Two young American Jews - Simone Zimmerman and Eitan - are raised to defend the state of Israel at all costs. Eitan joins the Israeli military. Simone supports Israel on ‘the other battlefield:’ America’s college campuses. When they witness Israel's mistreatment of the Palestinian people with their own eyes, they are horrified and heartbroken – the Jewish institutions that raised them not only lied, but built their Jewish identity around that lie.
They join the movement of young American Jews battling the old guard over Israel’s centrality in American Judaism, and demanding freedom for the Palestinian people. Their stories reveal a generational divide in the American Jewish community as more young Jews question the narratives their synagogues and Hebrew school teachers fed them as children.
The film also features voices like Jacqui, a Jewish educator who says “Judaism is Israel and Israel is Judaism”, and former Anti-Defamation League President Abe Foxman, who claims voices like Simone and Eitan’s represent a small minority. Thought leaders like Peter Beinart, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Noura Erakat, Cornel West, and Noam Chomsky also weigh in.
Directed by two first-time Jewish filmmakers who share a similar story to the film’s protagonists, Israelism is produced by Peabody-winner and 4-time Emmy-nominee Daniel J. Chalfen (Loudmouth, Boycott), executive produced by two-time Emmy-winner Brian A. Kates (Marvelous Ms. Maisel, Succession) and edited by Emmy-winner Tony Hale (The Story of Plastic), Israelism uniquely explores how Jewish attitudes towards Israel are changing dramatically, with massive consequences for the region and for Judaism itself.