My friend (not fake Washington friend, actual friend) Joe Klein writes, in reference to Peter Beinart's article lamenting the demise of liberal Zionism:
This is an excellent, well-argued... piece about the moral failure of Jewish-American leaders with regard to Israel's hard-right turn. I would hope that the leaders of AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League etc etc would read it and think about it carefully, and that it forces those who have refused to debate these issues--how unJewish!--to start a real dialogue.
But I'm sure that it's only a matter of hours before someone calls Beinart anti-Israel or a self-hating Jew. How sad.
Come on, Joe! There is real debate all the time in the Jewish community, even within the ADL! I've been to national meetings of the ADL when actual debate broke out! I belong to the biggest and most established Conservative synagogue in Washington, D.C., and one of beloved rabbis is a leader of the hard-left group Rabbis for Human Rights, and you know what? No one cares. Liberal critics of Israel and the organized Jewish community are going to have to let go of this particular meme. (Please see my post on a related subject, the taboo that won't shut up.) We live in an age when cartoonists -- cartoonists! -- are threatened with death for drawing pictures of the Muslim prophet, and yet an unseemly amount of space on the Interwebs is given over to condemning Abe Foxman for writing hostile press releases. It is not an act of bravery -- physical bravery, spiritual bravery, intellectual bravery -- to criticize Israel, not ever, and certainly not today.
By the way, I just asked Peter Beinart if he's been called an Israel-hater or a self-hater today. His response: "Actually no one has. It's been the biggest shock -- and happiest one -- of the piece. I don't think my grandmother has read it yet, though."