Circle of Pro-Israel Writers Rises

Shalem Center Boosted Right-of-Center Journalists

By Naomi Zeveloff

Published July 31, 2012, issue of August 03, 2012.
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They’re under 30, mostly right-of-center on Israel and writing for some of the pre-eminent publications in America.

A new crop of young pro-Israel writers is on the ascent. And many of them got their start at the same place: a collection of small university journals seeded by the Shalem Center, a prominent Zionist think tank in Israel.

The rising Middle East commentators include several alumni of Columbia University’s quarterly journal, The Current. Armin Rosen, for instance, is a fellow at Atlantic Media, where he recently penned an article attacking the anti-Zionist blog Mondoweiss for having the “appearance of an anti-Semitic enterprise.” David Feith, son of George W. Bush Pentagon appointee Douglas Feith, is an assistant editor at The Wall Street Journal, where he has inveighed against the Palestinian Fatah party, Israel’s negotiating and security partner in the occupied West Bank. Jordan Hirsch is an editor at the prestigious quarterly Foreign Affairs and recently defended the legacy of right-wing Zionist ideologue Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky in Tablet, an online Jewish magazine. And Bari Weiss, a senior editor at Tablet, has written for The Wall Street Journal about the Middle East and Israel.

All of these former Current editors declined to speak to the Forward.

Alumni from other Shalem-supported journals — who did speak to the Forward — have also made names for themselves writing about Israel and Judaism, though not always from a right-of-center perspective. Zvika Krieger, founder of the Yale Israel Journal, is senior vice president of The S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace and is a correspondent for The Atlantic. And Sarah Breger, who started a journal called Kedma at the University of Pennsylvania, is the managing editor of Moment magazine.

“In a sense, these people have become young, influential voices in their communities,” said Tanya Strusberg, who ran the campus affairs program at Shalem from 2007 to 2008.

That the Shalem Center was the early nurturing ground for a cohort of rising stars of pro-Israel journalism is a happy coincidence, Strusberg said. The goal of Shalem’s student journals program was to provide an outlet for Jewish pro-Israel voices on college campuses, not necessarily to spawn a new generation of professional Israel advocates.


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