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Tony Kushner, Post-Zionist Mascot

The standard-bearer for the Jewish left?

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Kushner at the 2004 Emmy awards.(Getty Images)

American Jews are shifting their “mental models” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict away from unquestioning support of Israel, according to Merle Lefkoff, president of the Santa Fe-based Madrona Institute, which apparently applies “the science of Complexity to the transformation of peacemaking and diplomacy.” Of course, that’s been happening for years, but Lefkoff says recent news from the occupied territories—especially the recent Gaza war—has brought things to a tipping point. So what’s the pole people are moving toward? Apparently, she says, it’s Tony Kushner, whom she quotes as an advocate of a pluralist, democratic, but not necessarily “Jewish” Israeli state. Whether or not that’s really where American Jewish opinion is going—Lefkoff provides plenty of evidence that as recently as three years ago the American Jewish right wing didn’t like Kushner, but she doesn’t provide any that they do now—there’s the bigger question of, why Kushner? He’s a political playwright, sure, but his most extensive work on Israel-Palestine is an essay collection he edited six years ago. Maybe Lefkoff chose him precisely because he’s not a political guru or a religious leader but instead an extraordinary writer who’s something of an ordinary lefty Jew. Or maybe, in keeping with the New Age vibe of her institute, she just decided he’s the keeper of the Jewish left’s neshama.

Israel’s Angels in America
Related: Cosmos of Kushner, Spinning Forward [NYT]

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Tony Kushner, Post-Zionist Mascot

The standard-bearer for the Jewish left?

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