The latter see it as a kind of moral trump card, designed to close down all argument. Yet Shavit is right to raise it, because the experience of the holocaust did indeed convince jews in Palestine and beyond that a jewish state had become a mortal need. Judis, whose perspective differs sharply from Shavits, confirms as much when he"s Trumans envoy mark Ethridge telling the president that the jews believed they had had a narrow escapefrom extinction. Judis reports that most of the reform Jews who as late as 1942 had founded the American council for Judaism—which led the fight against us support for a jewish state—radically reversed their position once they knew of the nazi horror. After reports of the holocaust surfaced, many of them embraced zionism as the only alternative for Europes displaced Jews. That experience—of Jews, once ambivalent about Jewish statehood, dropping all doubts in the face of the Shoah—was all but universal in the jewish world. It seemed clear that Jews needed a country where, even if their safety would be far from guaranteed, they would, at least, be able to defend themselves.
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But he wont join the bleeding heart Israeli liberals of later years who condemn what the Israelis did in Lydda but enjoy the fruits of their deed. If need be, ill stand by the damned. Because i know that if it essay wasnt for them, the State of Israel would not have been born. They did the dirty, filthy work that enables my people, myself, my daughter, and my sons to live. This answer is underpinned, again implicitly, by what follows. The chapter after Lydda is housing Estate, 1957, which describes a plan single shikun, a small neighborhood on the outskirts of Tel aviv that became the new home of a group of Holocaust survivors. Shavit"s, uninterrupted and at length, the harrowing childhood experiences of three eminent Israelis: novelist Aharon Appelfeld, former Chief Justice Aharon Barak, and Professor zeev sternhell (whom Shavit calls a lauded political activist against Israeli fascism all of whom endured the whirlwind of the Shoah. The juxtaposition of these two chapters makes Shavits point for him. It reminds the reader why jews came to believe with such urgency and fervor that a state, a haven, was a necessity. As it happens, both hawkish zionists and anti-zionists tend to dislike this line of reasoning. The former fear it weakens the jewish claim to palestine if that claim is deemed to have arisen not out of a millennia-old attachment to the land of Israel, but simply the need for a postwar sanctuary.
As we shall see, the mere fact of setting out such brutal facts is itself to take a stand, but Shavit touches on the question of justification too. First, he implicitly accepts what anti-zionists have long argued: that the eventual dispossession of Palestinians was empire logically entailed in the zionist project from the outset, that it could not be any other way. The problem was, the jewish homeland was not empty. As the two rabbis dispatched from Theodor Herzls first zionist Congress in vienna, sent to palestine like the biblical spies who first entered Canaan, reported back: The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man. Shavit seems to accept as obvious the implication that Palestine could not become the home of the jews unless Palestinians lost their homes in Palestine: If zionism was to be, lydda could not. If Lydda was to be, zionism could not. Micha bar Am/Magnum PhotosAmos oz in the hulda kibbutz, israel, 1983 does that mean that Shavit believes the massacre at Lydda was justified? He avoids a direct answer. The question is too immense to deal with; it is a reality i cannot contain.
But that would be too flippant a response to the resume larger story my promised Land is telling, a story in which the book itself may even come to play a part. The ultimate question leftist opponents of zionism like to hurl at liberal zionists, the one the former believe the latter cannot answer, is, to use finkelsteins formulation: How does one excuse ethnic cleansing? If one is a liberal, committed to human rights, how can one justify the expulsion and dispossession of Palestinians in 1948 as and Israel was born? Shavits answer comes in the form of the two chapters that sit at the heart of the book. First comes Lydda, 1948, a meticulously assembled account of the three july days when soldiers of the new Israeli army emptied that city of its Palestinian inhabitants and, according to Shavit, killed more than three hundred civilians in cold blood and without discrimination. Piecing together the testimony of those who did the killing, Shavit writes: zionism carried out a massacre. It was this chapter, unflinching and forensically detailed, that so exercised Isi leibler in his Jerusalem Post review.
You might think this makes the finkelstein view—that Shavit is engaged in sophisticated hasbara, propaganda for Israel—tricky to sustain. But critics of liberal zionism have a ready reply. The hebrew phrase of choice is yorim uvochim, literally shooting and crying, used to deride the tendency of the Israeli left to lament the horror of killing Arabs or occupying Palestinians in eloquent prose, stirring poetry, and award-winning movies, while the killing and occupation continue. This way, runs the criticism, the Israeli dove gets to win the admiration of the outside world, jew and non-Jew alike, for the beauty and sensitivity of his conscience even as the behavior of his country, and the army whose uniform he continues to wear. In this view, the liberal zionist is more disreputable than his hard-line nationalist cousin because, unlike the latter, he insists on having his cake and eating. That charge can, and has been, leveled at Shavit. One could say that his chapter on gaza meets the standard definition of shooting and crying.
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But then they will come across passages such as this, prompted by a visit to the west Bank settlement of Ofra: The settlements have placed Israels neck in a noose. They created an untenable demographic, work political, moral, and judicial reality. But now Ofras illegitimacy taints Israel itself. Like a cancer, it spreads from one organ to another, endangering the entire body. Ofras colonialism makes the world perceive israel as a colonialist entity. But because in the twenty-first century there is lean no room for a colonialist entity, the west is gradually turning its back on Israel. Thats why enlightened Jews in America and Europe are ashamed of Israel.
Thats why Israel is at odds with itself. Shavit goes further, choosing to include. My promised Land the account he wrote as a young reservist of his twelve-day stint as a jailer in a gaza detention camp in 1991, originally published. Haaretz and later in, the new York review. Though the young Shavit writes that he has always abhorred the analogy, he"s a fellow soldier who says that the place resembles a concentration camp. He uses the words Aktion and Gestapo. He says of the camp doctor, he is no mengele, which of course invites a comparison to mengele.
That this is Shavits intention is established early. His introduction warns the reader that duality will be his watchword, that he will be in the business of both/and rather than either/or: On the one hand, Israel is the only nation in the west that is occupying another people. On the other hand, Israel is the only nation in the west that is existentially threatened. Both occupation and intimidation make the Israeli condition unique. Intimidation and occupation have become the two pillars of our condition. One might dispute whether the sense of intimidation is justified, given Israels regional and local dominance militarily.
But that is beside the point. That Israelis perceive themselves to be endangered, for obvious reasons of history and geography, is entirely clear and in this respect perceptions matter: national security does not exist if a nation feels insecure. Shavit is surely right to say that any account that fails to understand both that fact and the fact of a forty-seven-year occupation cannot hope to get the Israel story right. The book delivers on that promise of duality. It provides, for example, a chapter on the danger posed by Iranian nuclear ambitions, endorsing with a full throat Netanyahus talk of the existential threat to Israel. It is an argument that aipac could happily reproduce as a campaigning document (and one that, incidentally, has long separated Shavit from many of his more skeptical. Curiously in a book that spans more than a century, it is this section on the current scene that comes across as one of the more dated. In view of usiranian talks on the nuclear issue and, more recently, the tacit cooperation between the two countries over the threat posed by the sunni organization isis in Iraq, such hard-line rhetoric on Iran sounds as lonely and out-of-step coming from Shavit. Hawkishness of that kind will duly antagonize dovish readers.
Movie: Which One portrays the Theme the best?
Brandeis was particularly impressed, as many would be for decades to come, by the then-embryonic kibbutz movement. As Judis writes of Brandeis in the second decade of the twentieth century, jews in Palestine were building the cooperative democracy that he wanted to create in the United States. There is a sour irony to the notion that the cause of zion once served as a bridge between Jews and the liberal left. These days it drives them apart. If the luminaries of liberal zionism have greeted. My promised Land with hotel enthusiasm, it is hardly a surprise. It articulates their creed perfectly. For what characterizes the liberal zionist, and what so infuriates opponents on left and right, is the insistence that two things, usually held to be in opposition, can both be true. So while, say, the left denounces settlements and the right highlights Israelis fears for their own security, the liberal zionist wants offer to do both, often at the same time.
In the United States, the liberal lions have also come to resemble an jealousy endangered species, for reasons that reflect those long-term shifts in Israel. As Peter beinart explained in a much-discussed essay in these pages in 2010, The failure of the American Jewish Establishment, the leadership of us jewry has adopted ever more hard-line, likud-friendly positions on Israel, which leave cold the emerging generation of young American Jews, whose. With a netanyahu-ist aipac leadership to their right and a new generation increasingly disengaged from Israel to their left, the liberal zionists can seem beached on a strip of land that is forever shrinking. At least one aspect of this used to be very different. Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli conflict, john. Judis notes that the founding fathers of American liberal zionism—chief among them the supreme court justice louis Brandeis—seized on the nascent cause of a jewish homeland in Palestine partly because it helped reconcile two aspects of their identity: their Jewishness and their liberal values. By supporting zionism, they were not only supporting a beleaguered, oppressed people fleeing Europe, they were also backing an experiment in collectivist living.
schmuck, would come in second. Which is not to say that. My promised Land has not won prominent admirers. It has, receiving praise from Thomas Friedman, leon wieseltier, jeffrey goldberg, david Remnick, and others. That fact is unlikely to trouble the critics. On the contrary, they will see praise for Shavit from that quarter as a simple act of group solidarity, the lions of liberal zionism huddling together in a pride. The squeezed nature of the liberal zionists position is hardly new, but in recent years the predicament has become more pronounced. The decline of the peace movement in Israel, along with the serial failures of the Israeli labor Party, has suggested a cause in retreat.
The treatment meted out to, my Promised Land, a personal history of Israel by Ari Shavit, a columnist for Israels left-leaning daily. Haaretz, is a case in point. The laptop warriors on both essay sides donned their familiar armor and set about attacking the book from right and left. Far from self-criticism, this is simply self-debasement, wrote the former World Jewish Congress official Isi leibler. The jerusalem Post, suggesting that among Shavits motives was an ingratiating desire to win endorsement from the liberal glitterati for whom debasement of the jewish state has become a key component of their liberal dna. Meanwhile, the leftist academic Norman. Finkelstein has devoted an entire, if short, book to taking down.
Which one is better: watching a movie or reading a book?
My promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit, spiegel and Grau, hotel 445.,.00. Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli conflict by john. Judis, farrar, Straus and Giroux, 432.,.00. Old Wine, broken Bottle: Ari Shavits Promised Land by norman. Finkelstein, or books,.,.00 (paper). Rina castelnuovo/The new York times/ReduxIsraeli soldiers on a hill overlooking an Israeli settlement in Ofra, the west Bank, 2001. In the toxic environment that characterizes much, if not most, debate on the conflict between Israel and the palestinians, a special poison is reserved for the liberal zionist. Such a person, who stands by Israel even as he yearns for it to change, is fated to be hated by both camps: hawkish zionists despise the liberal for going too far in his criticisms, accusing him of a hand-wringing betrayal of the cause that. The liberal zionist is branded either a hypocrite or an apologist or both.