Jonathan Rosen's review of Richard Ben Cramer's How Israel Lost
Jonathan Rosen is editorial director of Nextbook, an organization devoted to Jewish culture and ideas. His new novel, "Joy Comes in the Morning," will be published in September.
in today's BOOKS OF THE TIMES
Mr. Cramer's unnatural standard for Israel implies that the country's failure to create a utopia, however high its aspirations, delegitimizes its existence — as if the year were still 1947, and the jury were still out on statehood. This impression is reinforced by Mr. Cramer's habit of referring to Israelis, in the manner of rejectionist Arab states, as "the Jews."
And what does he think of "the Jews"? Mr. Cramer professes blanket enthusiasm: "I love the Jews for being so ably mercantile, agile and glibly hucksterish." It was love like this that helped create Zionism in the first place.
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