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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Entire panel attacks Beinart #tomorrow12

Here's a summary from session that took place while I was watching Caroline Glick, Naftali Bennett and David Makovsky.
Peter Beinart, the former editor of The New Republic, and Abe Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defamation League, headlined a panel at the 2012 Israeli Presidential Conference that discussed the evolving relationship between Israel and World Jewry. They were joined by Pierre Besnainou, Chair of the Israel Diaspora Paradigm Committee, Alana Newhouse, Editor-in-Chief of Tablet Magazine, and Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic.

The panel was highlighted by a heated debate over the status of relationship between Israel and World Jewry, and its ability to maintain its previous levels of closeness.

Beinart stated that the relationship is at risk of crisis largely because of a lack of willingness by the leadership of U.S. Jewry to deal openly and honestly with Israel. "What alienates young American Jews is the fact that they see Israelis criticizing Israeli policy, but they don't hear the same candor from American Jews."

Several panelists challenged Beinart's perception of a crisis, with Alana Newhouse warning of the consequences of "crying wolf," and worrying that the talk of an emergency could become "a self-fulfilling prophecy."

"My love and support for Israel is unconditional, it does not depend on the Israeli acceptance of my ideas," said Foxman, who was critical of Beinart's attacks on Israeli policy. "My Zionism is not in crisis because my Zionism is not conditioned on an idealized view of what I'd like Israel to be."

All panelists agreed that the Diaspora community needed to focus more on Jewish education and introducing young Jews to the importance of Israel, with Wieseltier lamenting U.S. Jewry's reliance on Israel for its Jewish identity.

"Israel was not created to relieve U.S. Jewry of the burden of creating its own identity," said Wieseltier. "In so far as the weakening affiliation is real, a moment of truth is arriving for American Jews and we can finally see what kind of Judaism U.S. Jewry is capable of."
Even the mainstream Jewish leadership seems to be tiring of Beinart's message.

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