Liberalism and Zionism – GJFIII

The Global Jewish Forum

Three times a year the Jewish Agency gathers Jewish leaders from around the world  for deep consideration of the pressing issues of the Jewish People. Makom designs and facilitates a day dedicated to moving beyond the communal headlines to examine the deep issues that drive them. At the GJF International Jewish leaders deliberately does not take decisions, but together decides to deliberate… Young committed adults sit around the table with institutional leaders, sharing perspectives and gaining understanding.

The 3nd Global Jewish Forum – Liberalism and Zionism

In 2010 Peter Beinart wrote an article about what he saw as Israel’s failing liberal credentials. Its most stinging line, refuted by some researchers yet endlessly quoted, touched a raw nerve: “For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door, and now, to their horror, they are finding that many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead.”

Since then the powerful and disruptive effect of and response to his consequent book has been impossible to ignore. Similar phenomena have arisen in Europe (JCall and Yahad), Australia (NIF and Limmud), and elsewhere.

At the third Global Jewish Forum on June 25th 2012 we chose to address what we see as three key issues revealed in these storms:

  1. For many Jews around the world Liberalism and Zionism are no longer automatically assumed to be compatible.
  2. Zionism is now judged and defined by Israel’s actions, not only by Zionist theory.
  3. The most painful conflicts in the Jewish world arise when Liberalism and Zionism seem to be at odds.

Through fascinating speakers, interactive presentations, and round-table discussions we explored ways in which reasonable discourse might replace painful conflict.

Here is the annotated video of Gadi Taub’s presentation on Liberalism and Zionism:

Here is the annotated video of Suzanne Last-Stone’s presentation on Liberalism and Judaism:

Here is the full presentation of Michael Sandel on the Law of Return and the Right of Return:

You can also download the source booklet here – for educational purposes only.

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