The Tide is Turning
It's no surprise that Peter Beinart's devastating indictment of the American Jewish establishment's leadership on Israel has made him the target of a feeding frenzy of personal and professional vitriol. It's a trademark tactic of the very forces Beinart indicts that they find it easier to engage in ad hominem attacks than to grapple with the difficulty of Israel's present predicament in the Middle East and its impact on Jews around the world.
Yet, thankfully, more and more American Jews -- and in fact Jews worldwide -- are beginning to recognize the need to act boldly and immediately to change the course of history before it is too late - either for Israel as a Jewish, democratic home or for the traditionally liberal Jewish community.
We see evidence of a growing global movement of reason and moderation in the launch of J Street, in the new European effort J Call, in the eloquent petition launched recently called For the Sake of Zion and in the growing movement of young Israelis protesting extremist settler evictions of Arab families in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem.
Slowly, surely, we see the emergence of alternative voices speaking for the part of the American Jewish community desperately hoping to salvage the very middle ground that Beinart artfully demonstrates is rapidly eroding.
Peter's noble voice and scathing analysis only add to the blaring alarm sounding at full volume across the worldwide Jewish community, warning that hope is running out for saving the democratic and Jewish character of the state of Israel before we've reached the point of no return.
Is it not the ultimate irony that the response of the very establishment that Peter is calling out is once again to avoid addressing the fundamental questions staring them in the face and to engage in a campaign of personal and professional attack?
The heart and soul of the Jewish community is at stake at this very moment. If the present leadership and institutions of our community will not rise to the challenge and speak out for the very best of what we stand for as a people -- then I urge all who hear the alarm to join in the creation of the alternative voices, institutions and leadership that are needed to challenge them.
Jeremy Ben-Ami is president of J Street.