The Future Of Liberal Zionism

Download Audio

After a summer of deadly clashes between Gaza and Israel, we talk to Jews on the left and right about the future of liberal Zionism. Some say it’s over.

Flickr/Steve Rhodes

It’s been a tough summer in the Middle East.  The Israel-Gaza blow-up.  ISIS, and the whole region on edge.  And the tensions come home in many households and synagogues when Jews sit down next week for the year’s High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and then, later,Yom Kippur.  Israel has moved to the right.  Many American Jews and others have moved with it, on the Palestinians and more. Many have not.  A great tradition of liberal Zionism, with social justice at its heart, is struggling with new realities in Israeli politics and policy.  This hour, On Point:  liberal Zionists and Israel now.
- Tom Ashbrook


Antony Lerman, former director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, which researches the state of Jews in Europe. Former Chief Executive of the Rothschild Foundation, a grant making trust that supports Jewish life in Europe. Author of "The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist: A Personal and Political Journey." His op-ed in the New York Times in August was “The End of Liberal Zionism.” (@tonylerman)

Peter Beinart, author of, “The Crisis of Zionism.” Professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York. Editor of The New Republic from 1999 to 2006. (@PeterBeinart)
Caroline Glick, senior columnist, The Jerusalem Post. Director of the Israeli Security Project at the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Los Angeles. Author of "The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East." (@CarolineGlick)

From Tom's Reading List

The New York Times: The End of Liberal Zionism - "The romantic Zionist ideal, to which Jewish liberals — and I was one, once — subscribed for so many decades, has been tarnished by the reality of modern Israel. The attacks on freedom of speech and human rights organizations in Israel, the land-grabbing settler movement, a growing strain of anti-Arab and anti-immigrant racism, extremist politics, and a powerful, intolerant religious right — this mixture has pushed liberal Zionism to the brink."

Haaretz: On Gaza, Israel is losing the Obama coalition - " America’s hyper-polarized political environment, the more conservatives defend Israeli policy in terms Obama voters find alienating, the more alienated Obama voters grow from Israeli policy. The more enthusiastic Sean Hannity and John Hagee become about this war, the more Obama voters decide it must be wrong."

The Jerusalem Post: Why Israel is losing the information war - "Our leaders and spokespeople cannot win the information war by devoting themselves to pointing out the West’s hypocrisy and double standards, or the rank mendaciousness and bigotry that stands at the core of their approach to Israel. No one ever won a war by only playing defense. And we won’t win this one by explaining why we aren’t war criminals."

This program aired on September 18, 2014.


More from On Point

Listen Live