Peter Beinart and ‘The Crisis of Zionism’

by Dan Bloom, producer

Written in the aftermath of the Holocaust, Israel’s declaration of independence pledged equality of social and political rights to citizens irrespective of race, religion and sex. In his book, ‘The Crisis of Zionism,’ author Peter Beinart claims that Israel has shirked this pledge, citing the deep chasm between Israel’s egalitarian founding ideals and its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip. Beinart labels the status quo as “undemocratic Israel,” asserting that entrenched settlements are an existential threat to the experiment of Jewish democracy birthed in 1948.

A senior political writer for The Daily Beast, Peter Beinart self-describes as a Zionist but is unafraid to critique modern Israeli policies, particularly the government’s lack of commitment to a two-state solution.

Like the influential Israeli writers A. B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz and David Grossman, Benart advocates a boycott of all West Bank settlements. He explained his position in a controversial New York Times op-ed that began with the bold statement that “[t]o believe in a democratic Jewish state today is to be caught between the jaws of a pincer.”

Peter Beinart stakes out his positions on Israel with conviction, even though they may be divisive and unpopular. He wrote “Crisis of Zionism” not just to effect change in his lifetime, but to keep the door open to a future where his children do not have to choose between a commitment to Israel and liberal democratic ideals.

Find more information on Peter Beinart at his website