For anyone interested in what has been said–and it’s overwhelmingly critical–in response to the thesis I laid out briefly in my op-ed in the New York Times on 24 August, ‘The End of Liberal Zionism’, here are the titles and links for most of the published and posted pieces I have come across that address my column directly. They range from the elegantly written and persuasively argued to the coarsely hacked and bruisingly prosecuted. I could have omitted a few, but, in the interests of fairness and objectivity, I thought I should not only let the stylists (and I mean that as a compliment) speak but also the rough-tongued.
The scale of the response took me completely by surprise. I realised, of course, that the piece was controversial, but I did not expect so many people to feel the need to attempt to refute my arguments in such strong terms. Clearly, I touched a raw nerve. But I also know that for some, I struck a chord.
I certainly did not expect to persuade the liberal Zionist community with just one short op-ed. I never thought for one moment that they would all fold up their tents and move on, joining–most of them at least–in the Jewish/Israel-Palestinian movement or campaign for equal rights that I advocate in the piece. I wanted to start a debate and in this I reckon I succeeded beyond what I could ever have imagined.
I have learnt a lot from what others have written. It has given me much food for thought. A lot of good thinking has gone into some of the arguments deployed against me. However–and this is a big ‘however’–I’m struck by some of the spectacular misreadings of what I wrote, the need for many to put me in a labelled box in which I simply don’t belong and the tendency to ignore completely some of the very central facets of my argument–as if they are so unpalatable, they simply can’t be engaged with. The mind turns away; it doesn’t want to know.
I am deliberately not spelling out now precisely what was said (you can read it for yourselves here) or precisely why I think it was mostly wrong, because I hope to respond at greater length, both writing a much fuller exposition of my thesis and, in the course of doing so, answering my critics. It may take a little time to secure the right opportunity for this and the right place in which to do it. I will make sure friends and foes alike are informed when and where this will come about.
Meanwhile, make what you will of the pieces I have supplied links to below.
First, here is a link to the op-ed itself, so that anyone alighting on this blog who isn’t familiar with my piece can first see what all the fuss was about. But also for anyone who read it and wants to read it again so that they make sure they know what my arguments really were before they read the counter-arguments of most of the pieces:
Here are the links to the critical articles and posts:
1. The Washington Post 22 August 2014
Two reasons the ‘I can’t be a Zionist because I’m a liberal’ meme is false
2. Haaretz 22 August 2014
Not the end of liberal Zionism
Michael L Gross
3. Haaretz 27 August 2014
The unrequited love affair between liberal Jews and an illiberal Israel
Strenger than fiction: Carlo Strenger
4. The Nation 26 August 2014
Liberal Zionism is dying. The two-state solution shouldn’t go with it.
5. The New Yorker 5 September 2014
Is liberal Zionism impossible?
6. Haaretz 29 August 2014
Liberal Zionism: It can’t be dead because it never existed
7. New Jersey Jewish News 27 August 2014
The liberal Zionist surrender
8. The Jewish Daily Forward 19 August 2014
Liberal Zionists Unite! Now is not the time to recoil from Israel
Elan Ezrach and Naamah Kelman
9. Huffington Post 26 August 2014
If liberal Zionism were dead, what actions would that imply?
10. Frontpage Mag 24 August 2014
Liberal Zionism isn’t dead, Liberalism is
11. Jerusalem Post 26 August 2014
Israel’s patriotic left offers an important model for diaspora Jews–and liberals everywhere
12. Haaretz 28 August 2014
The next step for liberal Zionists: a Freedom Summer with Palestinians
13. The New York Jewish Week 29 August 2014
Liberal Zionism and its discontents
14. The Times of Israel 29 August 2014
Since when is a challenge a bad thing? Response to Antony Lerman
15. The Jewish Daily Forward 2 September 2014
So you really think that liberal Zionism is dead? Gaza did not spell the end of the two-sate solution
16. ARZA The Reform Israel Fund 26 August 2014
I am a liberal Zionist and this is NOT the end
Rabbi Josh Weinberg
17. San Diego Jewish World 31 August 2014
Answering a liberal Jewish critic of Israel
18. Haaretz 2 September 2014
Despair won’t advance liberal Zionists’ agenda
19. Mondoweiss 22 August 2014
‘NYT’ op-ed calls on Jews to abandon liberal Zionism and call for equal rights
20. The Partners for Progressive Israel blog 26 August 2014
Examining anti-Zionist op-ed in NY Times
Irwin Wall, Lilly Rivlin, anonymous, Paul Scham
21. PassaicPark.com 31 August 2014
The liberal Zionist surrender
22. Smartertimes.com 23 August 2014
Antony Lerman’s end of liberal Zionism
23. Jerusalem Post 28 August 2014
A dose of nuance: hope you’re having a good summer
24. Theology in the Vineyard 25 August 2014
Endgame for liberal Zionism?
25. New York Times 30 August 2014
Letters to the Editor: Liberal Zionism today
Strong reactions to an essay saying that Israeli policies have tarnished the Zionist ideal.
I started with David Bernstein, persisting despite the false black-or-white alternatives in the first few paragraphs, until I came to, “Israel has already withdrawn from Gaza (and also left Lebanon fourteen years ago) …” when I stopped reading. Anyone who can write those words isn’t worth wasting any more time on. On to the next link.
A preliminary comment on Carlo Strenger’s piece, with reference to Jonathan Freedland. Strenger cites him correctly as “the Guardian’s Opinions editor, Jonathan Freedland”. I believe that Freedland should publicly recuse himself from having anything to do with editing (which includes commissioning, accepting or rejecting) articles to do with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. He’s too parti pris.