Image 01 Image 03

Slate Editor takes her childhood Zionist regrets out on dead Israeli “lone soldier”

Slate Editor takes her childhood Zionist regrets out on dead Israeli “lone soldier”

Sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all.

Allison Benedikt regrets her Zionist upbringing, and pro-Israeli Jews, so much so that in 2011 she wrote a curious self-absorbed analysis of her journey, and how she went from proud Zionist youth to being disgusted with Israel, Life After Zionist Summer Camp, including some awkward personal details:

John [Cook, formerly of Gawker now of The Intercept] fills my head with allllllllllllll kinds of bullshit. Stuff about the Israelis being occupiers, about Israel not being a real democracy, about the dangers of ethnic nationalism—a term I really hadn’t heard applied to Israel before. (Okay, fine, I hadn’t heard it at all.) My parents worry that I’m being brainwashed. We get in huge fights on the same topic over and over again and have terribly awkward dinners where John insists on bringing up Israel and pissing off my Mom. I act as moderator and it is the worst. John buys every book about Israel that’s ever been published, and then reads them all so he can win any argument with my family. What he doesn’t realize is that my parents don’t do facts on this issue. They do feelings. Israel is who they are. Gradually, and then also all of a sudden, it’s no longer who I am—and I am angry…..

John and I have two kids of our own and are raising them as Jews. Most of my Jewish friends are disgusted with Israel. It seems my trajectory is not at all unique. My best memories from childhood are from camp, and I will never, ever send my kids there.

You can read the rest. It sparked a mini-firestorm.

So be it. But Benedikt is now an Editor at and is taking her Zionist childhood regrets out on a dead Israeli “lone soldier,” Max Steinberg from Los Angeles.

Lone Soldier” is a term applied to non-Israelis who go to Israel to serve in the IDF. Typically these lone soldiers are American Jews, who do so out of a sense that threats to Israel are threats to Jews everywhere. This does not necessarily even involve emigration to Israel; lone soldiers often return to the United States after service (I’ve known many).

Why do lone soldiers not just join the U.S. military? For those I’ve known, it’s been a sense that serving in the Israeli military puts them directly on the front line against violent Jew haters, not out of any disrespect for the United States. It’s where the fight against anti-Semitism is most real.

Steinberg’s desire to move to Israel was ignited during a Birthright trip to Israel — a group that takes young Jewish youth to Israel for about 10 days. The goal of Birthright is to establish a connection between Jewish youth and Israel, something which is needed considering how hostile much of the educational system has become to Israel.

Steinberg’s mother recounted to The Washington Post:

Max Steinberg never wanted to step foot on Israeli soil.

In early 2012, Steinberg’s siblings, Jake and Paige, were planning to take a free 10-day trip to Israel sponsored by a private foundation, but Max wasn’t interested.

“Max didn’t want to go at first,” his mother said in an interview Monday, adding that when her son made up his mind about something, it was usually hard to convince him otherwise.

Still, the family tried; it was a free trip to Israel, relatives told him, so why not go? Eventually, he changed his mind — and his life would never be the same.

By the fall of 2012, Steinberg would move to Israel and become a sharpshooter in one of the Israel Defense Forces’ most elite units, the Golani Brigade. On Sunday, he was killed — one of two Americans to die on the deadliest day of the ongoing Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Evie and Stuart Steinberg, his parents, are now preparing to take their own first trip to Israel, in some ways retracing their son’s steps.

Steinberg was honored in Israel, as tens of thousands of Israelis joined his parents in mourning his death:

Israeli lone soldier Sean Carmeli received a similar outpouring of support at his funeral in Israel.

But Benedikt couldn’t leave it alone, couldn’t let the family grieve. She had to take her childhood Zionist regrets out on him in a hideous article at Slate, blaming Birthright for brainwashing a supposedly lost and misguided young man:

There are many people to blame for Steinberg’s death. There is the Hamas fighter behind the weapon that actually killed him. There are the leaders, on both sides, who put him in Gaza, and the leaders behind all of the wars between Israel and the Palestinians. I can trace it back to 1948, or 1917, or whatever date suits you and still never find all the parties who are responsible. But I have no doubt in my mind that along with all of them, Birthright shares some measure of the blame….

What makes an American kid with shaky Hebrew and no ties to the state of Israel suddenly decide he is ready to make this sacrifice? Maybe Max was especially lost, or especially susceptible, or maybe he was just looking to do some good and became convinced by his Birthright experience that putting on an IDF uniform and grabbing a gun was the way to do it. That serving and protecting the Jewish people was the moral thing to do, and that the best way to accomplish it was to go fight for the Jewish state. It turns out that it’s not that hard to persuade young people to see the world a certain way and that Birthright is very good at doing it. You spend hundreds of millions of dollars to convince young Jews that they are deeply connected to a country that desperately needs their support? This is what you get.

Haviv Gur at The Times of Israel dissects Benedikt’s arguments and numbers about Birthright.

Benedikt doesn’t need a statistics lesson. She needs to examine what it is in her that makes her take her frustrations out on a dead Israeli lone soldier.

Steinberg, and people like him, are what stands between the Jewish people and mobs who shout for the death of Jews.

Lone soldiers like Max Steinberg and Sean Carmeli are of blessed memory.

When Benedikt wrote her original Zionist transition narrative, Jeffrey Goldberg noted:

This is actually a very sad little essay that says more about the writer, who seems to have exchanged one simplistic narrative for another, than it does about Zionism or Israel.

Still true, still true.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



Also sad is that the woman probably knows next to nothing about Islam; and without at least a sense of what non-Muslims are up against, and how a strong sense of culture is required to preserve the best of the West, you cannot begin to understand what the fight in Israel is about.

People like this claim to have a heart, but the reality is that it’s missing.

Justice…metaphysical justice…will have Benedikt’s children proudly and bravely serving under arms to prevent the triumph of evil.

And she will never understand. And THAT is justice.

    C. Lashown in reply to Ragspierre. | July 23, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    I wonder what would happen if she did understand? What would happen if her personal information were posted on multiple Muslim forum sites. Her children threatened, her job location threatened, her domicile compromised – both her and her entire family under threat 24/7 – what would her voracious words be then?

    I think she can only sing the tune she sings because of a false sense of security. In less than two decades, when her own children are young adults, sharia law be the terror that knocks on her door – tyranny is marching over the horizon. What song will she sing then? Will she run to Israel for refuge? Ya, I think she will… If there still is an Israel: a refuge in the storm. A stone in the shifting sands of the desert, casting a shadow from the heat of the sun.

Ms. Benedikt is seriously confused. On many levels.

Benedikt hasn’t earned the right to regret anything, let alone write about it from the comfort and security of America while Jews everywhere are faced with the prospect of 21st century pogrom.

Her self-loathing and inability to distinguish good from evil is conversely responsible for legitimizing the the various genocidal caliphates that are threatening all of modern human civilization.

She and her kind can talk to the Iron Dome.

It is heartbreaking to hear of these bold young men lost to us in the great battle of Life, its culture and hope, versus Death, those whose culture and choices make Death more than life.

There was a young man only a few years ago who was killed in Southern Lebanon, fighting for Israel in an IDF elite unit. In his memory his family established a support group for these brave souls who come from outside to stand with Israel in the duties of those who bear arms and employ tactics of warfare to preserve and protect Israel, the people and the nation.

That organization is the “The Lone Soldier Center”, its web site is at:

Ok, so she married an a$$hole and bought into his nonsense in order to keep peace in her home. Given a choice between losing one’s mind and losing one’s marriage, a self-respecting woman will lose the marriage.

DINORightMarie | July 23, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Sounds like this guy John (her husband?) brainwashing worked.

I agree with the end statement of Jeffrey Goldberg – she is the one who has serious issues.

Allison is an example of what happens when the right position not only is presented based on “feelings” instead of facts, but also is harped on ad nauseam, and the implicit demand is made that it be adopted “because” — no discussion or questioning allowed, no concessions even for small points. I know many families like hers, with similar outcomes, on a variety of hot button issues, tradition, religion and so forth. When you wind a spring too tightly it doesn’t take much for it to jump way over to the wrong side.

BannedbytheGuardian | July 23, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Does this man have dual citizenship ?

Duals are a problem?Ok when everything is hunky dory & peace is widespread & far off wars don’t affect us .However it is not always so . Young men can be required to do military service in the other dual eg Croatia for example.

The religious aspect is tricky also .Many Muslims are in Syria/Iraq for the very same reason – they believe their religious sensitivities are being threatened . Of course it is terrorism if the government does not agree eg the UK but that was after the UK Did agree & were wanting to fund & train a 100,000 army of such depose Assad & take over Syria .

There can be a definite problem to explain how they are different .

BannedbytheGuardian | July 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Ps . in the early 90s I saw this painted on the local children’s playground equipment.

Serbs Will Die Like The Jews .

We always had bands of Croatians among the locals who trained in the forests for the big day when they could return & kill Serbs. No doubt grandpa was Ustashi fled amongst the greAt humanitarian refugee outflow. I have no doubt these Croats would take up arms against Jews again although in Europe not the ME . That sign was like a ghost ship sailing in from the past .

Howard Roark | July 24, 2014 at 1:00 am

Allison Benedickt should ask where is an LGBT couple safer?
Ramallah or Tel Aviv?

As a proud liberal Benedickt knows the answer to that question says whether the Arab towns, or the Jewish towns or more tolerant.

I know I can find Arabs in every Israeli city, the Knesset, the Supreme Court and almost every medium and large business . I also know there are zero Jewish residents in Gaza. A Jew who visits the wrong neighborhood may be severely beaten.

There are gay Jews and gay Arab Palestinians. One might hear insults and criticism if they are out. The other is likely to be executed if they are out in in Fatah or Hamas controlled areas.

More Jewish guilt. Self-hating.

theduchessofkitty | July 24, 2014 at 1:55 am

Benedickt should pray that Max Steinberg’s parents NEVER get to read her disgusting article. The face-slapping they would give her in return would hurt – all the way to China.

(I’m not Jewish, but speaking ill of a dead young man like that?!? That’s beyond the bounds of decency.)

Freddie Sykes | July 24, 2014 at 6:52 am

Before the fact, one could have argued whether or not the UN should create the state of Israel – that was one of the themes of the wonderful book “The Chosen”. Now, all questions concerning Israel must be preceded by “Given that Israel exist and is inhabited by millions, …”

After any historical fact, one must take that fact into consideration when deciding how best to move forward. The so-called “Reality Based Community” must learn to accept that time only travels in one direction.

Not that this has anything to do with this post, but I noticed ex Mayor Michael Bloomberg paid a visit to the family and they understandably seemed appreciative of his visit.

Interesting Bloomberg shills for the Saudi’s and gets away with it. Unless no one knows Bloomberg while mayor no less worked a deal with Saudi Arabia to have his company build a stock exchange in Saudi Arabia for them.

They now have to trade on other exchanges and wanted one which everyone understands. I just wonder out loud if it will be Sharia Compliant.

You know Sharia Finance. A fee is charged and it goes to Islamic Jihad or some other like group – like the people who paid the Hamas soldiers (they are soldiers after all) who killed the Israeli lone soldier Steinberg – of blessed memory.

Or as Bloomberg might put it – what does tat matter? Indeed.

“John buys every book about Israel that’s ever been published, and then reads them all so he can win any argument with my family”

What is wrong with this that she married some AH who would do this to family- regardless of religion? Too bad her parents doesn’t tell her that John is not welcome in their home unless he can be civil and stop trying to “win.” Actually she’s little better if she feels her role is as a moderator