As a writer, he has been twisting ideas, terms and concepts so as to confound and discombobulate a younger generation of Jews. But he may have reached an impasse.
By Yisrael Medad, JNS
Peter Beinart has laid out his political vision once again. Once again, too, he trots out his ignorance, his serpentine reasoning and his shocking immorality.
It’s always crisis time for him. However, this time, it’s not a solution of two states in the territory west of the Jordan River he is championing for. “The classic two-state solution is dead,” he writes. The solution, rather, is just one state; well, sort of. And no, he is not promoting Caroline Glick’s book. Rather, he seeks an “equal Israel-Palestine.”
Returning to an ideological position promoted by HaShomer HaTzair, Brit Shalom and other left-wing groups in the pre-state era during the British Mandatory regime – and which was not only unrealistic, impractical in the circumstances and a fringe viewpoint, but consistently rejected by the Arabs – he has published a call that a new “Yavne” construct be adopted. And that a new Jewish identity be imagined—one that no longer equates Palestinian equality with Jewish genocide.
However, that “Yavne” has a sub-text meaning: a phase of Jewish history had run its course. Yes, Beinart is still pursuing the tearing down of establishments, be they community institutions, historical facts or ideas.
Previously, I have expressed my view that since his 2010 New York Review of Books essay, Beinart, assuming a mantle of the “bad boy,” has been seeking to rip out from the hearts of Jewish youth their Jewish solidarity and pit them against Israel. Ever since then, in his book, on his closed-down Open Zion website and other platforms, he has been twisting ideas, terms and concepts so as to confound and discombobulate a younger generation of Jews.
Moreover, he is understood to be “encouraging the Jewish community to welcome discomfort.” In 2015, he wrote an op-ed in Haaretz that pushed that element of discomfort a bit too close for comfort to an outright supporter for Arab terror when he wrote:
“It would be wonderful if Palestinians could win those freedoms without causing Jews discomfort. But it hasn’t happened that way because it never happens that way. People are not given freedom; they take it. … Mahmoud Abbas is finally taking that maxim to heart…”
Arguing with Beinart—besides awarding him a profile and attention he does not deserve—is frustrating because almost every source to which he refers is corrupted, and he has a sophistic method of argumentation.
Approvingly, he quotes Hebrew University’s Dmitry Shumsky as arguing that “the demand for a Jewish state did not define Zionism until the 1940s,” and that was true also for Ze’ev Jabotinsky. In 1931, Jabotinsky proposed at the 17th World Zionist Congress that it decide that Zionism’s endziel, its ultimate goal, is a call for a Jewish state, with a Jewish majority, on both sides of the Jordan. A group that split off from his Revisionist Party and contested the Congress elections in 1933 was called the Jewish State Party.
Beinart bumbles—or he depends too much on research assistants (this one lists three), as he actually knows very little of his subject.
In a form of dangerous psychological claptrap, he says that “Jews have retroactively projected Nazism’s exterminationist program on Palestinian opposition to pre-state Zionism.”
This is a horrible downplaying of the willingness of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, to collaborate with the Nazis proactively beginning in 1933, receiving financial assistance from Germany in the late 1930s, residing in Berlin during the war years and broadcasting Nazi propaganda in Arabic to the Middle East. That is in addition to raising a Waffen SS Muslim unit, halting the emigration of Jewish children, sending his comrades from the 1930s to parachute into Palestine to kill Jews and plan for crematoria to be built for Jews in the Dotan Valley in Samaria.
‘Intellectually dishonest and manipulative’
As author Daniel Gordis observes, Beinart displays “an astonishing array of sleights of hand and misrepresentations” and his “piece [IS] so intellectually dishonest—and manipulative.”
More outrageously, Beinart claims:
“The depiction of Palestinians as compulsive Jew-haters—and the corresponding belief that anything short of Jewish statehood constitutes collective suicide—stems less from Palestinian behavior than from Jewish trauma.”
Less? For more than a century, the Arabs of Palestine have raped Jews, slaughtered them, burned them, stabbed them, stoned them and engaged in the most horrific acts of murder and maiming. And all that is somehow just a reflection of Jewish trauma.
On this, educator Ross Singer notes that “imagining the enemy as a Nazi is not limited to the Israeli side. … I have heard countless claims by both Palestinians and sympathizers that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians parallels Nazi treatment of Jews. I have heard that Zionism is Nazism.”
This cancerous dehumanization Beinart blames on the Jews.
He parades his perverse immorality by claiming that “only Palestinian freedom—a precondition for true peace in Israel-Palestine—can make Jews whole. Palestinian liberation [is] integral to our own.”
Essentially, Beinart cares more about Palestinians than he does about Jews. Paradoxically, if it were not for Zionism’s diplomatic victory in getting the League of Nations to award the Jews the right to reconstitute their Jewish National Home predicated on their historic connection to the Land of Israel, including close settlement on the land, and create a Palestine Mandate, the Arabs living in that area would still be known today as Southern Syrians.
He blindly supports arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat’s former adviser, Knesset member Ahmed Tibi, and his vision as being “profoundly in line with the central principle aspects of Zionist political imagination.” And he requires that Israel “would need consider the trimming of the Law of Return.”
But already, the other side, they are ridiculing him and proving that he still has a long way to go to placate them. As one pro-Palestine activist tweeted: “His 1-state vision entails no decolonization or reparations. It’s a last-ditch effort at averting radical struggle that happens outside of voting booths,” adding “no redistribution of wealth or land.” Another responded that Beinart was but another Jew “self-centering once again.”
For Beinart, Yavne signifies that a phase of Jewish history had run its course. He now has reached his own Yavne.