Beinart expands from his New York Review of Book article on the growing generational gap between young American Jews whose commitment to liberal values makes them feel alienated from Israel due mainly to its unlibaral occupation. As such, since the 1980s, wealthy right-wingers have hijacked Israeli advocacy in the US to the detriment of Israel, as its misguided policies are counterproductive to both its security and survival (as a Jewish and democratic state).
I especially enjoyed Beinart's section on the peace process. He did an excellent job at summarizing the main final-status negotiations and destroyed the myth that the Palestinians are not a partner for peace by outlining their counterproposals during negotiations. He also does an excellent job at highlighting the fact that Likud, and Netanyahu are not really committed to the two-state solution, since Netanyahu really favors a mini-Palestinian state within the West Bank, and if he were really serious about peace, the solution is well known (something close to the Geneva Initiative). As such, his conclusion that settlement products should be boycotted is welcome, as the Israeli government clearly needs to be pressured into finally ending the occupation and establishing a contiguous, viable, Palestinian state.
Consistent as always, he has a steady pace, clear pronunciation, and nice tempo (not too fast or slow).
A new and inspiring Jewish American perspective on the American/Israeli relations. Beinart promotes a proactive role for American Jewry to take a responsible role before the Democratic Jewish state becomes either Jewish or Democratic.
As an Israeli, I beg you, please read this book and help save the Zionist dream.
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