Debating the Relevance of Zionism for American Jews

Also in the soon to be launched magazine Jewcy, David Shneer and Stefan Kanfer debate the relevance of Zionism for American Jews.

As we prepared to launch Jewcy, a slew of well-respected journalists, editors, and even Jewish educators offered us the same advice: your demographic does not want to read about Israel. They don’t care. They’re not interested.

What’s so compelling, after all, about an alternative homeland when you’re content with the one you have? As British journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft writes in The Controversy of Zion, “Jewry as a whole was converted to Zionism not by arguments but by events.” The Shoah converted Western Jewry to Zionism en masse after decades of passionate argument had failed to do so. But today’s young American Jews no longer feel the sting of antisemitism and find it difficult to contemplate a world in which the Holocaust is possible.

Is Zionism still relevant to the American Jew? Debating that question for Jewcy are University of Denver history professor David Shneer and Stefan Kanfer, a former editor at Time and a contributing editor at the conservative quarterly City Journal. For the next four days we will post one e-mail per day from each.