Beinart’s influence: ‘Tablet’ author says Israel is a bully and Zionism is toxic subject

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More Beinart repercussions; he’s opened up the space, and given the timorous encouragement. Tablet has run a great piece by parenting columnist Marjorie Ingall saying she’s never written about Israel, because she doesn’t buy the program and her children look on Zionism as toxic. The piece was promptly trashed by Commentary, which says that anti-Semitism never ends and Israel can count on no one but itself (further indication of what MJ Rosenberg predicted, a giant split inside the Jewish community).

My excerpt begins with Ingall’s conversation with her daughter about a book. It really is only a matter of time before the daughter is talking about the right of return!

I stumbled desperately through an explanation of why two peoples feel they have a legitimate claim to the same land.

“But having land is like having a seat on a bus,” Josie replied. “You can’t just push someone out of their seat, and you can’t just leave your seat and then come back to it after a long time and just expect the person who is sitting there now to give it to you.”

My panicked reaction to her words surprised me. I found myself trying to convince her that Israel did have that right. But that’s not what I believe. But I’m not sure what I believe. I want my children to love Israel, but I don’t want them to identify with bullies. I was spinning in my own head like the desperate, overwhelmed woman in the Calgon commercial: J Street, take me away!

But Josie’s bus-bully analogy resonated. Baby-boomer Jews seem wedded to a sepia-toned image of Jews as victims—in the shtetl, in the Holocaust, in Israel’s early wars. But in real life, victims can turn into bullies…. So, exactly how should liberal parents who want to foster Jewish identity, but who see Zionism as the conversational equivalent of an Alar-coated apple, teach their children about Israel?

Thanks to Jack Ross.

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