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May 12, 2014 7:01 am

The Extremist Allegiances of Joel Beinin

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Joel Beinin. Photo: Wikipedia.

Joel Beinin – Professor of History and of Middle East History at Stanford University – once threatened legal action after being named as a supporter of terrorism. That should have surprised even the most jaded observers of American academic “activism.” Ever since his days as a young Maoist on the campuses of Princeton, Harvard, and then Michigan, Beinin has competed in militancy with the most brutal terrorist foes of the Jewish state.

As a former student recalled, Beinin “had nothing but contempt for Israel, was well to the ‘left’ of the PLO, and was perfectly representative of the extremism of his milieu. One day, at a particular forum, he gave what I can only describe as a kind of beer-hall speech. Shouting and pumping his fist, he admonished the Arabs to forget any negotiating with Israel and to stay true to pure radicalism.”

Decades later, the campus demagogue who had dismissed the PLO as too moderate for his tastes was to become president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America.

Beinin waxes indignant at the suggestion that he is a terrorist apologist. “I have never, in any way, supported terrorism. I’ve spoken out against it,” he once insisted. Yet previously Beinin had written that “there is simply no comparison between the level of terrorism deployed by the American empire and its allies… and the often ineffectual use of terrorism by those who feel that they have no other weapon.” The latter he hailed as “movements of popular resistance.”

He also demanded that the United States stop “lecturing Yasir Arafat about the need to do more to stop terrorism.” Arafat, he explained, was “the symbol of Palestinian national aspirations and should be respected as such.” The hundreds of Israeli men, women, and children shot, burned, knifed, decapitated, mutilated, or blown to pieces at the behest of the PLO leader might have passed another verdict on him – had they been able to speak. And yet, having gone on record as opposing any criticism of Arafat’s crimes against humanity, Beinin later maintained that he had never been a supporter of terrorists.

Although Beinin’s credulous interviewers have praised him as an idealist who “favors peaceful coexistence of Palestinians and Israelis,” and who believes in “human rights and international law,” seasoned Beinin-watchers know better. In a message posted on a Haifa University discussion list at the end of 2004, Beinin left nothing to the imagination: “In my view,” he began, “the state of Israel has already lost any moral justification for its existence.” But his strictures were not confined to Israel: “What after all is the moral right of the United States to exist, based as it is on the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous peoples of North America and hundreds of years of slavery and structural racial discrimination?”

Not content with faking his credentials as an advocate of peace and human rights, Beinin’s admirers have celebrated him as “one of Stanford University’s most respected Middle East scholars.” But those who have examined his scholarship have a different story to tell. In one of his courses, Beinin taught that the Palestinians are descended from the ancient Canaanites (they are not), that the “Wailing” Wall in Jerusalem is the only remnant of the historic Jewish Temple (it is not), that Zionism and Palestinian nationalism developed at the same time (they did not), and that the U.S. has given Israel a trillion dollars in aid since 1948 (it has not).

In an online introduction to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Beinin and his co-author assert that Israel entered the 1956 war “ostensibly to reverse the Egyptian government’s nationalization of the Suez Canal” (no mention of the Egyptian blockade of southern Israel or terrorist attacks from Egyptian-occupied Gaza); that before 1993, “Israel did not acknowledge Palestinian national rights or recognize the Palestinians as an independent party to the conflict” (Israeli leaders acknowledged Palestinian national rights in 1948 and offered the Palestinians negotiations for statehood immediately after the 1967 war); and that the second intifada erupted because of “daily frustrations and humiliations” inflicted by Israel (and not because of a conscious decision by the Palestinian leadership). And so on. Beinin shows no sign of curtailing his lamentable tendency to manipulate facts.

Even Joel Beinin’s most devoted admirers must admit that he presents a strange spectacle: a self-described Maoist who vilifies Israel as insufficiently democratic; a supposed paragon of intellectual standards who regards the PLO as the epitome of moderation and Israel as a militaristic outpost of Western imperialism; a righteous moralist who accuses “the American empire” of terrorism while belittling the “often ineffectual” atrocities of his preferred “movements of popular resistance.” How bizarre that after compiling this record of ideologically-motivated dissembling and ethically tainted extremism, he should be trusted to form the minds of America’s best and brightest at Stanford University.

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  • Koonass

    Wow these comments are just as bad as anything in the article. So much hate.

  • Yiska18

    Never in my life have I read more disturbing post responses to an article. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Violence, talking about his genitalia? You are all disgusting people. Shame on you. Human descency please.

  • Steve Wenick

    Only a Jew like Joel Beinin can be so anti-Semitic. He is the victim of a disease that infects Jews in a disproportionately high number. The malady is called ‘Self Loathing Syndrome’ It is a particularly difficult disease to cure because the host views itself as a foreign body and tries to reject itself. Unfortunately it is highly contagious and those who attend universities are most susceptible to contracting it.

  • Carol

    It is totally pathetic to see a Jew behaving this way. Is he trying to play devil’s advocate?

  • There are a LOT of Israelis in the Knesset that hold exactly like him…including the very President of Israel. What he is saying in no way contradicts Zionism. Gradually the true identity (or rather lack of it) of Zionism is revealed.

  • Terry

    If Beinin is ever blown up by his terrorist friends, then maybe (who am I to judge?) they’ll have at last done something useful. The irony, though, would be stunning.

  • Otto Schiff

    It is easier to be a fanatic and a liar than to be objective

  • Fred

    Unfortunately hypocrites like Beinin find place in US institutions of “learning “. He is in denial, after starting the hate fire he gets into denial “I did not do it”. US institutions find it fashionable these days to dim the beacon of enlightenment with reactionary who spread darkness. He must feel good in his treacherous skin.

  • Dogan Akman

    There is a Judeo-Spanish saying:

    Azno kayado pasa por azno savido

    A silent ass/donkey passes for a learned one.

    This chap is intent of making an ass of himself and of the university that employs him..He is no doubt tenured and the university think they would have a hard time to get rid of him on the grounds of free speech and academic freedom.

    I would boot him out on the grounds of incompetence

    On the other hand, it is better to have his kind of azno than those who are nearly as ideologically deranged as he is but somehow manage to keep it to themselves save where they have immunity.

    Dogan D. Akman

  • Joel Beinin is spelled GERTRUDE STEIN.

  • Bernard Ross

    I long to read of his appropriate and well deserved mugging, and severe beating to a pulp, on the streets of america. Sweets for all in the tradition of his pets.

  • HaroldT

    What a disgrace that Stanford employ this Quisling Jew. I truly hope that no Jews contribute any endowments to this university as long as he is there spouting his poison.

  • Shalom-Hillel

    We produce more than our fair share of these zealots for the “big cause”. Their rigidity of thinking and one-track way of interpreting the world lets them focus themselves fully on their goals. If it means turning against their community of origin in the pursuit of ideological purity they will not give it a second thought. I’ve met others like him. They’re usually Communists or from far-left families.

    Bernard Lewis, a founder of the Middle East Studies Association, has described MESA as having become highly politicized. It is no longer the learned society it had earlier been.

  • Sammy Eppel

    That stanford gives this discredited and unethical person, such position, only shows the level of antisemitism that american academia is not bashful to flaunt.

  • I received many Anti Semite Emails from Stanford when I asked them to help with the Israel Longhorn Project at http://longhornproject.org

  • BuckDePublick

    Self-hating POS!!!

  • Mike B

    If Beinin is really so concerned with the “ethnic cleansing of the indigenous peoples of North America” what the hell is he doing living on their ancestral lands? Why doesn’t he ‘go back to Europe’? I’ll tell you why. He is a hypocrite.

  • Ben Yehiel

    Time to sew Beinin’s foreskin back on!