Me & The Daily Beast – a thing that’s really happening.

So.

Peter Beinart, columnist at The Daily Beast (Newsweek’s online presence) and author of The Icarus Syndrome and the up-coming The Crisis of Zionism (and, not incidentally, of a cri de couer entitled “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment” that set the American Jewish world on its ear when the New York Review of Books ran it in June 2010, in that it told the truth that no one wanted to talk about) is launching a new group blog, called Zion Square, to be hosted on The Daily Beast.

I’m one of the columnists.

Ahem.

This is very cool. This is very, very cool, and in many ways, is the very thing I’ve been trying to achieve since I started writing op/eds in 2002, post-graduate school.

And I was hardly even talking about it, though it’s been in the works for a month or so, because as an old school reporter, I know that your story isn’t safe until it’s on someone’s doorstep (or, in this case, computer monitor) and why on earth would I want to jinx this? So, you know: Mum = the word!

But Tablet Magazine ran a piece about the project today, and, well – if it’s online, it must be true, right? Here’s what they said:

“I find very little interesting conversation about what Zionism is,” Peter Beinart, the former New Republic editor who has emerged in recent years as one of the most prominent center-left commentators on foreign policy, and especially Israel, told Tablet Magazine yesterday. “The term has become so politicized and associated with the right that this is a moment where the question of what Zionism is and the variety of different Zionisms that can exist really needs to be discussed.” The place he hopes this “intellectually open and unafraid” discussion will occur is Zion Square, his new group blog at The Daily Beast, which launches Monday.

According to Beinart, most of Zion Square’s contributors broadly share his belief in “the Jewish democratic state, based upon the principles of Israel’s declaration of independence,” alongside a Palestinian state….

Among Zion Square’s ten regular columnists, only one would commonly be thought of as offering a right-of-center perspective—the Israeli Benny Morris. The rest are: Bernard Avishai, Lara Friedman, Gershom Gorenberg, Emily L. Hauser, Hussein Ibish, Yehudah Mirsky, Yousef Munayyer, Trita Parsi, and Einat Wilf.

Friedman, of Americans for Peace Now, might be the farthest left (APN, for example, advocates boycotts of goods made in the occupied territories but not Israel). Mirsky, rabbinically ordained and concerned as much with Jewish identity as politics, could also be considered center to center-right. Gorenberg’s recent The Unmaking of Israel is, in my opinion, a fantastic book. Wilf is the only professional politician, a member of the Knesset from Ehud Barak’s Independence Party. And Parsi might prove the most controversial selection: the president of the National Iranian American Council, he has become a lightning rod in the Iran debate, criticized by the right for an allegedly overly credulous view of Iranian willingness to back away from a nuclear program.

Beinart is particularly excited to have voices from the Arab world, including Ibish, who is Lebanese, and Munayyer, who is Palestinian (and he noted that Parsi is Iranian). “One of the defining characteristics of the organized Jewish community’s discussion is the Palestinian voices rarely have a chance to be heard by a Jewish audience,” he argued. The ways in which the organized Jewish community narrow American discussion of Israel is a theme of Beinart’s book, which will be excerpted in Monday’s Newsweek (The Daily Beast’s print counterpart), as well as of the widely read essay he published nearly two years ago, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.”

I’ll note two things:

  1. I am every bit as left-wing at Lara Friedman! C’mon now, Tablet!
  2. Trita Parsi was interviewed on The Daily Show last night. I’m going to be blogging with the guy who Jon Stewart interviewed last night. /faints
  3. (okay, three things) Every name on that list but mine is well known in my circles – I’m currently envisioning a lot of people going “Emily L. – who, now?”

Aside from my excitement about mememememe, though, it should also be noted that the project is terrific and exciting, on it’s own, un-me related merits! These are conversations that anyone with a stake in Israel needs to be having, and I’m very grateful to be able to play a part.

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45 Comments

  1. Ash Can

     /  March 9, 2012

    Whee! Congrats!!

  2. This is terrific news. You deserve every bit of this opportunity, now go kick some ass!

  3. Holy cow. Congratulations, Emily, that is fantastic.

    I saw the headline “Me & The Daily Beast” and expected to read a trenchant critique of some aspect of their approach to journalism that I’d missed. How nice that this post turned out to reflect so well on them!

    Enjoy yourself there! The debate within American Zionism– like the minimal appeal to Catholics of Santorumite Catholicism– is all too overlooked in the media. Glad to see that you’ll be helping improve our discourse in that regard.

  4. corkingiron

     /  March 9, 2012

    This is cool – and Canadians know from cool!

  5. Lise

     /  March 9, 2012

    You earned your place at this table over years and years of dedication and blood, sweat, and tears. I am so proud of you, and looking forward to seeing the fruits of this new endeavor!

  6. Thanks everyone! : )

  7. helensprogeny

     /  March 9, 2012

    Several things:

    1. This, and you, are fucking AWESOME!!. Seriously, between you and KCox, the WomanPower in the room is off the charts. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    2. Snoopy is going to be very, very tired after all the dancing he’s going to be doing over this.

    3. You’re gonna need a bigger lounge. Just sayin’.

    4. Everything Lise said. You’ve worked really hard for this and you obviously have things to say that we all need to hear as part of this grand conversation. I hope you enjoy every freakin’ minute of it. I have every reason to believe that we will.

  8. Sigh…everyone I know is graduating onto bigger things except me… (It’s all about me, you know.)

    Seriously, though – CONGRATULATIONS. I’m very, very happy for you – not only more exposure, but I expect more satisfaction and joy.

    Good on you, my friend.

    • helensprogeny

       /  March 9, 2012

      Oh, dude. You can take consolation in the fact that I am not only treading water, I am apparently going backward in certain respects. Just lately here, I’ve been feeling old, tired, finished and a failure. None of which is strictly or even slightly accurate (except the tired part – that’s completely true). But some days it seems I will never find my place, and time is running out.

      Also too, how can you say you’re not graduating to bigger things? Your novel is about to win a major contest….

      • PLEASE BE MY VALENTINE

        I sure hope so. I’m taking it with me on my trip so I can edit. (If I keep saying that, maybe I will edit it.)

        There are moments I really like it. And moments when I despise the sucker.

        • You’re taking it to Luxembourg… to edit it?

          You don’t have much faith in the charms of Luxembourg, do you?

          • I was thinking I would have these idle times to sit out on the balcony in the sun, with a coffee and an eclair, and just think.

            We’ll see. I’m prepared for all eventualities.

            • It’s 7 am now. How do I know?

              All the church bells are ringing.

              I can say that of all the experiences of Luxembourg, this is the most unexpected. I was staying in a different part of the city last time, and in a modern hotel with soundproof walls and windows.

              This time I’m in a far older building, and the sound of the bells carries through the windows. When I opened them to listen better, I could feel the bells’ reverberation.

              I can say that this has been the most significant thing to make me feel that I’m in Europe – the bells, the silence at 7 am, and the sense that it is a very old place.

  9. SQUEEEEE. *snoopy dance!!!!!*

  10. caoil

     /  March 9, 2012

    Yippee! I hope it brings you lots of positive things!

    And 0 trolls.

  11. Congratulations, Mizz Emily! This is MOST excellent news.

    You do understand, however, that as full-hearted as many of us are for you, one or two of us might just be a teeny tiny itty bitty li’l bit . . . no, I wouldn’t say. . . oh, jealous, exactly, but, y’know, (((inadequate))).

    Not me, though, nope. I am thoroughly and unreservedly happy for you. You deserve this.

  12. Dex

     /  March 9, 2012

    Unbelievably awesome. You earned every little bit of this, you did. I’ve only been able to see you over the last two years or so, but it’s been amazing to watch your writing and following grow. The effort and dedication that I’ve seen you put into this whole endeavor has been a pleasure to behold.

    Best of luck with the new gig, not that you’ll need it. I know you’ll knock ‘em dead.

    Congratulations.

  13. wearyvoter

     /  March 9, 2012

    Congratulations! And woot!

  14. Darth Thulhu

     /  March 9, 2012

    Congratulations once more. You’ve earned it. If you can get some well-deserved resonance with the other Beast blogs, your views could explode into a much broader audience and impact. Hopes and prayers for you.

    And I keep reading your selfish focus bit as me-meme-meme-me-meme-meme-me. You are a person; you are a thought-virus; you contain multitudes :-)

    Congratulations, again.

  15. socioprof

     /  March 9, 2012

    Those folks at the Daily Beast are in for a treat. A passionate, reasoned, insightful, and informative treat. Your fellow bloggers are in wonderful company.

    BTW, I used to teach using an article Ibish wrote prior to 9/11 and that reading and his concerns with the depictions and perceptions of Muslims and Arabs in the US was one of the first things that came to mind that day.

  16. dmf

     /  March 9, 2012

    well deserved and hopefully some day well compensated, congrats

  17. Bookwoman

     /  March 10, 2012

    And we knew you when. Marvelous news, and congratulations!

  18. Congratulations, Emily! I now have something else to follow religiously.

  19. Congratulations!

  20. OMG, this is awesome news!

  21. M.

     /  March 10, 2012

    Congrats! Always terrific to have a writer recognized for her work!

  22. I think this – “The term has become so politicized and associated with the right that this is a moment where the question of what Zionism is and the variety of different Zionisms that can exist really needs to be discussed.” – is remarkable. To my understanding, he asserts that the “right” has absconded with the term but unfairly. Of course, it could be that the “left”, and especially the progressive camo of such is trying to abscond with the term very unfairly so much so that classic Zionist activity, instead of becoming simply a matter for dispute as to when and where, is villified as outside of Zionism. An example: my residency in Shiloh. Instead of a debate, we get delegitimization. Where will the new blog place itself? Having been reading most of the bloggers, what can I say but oiy-vey.

  23. I am so excited that this project is happening, and then come to find out YOU ARE PART OF IT! What excellent news! I mean, it’s nice for you and all, but for me as a reader (and a left-wing not-especially-Zionist secular Jew) this is super-fabulous.

    (Seriously, mazel tov! Hurrah for YOU! YAY!)

  24. Late to the party as always, but many congratulations! Look forward to reading.

  25. So I’m stuck here in Schiphol Airport – my flight delay from Seattle meant I missed my connecting flight, and the next one isn’t for six hours.

    There is no Horde here. There is, however, a cheerful automated greeting to “Mind Your Step” every 15 seconds. I’m going crazy. I’ve tried all the libation bars. I don’t think I just want to eat. My cellphone’s dead (charger is in suitcase, packed away), and my laptop won’t play any of my US music because I’m in Europe.

    Grrr.

    But HAPPINESS TO YOU.

    (In lieu of an open thread, I brought my griefs to bear here.)

    • helensprogeny

       /  March 11, 2012

      “There is no Horde here”….The Horde is Everywhere. The Horde cannot be escaped, not even in Europe. Peace and happier trails.

      • I swear I was about to go nuts. The only charging station was way-y-y-y-y-y-y down at one end of the terminal. And as I only had one converter, I could only charge one thing at a time. And as a convenience to weary travelers, there’s no place to sit near the charging stations. You have to stand the entire time, or sit on the floor.

        Oh well, I’m in my room now, I’m going to go get dinner, and all’s right with the world.

        • OK, my dinner just made up for my whining.

          A caesar salad – but what a salad. A large flat bowl, with the wide rim sprinkled with chopped scallions and tomatoes, and eight sections from a freshly hard-boiled duck egg. The salad itself has a rich dressing, but it is also mounded with cold, garlicy grilled chicken, and then covered with large curls of a hard cheese something like parmesan, but it’s not parmesan.

          I need to take pictures of these meals.

      • caoil

         /  March 11, 2012

        We’re a bit like the Borg in that respect, though better-dressed.

  26. Fleem

     /  March 11, 2012

    Coming out of lurk mode to wish you congratulations! Congratulations!

  27. taylor16

     /  March 11, 2012

    Okay, I’m a couple of days late (although I’ll note that I already saw the announcement on the Horde Facebook page and congratulated you there … a place where you are not. :) So, in the interest of actually communicating my congratulations *to you* … congratulations!!!!!!!!

  28. Hicks

     /  March 11, 2012

    Serious serious congratulations are in order because this is awesome.

  29. THANKS TO EVERYBODY ELSE, TOO!!

  30. nm

     /  March 12, 2012

    Wow, that’s great. You deserve it, and the discussion deserves all the public attention it can get, so it’s win-win.

  31. Congratulations! That’s very cool.

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