By the time you read this, the Great Debate may already have taken place. No matter. The issues will be around long after the hall at the Kraft Center at Columbia empties on Wednesday evening, May 2nd.
One of the contenders davens at an Orthodox shul. He is not the one for whom most of our readers will be rooting. Peter Beinart is not just an irritant. He is an irritant equipped with media power. His op-eds land where he wants them. He controls an entire section of The Daily Beast (called Open Zion) from which he can conduct his campaign to save Israel through tough love. Meaning, among other things, calling for a selective boycott of Israeli products, which puts him in bed with the worst of the Palestinian Israel-haters. (They don’t like him any more than I do, because he implies that there is such a thing as a progressive, liberated Zionism. This thought is anathema to the current crop of Palestinian leadership, which dumped the idea of a two-state solution a few years ago, and forgot to inform the benighted leadership of some mainline Protestant denominations, who are also contemplating selective boycotts of Israel as a sign of their great love for Israel and Jews.)
The other contender is Daniel Gordis, arguably one of the most talented and effective advocates for Israel, period. I am not alone in rating his handling of Beinart’s new book, The Crisis of Zionism, as far and away the best of the lot.
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