Peter Beinart and David Suissa Debate “A Crisis of Zionism”



By Rabbi John Rosove

Last night (Wednesday, May 16), Peter Beinart (author of A Crisis of Zionism) and David Suissa (President of The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles) debated before a crowd of 450 people at Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles the role of the American Jewish community vis a vis Israel, the arguments left and right relative to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the challenges to democracy and the Jewish character/demography of the state that a non-resolution of this conflict present. I was honored to moderate the discussion.

You can watch the entire conversation on the Jewish Journal website.

I recommend reading Peter’s book, as it spells out clearly, factually and historically what has become of the Zionist enterprise and how the American Jewish establishment (i.e. AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the ADL, and AJC, among others) and community have changed and evolved over the course of the past 64 years since Israeli statehood.

Though vilified by some on the Jewish and Israeli right for the positions he takes in this book and in other writings, others have praised Peter’s book including President Bill Clinton, philanthropist Edgar Bronfman, former Congressman and Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission Lee H. Hamilton, and Naomi Chazan, former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and President of the New Israel Fund.

President Clinton said the following:

“Peter Beinart has written a deeply important book for anyone who cares about Israel, its security, its democracy, and its prospects for a just and lasting peace. Beinart explains the roots of the current political and religious debates within Israel, raises the tough questions that can’t be avoided, and offers a new way forward to achieve Zionism’s founding ideals, both in Israel and among the diaspora Jews in the United States and elsewhere.”

Rabbi John Rosove is the Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles. He is a passionate progressive Reform Zionist and serves as a Vice President on the ARZA Board, in addition to chairing the Program Committee. Under his leadership, his synagogue has twinned with Kehillat Mevasseret Zion and Congregation Darchei Noam in Ramat HaSharon, Israel, as well as with the Progressive Synagogues in Kiev and Kharkov, Ukraine. This post was originally published on Rabbi Rosove’s blog.

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