Right in time for his new book called The Crisis of Zionism, Peter Beinart is rolling out a new blog at the Daily Beast dedicated to the conversation about Israel and Palestine, with a Zionist tilt to the contributors. Though I'll take anything-- and I'm grateful for leftward movement. It's called "Zion Square."
Notice below that all of the columnists are Jews and Palestinians-- oh and one Iranian-American, the great Trita Parsi. And many of the Jews are Israeli. When you are in Palestine, people wink and say "Our cousins." So this is a site for the cousins. Where are the American realists? Where's Paul Pillar, Pat Lang or Scott McConnell. Do American non-direct-stakeholders get a vote?
As one of my cousins, Emily Hauser, writes at her site,
These are conversations that anyone with a stake in Israel needs to be having, and I’m very grateful to be able to play a part.
But wait, Peter Beinart, do non-Jews and non-Palestinians have a stake? Tablet's Marc Tracy:
According to Beinart, most of Zion Square’s contributors broadly share his belief in “the Jewish democratic state, based upon the principles of Israel’s declaration of independence,” alongside a Palestinian state. Among Zion Square’s ten regular columnists, only one would commonly be thought of as offering a right-of-center perspective—the Israeli Benny Morris. The rest are: Bernard Avishai, Lara Friedman, Gershom Gorenberg, Emily L. Hauser, Hussein Ibish, Yehudah Mirsky, Yousef Munayyer, Trita Parsi, and Einat Wilf.
Friedman, of Americans for Peace Now, might be the farthest left (APN, for example, advocates boycotts of goods made in the occupied territories but not Israel). Mirsky, rabbinically ordained and concerned as much with Jewish identity as politics, could also be considered center to center-right. Gorenberg’s recent The Unmaking of Israel is, in my opinion, a fantastic book. Wilf is the only professional politician, a member of the Knesset from Ehud Barak’s Independence Party. And Parsi might prove the most controversial selection: the president of the National Iranian American Council, he has become a lightning rod in the Iran debate [...].
Beinart is particularly excited to have voices from the Arab world, including Ibish, who is Lebanese, and Munayyer, who is Palestinian (and he noted that Parsi is Iranian). “One of the defining characteristics of the organized Jewish community’s discussion is the Palestinian voices rarely have a chance to be heard by a Jewish audience,” he argued. The ways in which the organized Jewish community narrow American discussion of Israel is a theme of Beinart’s book, which will be excerpted in Monday’s Newsweek (The Daily Beast’s print counterpart),
Interesting that Beinart invokes the "organized Jewish community." I thought this was the Daily Beast, the MSM-- Americans. But he's right. The Jewish community is powerful, and its presence in the media is significant.
Also interesting is Beinart's use of Zionism, in the title of his book and in this blogsite. When I bet J Street is going to keep the use of the word Zionism to a minimum at its upcoming policy conference. Young people don't see any joy in the brand, I'm told.
P.S. Original version of this post was more anodyne. I have continually changed it, trying to get it right.