Pulitzer-winning columnist Bret Stephens is the featured speaker at JUF's Medical Professionals and Educators dinner on Sunday evening, May 19. Stephens is an op-ed columnist and associate editor for The New York Times .
Previously, he served as deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, and a member of its editorial board. In 2013, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his foreign-affairs column "Global View" in that publication.
At only 28, Stephens became editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post . He is also author of the book America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder.
Stephens recently spoke with JUF News about the delegitimization of Israel, elections in the U.S. and Israel, and the future of his embattled profession:
JUF News : What can we do to combat the onslaught of anti-Israel sentiment we're constantly witnessing these days?
Bret Stephens: We can stand against legitimizing anti-Zionism. To be "anti-Zionist" is not to be critical of Israeli policy, but to be a detractor of the concept of Jewish statehood. We have to draw a line between criticism of Israeli policy and the belief that Israel has no right to exist.
Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism overlap. You can be an anti-Zionist who is not an anti-Semite, but the two have a way of coinciding.
What message will win the next U.S. presidential election?
The winning candidate is going to exude a sense of optimism about the U.S., sobriety about our politics, respect for institutions, and for some of the most distinctive aspects of American life-a thriving capitalist economy that respects private property and admires ambition, achievement, and success.
Speaking of elections, what factors do you see at play in Israel's upcoming elections?
The good news is that Israeli institutions work. Here is a country where the rule of law operates. There is hardly better proof of that than an indictment of a sitting prime minister.
Israel now has a viable political alternative. In the combination of [Yair] Lapid and [Benny] Gantz… you have a robust, serious opposition that average Israelis can feel confident will not dangerously gamble their security. It's proof of the success of the Israeli system.
Would you advise a student to pursue journalism today?
In my case, it's turned out to be a wonderfully rewarding and meaningful career. You have a chance to fight for what you believe is right and serve the cause of the truth as you see it. That makes it precious.
No matter what happens to certain kinds of technologies, there is always going to be a need for accurate news and thoughtful analysis. What we're experiencing now is a technological transition that puts stress on the business. But the idea that the business is ever going to vanish, I think is false. Journalism has a future. We haven't quite figured out what it's going to look like technologically, but there is no question that American society is going to be well-served by the Fourth Estate for many generations.
For really intelligent, capable, and literary-minded young people who want a career that provides not only constant interest but deep meaning, it is something to pursue.