Perspectives: Is Zionism in Crisis?
Alan Dershowitz debates with Peter Beinart on the topic of Beinart’s recent book, The Crisis of Zionism.
Gosh, I didn’t know that there was any real question about this, and have to assume there’s a generational blindness at work here? Though I’m going to be very curious to see how many coins Beinart throws in Dershowitz’s old fountain, what he praises him for.
I’m more interested in the discussion between Norman Finkelstein, Anna Baltzer, Noam Chomsky and Adam Shatz on the American Jewish relationship with Israel, on October 6 at the New School. This quartet is much more of the Jewish moment… I hope that Finkelstein offers the pronouncement that he made in one of his speeches a couple years ago: Let us not ask, Are you now or have you ever been a Zionist? Wait, here it is, from his lecture on Gandhi– and yes, I’m chumming:
“I am not anti-English; I am not anti-British; I am not anti-any government,” Gandhi insisted, “but I am anti-untruth—anti-humbug, and anti-injustice.” Shouldn’t we also say that we are not anti-Jewish, anti-Israel or, for that matter, anti-Zionist? The prize on which our eyes should be riveted is human rights, human dignity, human equality. What, really, is the point of ideological litmus tests such as, Are you now or have you ever been a Zionist? Indeed, it is Israel’s apologists who thrive on and cling to them, bogging down interlocutors in distracting and endless intellectual sideshows
The problem with this formulation is that Gandhi would not have said, I’m not anti-colonialist. Zionism is a very active alive ideology, yes in crisis, but alive. A neoconservative recently pressed the NYT’s Jodi Rudoren on whether she is a Zionist, and I tried to ask Ethan Bronner the same question at Vassar a year or so back; because both the neocon and I regard Zionism as a powerful ideology that has ordained and continues to ordain a great amount of human behavior and we’d like to know where you stand on same. (Which is not to say that I favor inquisitions on the question, just some transparency.)