Among the earliest leaders of Zionism were several rabbis who went on to become some of Theodor Herzl’s most dedicated supporters. They eschewed the talk of creating “a new Jew” or revolutionizing Judaism that came from some Zionist thinkers, seeing such an approach as a threat to Orthodoxy. Instead, they saw the movement in practical terms as a way of ensuring the Jews’ physical survival. But this all changed with Abraham Isaac Kook, an Orthodox thinker who argued that Zionism was part of the divine plan and who laid out a vision of the rejuvenation of Judaism. Micah Goodman explains these ideas, how Kook’s ideology rose to prominence in the 1970s, and the threat to these ideas posed by the 2005 disengagement from Gaza. (Video, 70 minutes. Audio is available for streaming and download at the link below.)
How Religious Zionism Was Transformed from a Political Movement to a Messianic One
President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict
In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.
Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:
In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.
Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?