In the past month, two events rocked the Jewish world and challenged the liberal American Jewish relationship to Zionism and the State of Israel.
Peter Beinart, a long-time supporter of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, articulated in a long essay in Jewish Currents and in an op-ed in the New York Times why he now believes that a two-state solution is dead. Instead, he advocates for one democratic state in which the Jewish and the Palestinian peoples can live equally in their respective national homes in what he calls “Israel-Palestine.”
Seth Rogen, the American Jewish film-maker and comedian, in an interview with Marc Maron on his podcast in advance of the release of Rogen’s film “An American Pickle,” reflects the conflicted state of his own Jewish identity and many in his generation vis a vis antisemitism, Jews, and Israelis.
Whereas Peter Beinart is a highly educated and informed Jewish intellectual and journalist, Seth Rogen, though growing up in a Vancouver Jewish Day School and a left-wing Habonim Dror summer camp, seems not to understand what Israel and Israelis are really all about, what Jewish peoplehood means today, and why a Jewish State in all its complexity is a miracle in 2000 years of Jewish history.
The tragedy of Covid-19, the historic economic collapse, massive unemployment, racial divisions, and the charged American presidential race have consumed so much of our energy and attention these past 6 months. Few American Jews except those who are most passionately pro-Zionist and pro-Israel aren’t thinking much about Israel these days. Perhaps, this is an opportunity with so much time on our hands for us American Jews to deepen our knowledge and understanding of Zionism, Israel, and Palestine.
To that end, I’ve compiled a list of volumes that educate and enlighten the history of the Jewish State, the Zionist dream, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These volumes explain why a Jewish state matters so much to the Jewish people, and why a two-state solution is the only viable option for peace, security, and justice for both Jews and Palestinians.
For the list of 26 outstanding volumes, see my blog at the Times of Israel – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/zionism-israel-and-the-palestinians-book-recommendations/