As part of the Tikvah Fund and Hertog Foundation’s Advanced Institute, “Is Israel Alone?,” Roger Hertog sat down with syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer to revisit Dr. Krauthammer’s legendary article for the fiftieth anniversary of Israeli independence. Published in The Weekly Standard, “At Last, Zion,” described the achievement of Israel’s founders within the full scope of Jewish history, arguing that the Jews had traded the vulnerabilities of Diaspora life—assimilation and discrimination—for new vulnerabilities, namely that the security threats arrayed against the new nation state risked a new kind of extermination. Though much has changed in the nearly two decades since Dr. Krauthammer’s essay, Israel still faces extraordinary security risks. Its demise would constitute the greatest tragedy yet in Jewish history.
In this conversation, Dr. Krauthammer surveys Israel’s many threats, from Iran’s nuclear program to the European embrace of BDS. With his characteristic wit, Dr. Krauthammer analyzes the strategic choices for the United States, Israel, and the American Jewish community. In particular, Dr. Krauthammer devotes much of the discussion to the unique forces in the politics of American Judaism: Jewish leftism, pro-Israel evangelicals, charges of dual loyalty, intermarriage, and the like. The discussion ends on a theological note, as Dr. Krauthammer reflects on the moral obligations of Zionism and on his own theology of trembling doubt.
The full video, which was recorded before a small group of Americans and Israelis on December 18, 2015, is below. It can be watched in full or in thematic chapters that are linked below. A transcript of the discussion is available here.
All Tikvah videos are available as podcasts. You can subscribe and download this recording in the iTunes Store, stream via Stitcher, or download it directly.
Chapter I: The Future of the US-Israel Relationship
Chapter II: The Politics of American Jews
Chapter III: Jewish-Christian Relations
Chapter IV: Israel’s Grand Strategy
Chapter V: Zionism and Theology