Monthly Archives: July 2020

Beinart: between banality and tedium

In an article on July 8, 2020 in the New York Times, Peter Beinart confessed, without being asked to, and to whoever happened to read his article, that he no longer believed in a Jewish state.

Fortunately, I couldn’t care less about what Beinart believes, and in this sentiment I would in all likelihood be joined by around 6 million other Israelis.

Moving between flights of fancy and “reasoned” nonsense, Beinart explains that because 640,000 Jews live in what he terms “East Jerusalem”, because Israel controls 30% of the “west bank” and because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to apply Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, it’s “…time to imagine a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.”

His solution is a one-state solution of Jews and Arabs where there would now be “…one state that includes Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem…”

In unfanciful language, what Beinart is saying is that he wants an end to Jewish sovereignty in Israel, an end to the Zionism which actioned that sovereignty and a “Beinartian” version of the “Palestinian” right of return argument.

Nobody in their right mind in Israel or America would accept such an outlandish proposal, and nobody in their right mind in Gaza and Ramallah could believe this would ever come to pass.

A child of the seventies, Beinart is either ignorant of Jewish history or far too cosseted in his Cambridge, Masschussets home to understand the realities and nuances of the Arab-Israeli conflict to bother to deal with the issue in an intellectually honest way.

Writing in Algemeiner, Ira Stoll highlights Beinart’s intellectual dishonesty best:

Beinart…describes Zionism as primarily a reaction to the Holocaust, when in fact it long predated that.

“This Holocaust lens leads many Jews to assume that anything short of Jewish statehood would mean Jewish suicide. But before the Holocaust, many leading Zionists did not believe that,” Beinart writes.

Actually, Herzl’s Der Judenstaat was published in 1896, almost a half-century before the Holocaust. For thousands of years before that, Jews prayed for a restoration of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.

But more than maintaining that Jews generally get too worked up about the Holocaust, Beinart engages in utterly fanciful projection together with his position that a Jewish state is effectively a travesty of human rights and equality.

Writing in The Tablet, Benjamin Kerstein critiques Beinart thus:

In fact, he (Beinart) assures us, “Palestinians will live peacefully alongside Jews when they are granted basic rights.”

“Israel-Palestine can be a Jewish home that is also, equally, a Palestinian home,” according to Beinart, who apparently is acquainted with the history of no other Middle Eastern country besides Israel where Jews, Muslims, and Christians do live peacefully side-by-side. “And building that home can bring liberation not just for Palestinians but for us, too….Beinart fails to grasp one of the central arguments of Zionism: Equal rights are essential, but they are not enough. For the Jews, true equal rights can only be realized in a Jewish state. And the proof is that Jews enjoyed equal rights in Europe for over a century…

 [However] the Holocaust is [the] ultimate proof…that “equal rights” in a secular Western society is no barrier to genocide when the Jews are involved, and that such rights can only be fully realized when the Jews are accorded equal collective rights, including the right to self-defense, which is only possible in a Jewish state.

The ridiculous nature of Beinart’s statement “Palestinians (Muslim Arabs) will live peacefully alongside Jews when they are granted basic rights” flies in the face not only of recorded history in the Levant but in Arab majority countries everywhere.

It is difficult to know why anybody should give this privileged ivy league professor any air time for views which are not new and are not workable.

Perhaps as Daniel Gordis said: “Beinart…knows that for his readers to buy his thesis, it is important that they not know very much. Luckily for him, that is a safe bet.”

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