by Zoe Pollock
[Weiss] looks at contemporary Israel and is appalled. Because he came to Middle Eastern issues late in life, he has no fond memories of labor Zionism, or maddening recollections of the times Palestinians spurned opportunities for peace, to complicate his anger. As one long alienated from Jewish life, he hasn’t developed the habit, common to many American Jews, of reflexively giving Israel the benefit of the doubt. For himas it is for many younger JewsIsrael is defined by Avigdor Lieberman and Operation Cast Lead, by Shas and settlements. ...
[Weiss] came up against what he saw as the essential conflict between Zionism and American liberalismwhich, after all, defines itself precisely by its refusal to privilege any race or religion. Liberal Zionists are used to holding these ideas in uneasy tension. Weiss could see nothing but stark dissonance. “I don’t believe in the necessity of a Jewish state,” he says. “Most Jews disagree with me, and that is sort of the heart of my crisis.”
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