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The Crisis of Zionism [Kindle Edition]

Peter Beinart
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
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Book Description

Israel's next great crisis may come not with the Palestinians or Iran but with young American Jews

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.

Editorial Reviews


"A deeply important book for anyone who cares about Israel." ---President Bill Clinton


"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 l

Product Details

  • File Size: 596 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0805094121
  • Publisher: Times Books (March 27, 2012)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006JJYT0S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,315 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
169 of 206 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for people who care about Israel March 27, 2012
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
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66 of 83 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A shallow book May 18, 2012
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 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.
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107 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and Important! March 29, 2012
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening book!
Great book! Very interesting.
Published 6 months ago by Isacco
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Context for What's Going On
This is the guy for all of us Liberal Zionists who want to understand what's going on and aren't believing what they're reading in the press or hearing on the news. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Happy Camper
5.0 out of 5 stars A Challenging Thesis
As a Texas gentile subscriber to the New York Times, I have been impressed with Peter Beinart's balanced reporting of the tragic situation in Gaza and the West Bank. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Charles Fred Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Liberal Overview of Israel
Good overview of the recent political relationships between Israeli governments and ours. As a non-Jew I was surprised by one of his conclusions. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jon W. Florey
This author is anti-Israel, Pro-Terrorist. I will not ever read anything he has written or will write again. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Beinart's book is clueless to fundamentals of the conflict and...
By advocating for Israel's retreat to indefensible pre-'67 borders opposite genocidal enemies, this book unfortunately shows that it is clueless as to the fundamentals of the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by G Marcus
3.0 out of 5 stars There are better
One of the first books I read about Zionism and the Israel/Palestinian conflict, The Crisis of Zionism was recommended to me by a professor at the University of Miami. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Benjamin R
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opening, well researched and fair-handed analysis of ...
An eye opening, well researched and fair-handed analysis of the situation and the danger that the status-quo presents to Israel in the long term.
Published 9 months ago by Robert A. Lippman
3.0 out of 5 stars Israel, an interesting perspective
A refreshing perspective on Israel & the Middle East written by someone who is a committed Jew. Not all will agree with him but his viewpoint merits consideration by anyone... Read more
Published 10 months ago by adlerbob
5.0 out of 5 stars A great help to Evangelical Christians who are often none too clear...
Beinart's book asks all the right questions as he lifts up the founding principles behind Zionism and the quest for a Jewish Homeland. Read more
Published 13 months ago by T. Eggebeen
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More About the Author

Peter Beinart is associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. He is the senior political writer for The Daily Beast and a contributor to Time. Beinart is a former fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and is the author of The Good Fight. He lives with his family in Washington, D.C.

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Another book in a long list of "bash Israel" publications
How did you get to read a book that hasn't been published yet?
Feb 20, 2012 by delia ruhe |  See all 2 posts
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