Jewish American opinion on Israel is changing. Peter Beinart is one of the people leading the change.

A recent New York Times Magazine article discussed how many young American Jews are starting to rethink their views about Zionism and the State of Israel. Peter Beinart, an Orthodox Jew, is one of them. Formerly a well known supporter of the idea of a two state solution, he has changed his mind and has engaged in a public debate with fellow Jewish Americans over the basic idea of a “Jewish State”. CTIP speaks to Beinart about his changing views, and how he approaches a very difficult conversation. Read more.

“We desperately want a safe place for Jews. We know they tried to wipe us out so recently. but why does a safe homeland for us mean the subjugation of another? How can we justify supremacy when we’ve time and again been the victims of it?” tweeted an anguished Marisa Kabas of Brooklyn, New York.

The Black Lives Matter movement has caused many Americans to reflect on questions of Ethnic supremacy and domination not just in America but around the world including in Israel/Palestine.

One person who has been playing a leading role in encouraging American Jews to reconsider their understanding of the Israel/Palestine conflict is Peter Beinart, a professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York.

Beinart seems to be everywhere these days – debating in synagogues, on the pages of the New York Times, and even on CNN. CTIP recently interviewed Beinart about how he approaches the difficult task of changing people’s minds.

In the video, Beinart talks about three of the vehicles he uses to “broaden and deepen” the debate about Israel/Palestine among Jewish Americans and among Americans more broadly. They are all worth checking out.

  1. The Beinart “Notebook” is both a newsletter and a weekly one hour roundtable moderated by Beinart, often with a notable guest. The roundtable includes a middle sized group, mostly of progressive Jewish Americans, though some non Jews and non Americans are also involved. The “archive” shows that guests have included Palestinians like Omar Barghouti, Rashid Khalidi, progressive Jews like Noam Chomsky, conservative Jews and well informed insiders like Ben Rhodes, a senior official in the Obama White House. The Beinart Notebook is by subscription and costs about $100 Canadian a year.
  2. Beinart is also editor-at-large of Jewish Currents a New York based magazine which describes itself as ” a magazine committed to the rich tradition of thought, activism, and culture of the Jewish left, and the left more broadly.” Jewish Currents publishes a weekly digital newsletter on a range of topics – from the pandemic to “wokeness”. Many of the articles deal with the Israel/Palestine issue and how the debate is taking place among American Jews. The weekly digital newsletter is free on subscription.
  3. Thirdly, Beinart is also Non-Resident Fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, where he is also called on to moderate webinars on the Israel/Palestine issue. One of his recent webinars was with 3 generations of Palestinian women talking about their own experience of the Nakba – from 1947 to today. A full list of FMEP webinars and podcasts can be found here. FMEP also produces a weekly summary of news and analysis from Israel and Palestine.

As if those activities were not enough to keep him busy, Beinart also recently met with the Advisory Council of the Ottawa Forum on Israel-Palestine, where he discussed his own gradual shift in perspective away from the notion of a two state solution to one based on equality for all. A video recording of that fascinating discussion can be found here.

Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.

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  1. I believe Beinart’s work is important to create space for genuine discussion and developing bold and fresh ideas to transform the apartheid Israeli political system. Beinart looks happy and full of peace and that’s the kind of energy we need. Thanks CTIP & Peter for the interview.

  2. Hi Peter. Thanks so much for this . Indeed Mr. Beinart appears as a very friendly and humble fellow and that his approach seems to align with the CTIP motto ” Raise the issue but lower the temperature” .

  3. ijv

    On Sat, Jan 22, 2022 at 1:41 PM Canada Talks Israel/Palestine wrote:

    > Peter Larson posted: ” A recent New York Times Magazine article discussed > how many young American Jews are starting to rethink their views about > Zionism and the State of Israel. Peter Beinart, an Orthodox Jew, is one of > them. Formerly a well known supporter of the idea” >

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