Having long pressed for an open division inside the Jewish family over Israel, I’m pleased by Dana Goldstein’s New Year-timed piece at Time.com titled, “Why Fewer Young American Jews Share Their Parents’ View of Israel.” The piece begins bravely with Goldstein’s differences with her mother and though it concludes on a pro-Zionist note, captures some important elements of this new moment in Jewish life, including the idea that Zionism and liberal values are irreconcilable.
“I’m trembling,” my mother says, when I tell her I’m working on an article about how younger and older American Jews are reacting differently to the Palestinians’ bid for statehood at the United Nations….
“This is so emotional,” she says as we cautiously discuss our difference of opinion. “It makes me feel absolutely terrible when you stridently voice criticisms of Israel.”
I respect the word cautious characterizing Goldstein’s conversation with her mother, that’s like my conversation with my mother; but I want Goldstein and her mother to go on stage at the 92d Street Y, along with a neoconservative and anti-Zionist relation or two. Have it out in front of everyone. Jewish identity is central to the mess. This is very nice:
Hanna King, an 18-year old sophomore at Swarthmore College, epitomizes the generational shift. Raised in Seattle as a Conservative Jew, last November King was part of a group of activists who heckled Netanyahu with slogans against the occupation at a New Orleans meeting of the Jewish Federations General Assembly.
“Netanyahu repeatedly claims himself as a representative of all Jews,” King says. “The protest was an outlet for me to make a clear statement, and make it clear that those injustices don’t occur in my name. It served as a vehicle for reclaiming my own Judaism.”
Toward the end of the piece Goldstein reels in some line:
Ben Resnick, 27, [rabbinical student]… published an op-ed pointing out the ideological inconsistencies between Zionism, which upholds the principle of Israel as a Jewish state, and American liberal democracy, which emphasizes individual rights regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion. “The tragedy,” Resnick says, is that the two worldviews may be “irreconcilable.”
Still, after living in Jerusalem for 10 months and then returning to New York, Resnick continues to consider himself a Zionist.