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We are a bit late to the controversy surrounding an essay, “After Zionist Summer Camp,” penned by a young woman named Allison Benedikt in an obscure online magazine called The Awl.
It’s startling to read Benedikt’s bitter, angry, indeed hateful comments about Israel. As Goldberg points out, the writing style is “faux-naïve” and “sad.” Tracy says Benedikt is the “Wicked Child” of the Passover Seder. The increasing alienation of young adult American Jews from the state of Israel is a documented trend, and we have to wonder to what extent the troubling sentiments Benedikt expresses in her piece are shared by others. How much of what she says is mere extreme left-wing rhetoric, offensive, irritating but conventional? How much of it represents a worrisome trend in attitudes among other young American Jews?
We continue to make the case that Israeli officials need to understand what’s going on inside the American community, both the good things and the bad, like the “Benedikt Controversy.” Perhaps this issue is something for the Ruderman Fellows to consider when they return to the U.S. in 2012.