When Bill Clinton Blurbed Beinart’s Boycott
Imagine for a moment that after the United States won WWII, Germany had not instantly become our friend and a significant segment of its population had proclaimed still to be Nazi devotees and would never change.
Imagine if they had threatened to continue their struggle against the US, and had inculcated their children for decades to hate America and its values. Imagine if over the decades they had launched mass-casualty terrorist attacks against our nation and promised never to stop until the US and its allies were completely destroyed.
Had that actually happened, would the US leadership at some point have said, “We are going to withdraw all US forces from Germany, and hope that somehow this new German nation, with its next generation of the Nazi party, will somehow choose to make peace with us?” Or would US forces be in Germany to this very day, trying to stop this Nazi extremism?
This is an imperfect, but apt, metaphor for the circumstances that Israel finds itself in today.
In 1948 and 1967, the leadership of the attacking Arab armies promised a genocide of the Jews. And even after losing these wars and being offered countless opportunities for peace, the Palestinian leadership and most Arab governments have still made it very clear that their goal is the destruction of Israel.
Even the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan are more like ceasefire agreements, given the rampant antisemitism and hatred of Israel found in these countries. Recent surveys have shown that the majority of Egypt’s population would like the peace agreement with Israel ripped up. And just recently, Egyptian MP Tawfiq Okasha was literally ejected from parliament and had his membership canceled for the crime of meeting with Israel’s ambassador. That’s some serious hatred.
After years of an Arab educational curriculum that inculcated this hatred, we arrive at the current situation in Israel — with daily stabbings, vehicle rammings and shootings of Jewish men, women and children.
The nations of the Western world have never faced or properly understood the circumstances that Israel faces. What is bizarre is that there seems to be a common belief in the West that since PA President Abbas and his government are so weak and viewed so poorly among the Palestinians, that the Israelis should make a “peace” deal with him soon and give him large amounts of territory — or else Hamas might topple him. What these nations refuse to at least publicly acknowledge is that there would be a genocidal Hamas state in the West Bank if Israel ever withdrew — just as happened in the Gaza Strip. This would lead to never-ending war.
Now, after strenuous efforts to force an agreement on Israel, President Obama has finally conceded that a two-state solution won’t happen during his presidency. “It’s been 60 years; it’s not going to happen in the next nine months,” he recently said. Unfortunately, Obama felt the need to place the blame on Israel: “Because Israeli society has been so successful economically, it has, I think, from a position of strength, been less willing to make concessions.”
President Obama blames Israel’s economic success for the lack of peace. No mention of the PA’s terror incitement and Hamas’ genocidal aspirations. No, Israel is making too much money for its own good. Is there an implication that perhaps an Israel weakened through boycotts may finally bring that ever-elusive peace?
Unfortunately, the Obama administration has already made it clear that it condones boycotting products from Israeli settlements. Peter Beinart’s 2012 book The Crisis of Zionism first attempted to make popular this idea of boycotting Israeli settlements, in what Beinart referred to as a “Zionist BDS.” When the book was released, Beinart’s ideas were condemned by the vast majority of pro-Israel Jews. However, the Obama administration has now made it clear it feels that some boycotts are an acceptable policy towards the Jewish state.
Even more concerning is the fact that Hillary Clinton has portrayed herself as Obama’s successor — someone who will continue this administration’s policies. In her released emails, it was revealed that she was a big fan of Beinart’s, and familiar with his writings against Israel. For example, Sid Blumenthal sent her an anti-Israel article from Beinart called “Obama Betrayed Ideals on Israel,” with the subject line: “FYI, article from book, which Bill blurbed. Sid.”
Hillary forwarded the article to her aide Jake Sullivan, writing, “Pls read so we can discuss.” Sullivan responded after reading the article, “Fascinating.”
Of course, the blurb Sid was referring to was the fact that Bill Clinton gave significant praise for Beinart’s Crisis of Zionism book. In the blurb Bill wrote:
Peter Beinart has written a deeply important book for anyone who cares about Israel, its security, its democracy, and its prospects for a just and lasting peace. Beinart explains the roots of the current political and religious debates within Israel, raises the tough questions that can’t be avoided, and offers a new way forward to achieve Zionism’s founding ideals, both in Israel and among the diaspora Jews in the United States and elsewhere.
It is deeply concerning that former President Bill Clinton would call Beinart’s ideas “a new way forward,” and so strongly praise a book that calls for boycotting Israel in any way. And it is equally concerning that Hillary would also hold Beinart’s writing in such high esteem.
Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books. He is the only Rabbi ever to win the London Times Preacher of the Year Competition. A noted global advocate for Israel, he will shortly publish The Israel Warriors Handbook. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.