Liberal Zionism Today

The New York Times
Steven Bayme
August 30, 2014


To the Editor:

Re “The End of Liberal Zionism” (Sunday Review, Aug. 24): Antony Lerman’s view of Zionism ignores Israel’s commitments to preserving core liberties and the rule of law for all. Freedom of expression continues without hindrance. Witness, for example, Israeli editorial pages and the public dissent of many Israeli intellectuals.

Mr. Lerman disregards the context of what Israel confronts. Hamas rejects any prospect of peaceful coexistence, defines all of Israel, not only territories conquered in 1967, as “occupied Palestine,” celebrates terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians, and its covenant, unamended since its adoption in 1988, embraces overt expressions of anti-Semitism. Successive Israeli governments have repeatedly called for creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel only to meet with Palestinian rejectionists more committed to Israel’s destruction than to realizing Palestinian sovereignty.

Hamas rocket attacks upon Israeli towns and civilians, and tunnels for terrorist infiltration into Israel, started this round of conflict. Israel, like any other nation-state, must do what is necessary to protect its citizens.

In place of the two-state solution, Mr. Lerman urges creation of a single binational state. He concedes that option will connote the end of the Zionist dream while leaving unstated whether such a state may result in Balkan-style ethnic and religious clashes between civilian populations. That is a price Zionists and supporters of Israel of all stripes will never be prepared to pay.

Director, Contemporary Jewish Life
American Jewish Committee
New York, Aug. 24, 2014

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