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June 15, 2015 2:28 pm

Why Does Peter Beinart Despise Pro-Israel Jews?

avatar by Shmuley Boteach

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Peter Beinart. Photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund via flickr.

Peter Beinart. Photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund via flickr.

Peter Beinart has long had an unnatural obsession with me. To be honest, the amount of column space he’s devoted to promoting my name is something for which I should be compensating him.

Last week he unleashed his latest tantrum — this time in the form of a screed against me and Sheldon Adelson for fighting BDS on campus.

Beinart begins by introducing his by now familiar appalling factual inaccuracies that are an affront to both reason and logic. He begins by saying that “everyone who understands the [BDS] Movement knows that its recruits are progressives, and that what tips them toward BDS is despair that there seems no other way to end Israel’s immoral, undemocratic control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

With this Beinart offers the over-roasted farcical chestnut that the growth of BDS is a product of an occupation.

The BDS movement, along with those who ascribe to it, is about one thing: the destruction of Israel.

It’s easy to prove.

BDS has no interest in protesting an occupation. If it did it would be boycotting Apple products, which are made in China, since that country has been occupying Tibet since 1950 (and they haven’t allowed the Dalai Lama to even visit his people since). I personally saw Peter using an IPhone at our Columbia University debate last year, so clearly Peter couldn’t give a damn about occupation either. Likewise, if BDS was motivated by an opposition to occupation none of its adherents would drink Turkish Coffee, since Turkey has been occupying Cyprus since 1974. And no BDS person would drink Stoli vodka in opposition to Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

BDS, moreover, cannot claim to have any interest whatsoever in Palestinian rights. If it did, it would be boycotting Egypt for destroying hundreds of Palestinian homes on the Gaza border last October to stop Hamas from smuggling weapons. Moreover, it would boycott Hamas for executing scores of Palestinians without trial (which Israel has never done, even with a trial), while shooting others through the knees for publicly questioning their legitimacy. The Palestinian Authority would also be boycotted for bringing an end to elections and censoring the press. They might also call for divestment from Lebanon for the actual Apartheid they practice with their Palestinian population, which is legally held back from entering the medical, legal, and banking fields or from participating in any other mainstream industry.

BDS similarly has no interest in protecting Arab life. If it did it would be boycotting Syria for murdering 200,000 Arabs.

BDS has no interest in promoting Arab human rights. If it did it would be divesting from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Syria, Lebanon, and every other Arab country where Arabs are denied the most basic rights like freedom of press, freedom to protest their government, and the freedom to vote — all of which are guaranteed to Arabs only in Israel.

BDS, rather, trades in anti-Semitism, with its primary objective being the economic destruction of the world’s only Jewish state and the Middle East’s only democracy.

If only Peter had stopped his fraudulence at that.

But he goes on, now slamming groups dedicated to Israel’s future like CUFI and ZOA, and lamenting the fact that they were invited to the anti-BDS conference while J Street and the New Israel Fund were not. With this Beinart is true to type, allying himself with organizations that are among Israel’s greatest critics, while condemning those that are its foremost defenders. But this should not surprise us since Beinart, already a public advocate for the partial-boycott of Israeli products, has removed himself from the pro-Israel community by penning an article right after Prime Minister Netanyahu’s election demanding that Israel be punished. “It means pushing the Obama administration to …  punish – yes, punish – the Israeli government… It means making sure that every time Benjamin Netanyahu and the members of his cabinet walk into a Jewish event outside Israel, they see Diaspora Jews protesting outside.

But so petty is Beinart when it comes to Israel, and so obsessed is he with finding faults with any efforts on Israel’s behalf, that he even condemns the actual name of our anti-BDS summit: Campus Maccabees. He complains that ‘Maccabees’ refers to “religious zealots who …demanded that Jews reject any interaction with foreign cultures..”

That’s funny, because I thought the word Maccabee is a universal term connoting a courageous fighter for religious liberty and spiritual freedom. Indeed, even the United States Supreme Court ruled that the menorah — the defining symbol of the Maccabees — can be placed on public property since it’s considered by law to be a universal symbol of liberty, as opposed to representing the Jewish exclusionary racism that Beinart would have you believe.

But not content to trash me as a Rabbi, leading groups who defend Israel, and even the very Maccabees whom we celebrate on Chanukah (which Peter would surely have uprooted from the Jewish Calendar), Beinart reserves his true fire for the world’s foremost Jewish philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, claiming that his anti-BDS conference was really a cynical ploy to “empower himself and his right-wing agenda.” Here is where Beinart goes off the rails, losing it completely and falling into dangerous ‘Protocols of Zion’ territory.

As depicted by Beinart, Adelson is now a Jewish ‘elder,’ intent on political dominion and world domination. In his own words, Sheldon Adelson has “for years now… been moving to dominate Jewish politics, both in Israel and the United States.” Beinart’s uber-cynical revolting attack on Sheldon Adelson is yet another manifestation of Beinart’s campaign to demonize those who disagree with him. This is no surprise, of course, for demonization is the tool chosen by those who have no facts and have already lost the argument.

The truth is that it was very inspirational to see Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, the world’s foremost Jewish philanthropists, sit for two straight days listening to 50 presentations from organizations advocating for Israel to hear their funding needs. And in doing so, they set a model of commitment for us all to emulate.

But if Beinart has the right to draw parallels between our new anti-BDS campaign and what he sees as ancient Jewish corruption among the Hasmoneans — whom he says “helped destroy the Jewish state” — then we have a right to do the same for those critics of Israel in modern times.

Last week’s Torah reading relates the story of the spies Moses sends to scout the Land of Israel. But after seeing the giants who inhabit the land they return with the perfidy that the Children of Israel cannot capture their promised homeland. In their own words: “We were like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so we appeared to them.” Long ago in ancient Israel a group of Jews consumed by feelings of inferiority and inadequacy projected this self-loathing on to the land. Peter Beinart and his fellow Israel critics should take heed.

I’m not surprised that someone like Sheldon Adelson gets under Peter’s skin. For while Sheldon Adelson represents Jewish pride incarnate and has given inestimable time and resources to his people so that they may prosper, Peter Beinart has earned his name for being among the foremost Jewish critics of the State of Israel.

Shmuley Boteach is founder of The World Values Network, an organization defending Israel in the media, and is the international best-selling author of 30 books, including The Israel Warrior’s Handbook, which is about to be released. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

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  • Hans

    It’s pretty clear to me that Peter Beinart’s Judaism (as that of the other “as a Jew anti-Israelis”) is no more then an accident of birth…

    They have a right to their opinion (and to expressing it) but their self classification as “Jews” is pure BS!…

  • Alan

    Jews are great at shooting themselves in the foot, and he is doing a good job at that. A shonda

  • Howard

    It is sad that Schmuli spends his time attacking Peter Beinart. You may disagree with Beinart but such hate-filled utterances by that egotistical maniac, Mr. Boteach, actually makes Beinart look good. Adelson may be the biggest Jewish philanthropist but that doesn’t mean that he is happy to fund projects in which donees refuse bend down to kiss his ring. His take no prisoners approach and his willingness to align with those who are antithetical to Jewish values should also be understood.

  • Yale

    The key to understanding Beinart is here:

    “He begins by saying that `everyone who understands the [BDS] Movement knows that its recruits are progressives, and that what tips them toward BDS is despair that there seems no other way to end Israel’s immoral, undemocratic control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.'”

    Self-styled “progressives” consider themselves wiser, more moral, better educated, and more intelligent than the people they treat as political enemies. For such people to acknowledge that the continuation of the “occupation” and the failure of the “Two-state” solution is entirely attributable to the Palestinians is to admit they have been fundamentally wrong about essentially everything. Not only do they lose their argument; they also lose their sense of how wonderful they are.

    This is why the way to counter them is to harp on the fact that they are wrong about the facts, wrong about the logic of the situation, and wrong about how wonderful they are. This will get them riled up, but if they hear it constantly, some will stop and consider that it might be true, and the movement may dissolve.

    • The key to understanding Peter Beinart is much simpler. I inadvertently stumbled upon it some time ago:

      I have a theory based on Beinart’s more recent re-birth as the quintessential anti-Zionist Zionist (see his blog: Open Zion, for example), that he is afraid of Jews being too much in the public eye while involved in kerfuffles that may have something to do with too many complaints and rewards. You know, the type of discomfort that many Jews feel as a result of antisemitic jokes such as: What’s faster than light speed? A Jew with a coupon, har, har.

      Of course Peter’s shtick is that his opinions are formed by rational arguments and genuine care for Israel’s Jewish character. Which is why he is providing ample platform for any anti-Israel bashers and demonizers on his blog. Yet, for all his claimed principled position about American Jews, etc, he gets all flustered by a chubby Rabbi being embroiled in a case where free gifts abound. This, Peter muses, tweeterially, cannot be good for the Jews. How so? He doesn’t explain. He cannot explain. He can only imply, and if pressed, I cannot for the life of me imagine what he could say in his defence for this pusillanimous tweet…

  • Mike

    Beinart is where and who he is because the media and the world are out to hurt Israel and the Jewish nation. These traitors understand this and therefore spew lies about Israel. The evil people looking to hurt Israel pay guys like this big bucks to keep spouting drivel and hate. My question, is why even pay attention to what he has to say. That just gets him more money. Ignore the SOB and he loses funding. Let’s play smart!!

  • Sam Harris

    Beinart claims he’s a observant Jew. What a shame.

    • Arby Muller

      Beinart exhibits symptoms of emotional imbalance and psychotic behaviour. He should not be given air time or press space until he seeks help and recovers.



  • Rivkah GOLI

    Yofi Rabbi and Mazel Tov on your Price with EMET. God willing, I will see you there.

    Once again, yofi and Mazel Tov.

    Respectfully Yours.


  • E Pluribus Wombat

    Why? Because he’s an antisemite. He’s a Nazi collaborator. He’s a self professed modern day Chaim Rumkowsky. He would lead the Inquisition if given a chance. That’s why.

  • Dave Whippman

    Top marks to Rabbi Boteach for exposing the hypocrisy and flawed reasoning of the BDS movement and its supporters.

  • Mike P.

    Peter Beinart stands where he sits–he has made a profession out of Israel-bashing, and is now financially dependent upon fans of Israel-bashing. There’s no going back for him.

  • I salute you, Sir, both for the clarity of your article and for the conciseness of your charge. You are also a hero.

  • A concise and accurate understanding that Beinart and his friends love to hate the Jewish State. In fact he makes a living doing so. Our most difficult times as a nation has been the enemy within our midst. He certainly fits the bill perfectly. Criticism of govt. policy is what makes us a strong nation presenting alternative ideas in order to solve our on going problems. But trying to undermine our Government and country because of political differences by aid and abetting an anti-Semitic enemy is unconscionable. Beinart and Ben Ami care nothing for our nation using their Jewish affiliation as a means in an attempt to destroy us.

  • Rozie

    Peter Beinart is a disgrace to the Human race. He is an Erev Rav he is not a Jew. He needs a brain and heart transplant. He is a traitor and should not be allowed to enter Israel. Let him travel to Syria, Libya or North Korea where he belongs. I am sure the enemies of Israel are paying him big bucks to perpetuate the hate and the destruction of Israel.

  • Isaac Semaya

    Peter Beinart is a disgrace in the Jewish world and to the Sephardic world of which his mother is a descendant. Mr Beinart in on the out side of knowledge of the TRUE nature of the Muslim world. It is about time he reads the Koran to find the truth of the Muslin worlds view of the future.

  • ruth gilmour

    thank you for this article and for your holy work for Israel Toda Raba. Yeshar Koch!!!!1

  • Jay

    How do clowns like Peter Beinart ever get to positions of influence?

  • Harvey Llohd

    Beinart is the usual rabid antisemite seeking publicity by hating Israel and loving the murderers across the Middle East. To hell with this ugly fascist.

  • a yid

    Shmuely, Shmuley…. when will you totally recant and recall your terribly heretical work: “kosher yashkie”? You wanna stand up for and defend the Jews? Then don’t empower the xians with such heresy. Secondly, since when is CUFI defending Israel? Hagee and Co. fund the missionary satellite “Daystar” television station and Hagee is on video proclaiming his xian vision for Israel. Guess what? it doesn’t include any Jews!
    and here
    So, Shmulik. Jewish people are waiting for you to recall all your “kosher yashkie” heresy and rejoin our people as a kosher yid. Nu? “if not now, when already?”

  • noah

    Peter Beinart, is delusional JEW, or should I call him Yehud, or maybe a KIKE.

    Some one needs to remind him that Muslims hate each other and hate him more, just for being a Yehud (JEW), Southern Rednecks hate just as much if not more.

    Peter Beinart, must be delusional thinking that he’s not a JEW.

    What makes him such an IDIOT is the fact that he has no respect for his fellow Jews.

    What a Mastul Yehud he is.

  • Fritz Kohlhaas

    O boy, that Beinart is the complete lunatic. Yipes!

  • Fred

    Pooor Peter Beinart to gain notoriety is his ambition. He unveils himself as a deeply ignorant person who takes pride in his ignorance. He would do well as Hitlers minion, all you need is limited thinking.

  • ari

    Maybe peter beinart is a self loathing piece of crap…..? Once you understand this simple notion then everything else he says and does will make sense

  • Joshua

    amen, rabbi!