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June 17, 2015 2:23 pm

Peter Beinart Says BDSers Hear ‘The Voice of Sinai’

avatar by Elder of Ziyon

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Peter Beinart claims that by excluding anti-Israel voices from the Jewish community, we are alienating them from Judaism. Photo: Elder of Ziyon.

Peter Beinart claims that by excluding anti-Israel voices from the Jewish community, we are alienating them from Judaism. Photo: Elder of Ziyon.

Assuming that this Mondoweiss account of a program at the 92nd St Y is accurate:

At the end of the discussion, [Peter] Beinart challenged the hall filled with 500 mostly older folks (and surely almost all Jews, and paying $40 a head) to include anti-Zionists at the table:

“And the last thing I’ll say and this is the most challenging I think maybe for most people, including for me: Our tent, our Jewish community, our proverbial Seder table, is going to have to include the Jewish kids who are not Zionists, including the Jewish kids who are involved in the BDS movement. Because Jewish kids are overrepresented in the BDS movement. You may find that frightening beyond belief, you may find it terrifying. And I understand why you do, but it’s true.”

Beinart then related an anecdote of a campus meeting of Students for Justice for Palestine where most of the group was Jewish, and continued:

Every generation hears the voice of Sinai anew. This generation– one way it is hearing it makes us radically uncomfortable. We cannot afford to tell them that they are not welcome in Jewish spaces, because then we alienate them not only from Israel but from being Jews as well. We need to welcome them in, we need to argue with them, we need to challenge them, we need to be challenged by them. We may be entering– I take no pleasure in this, I find it a terrifying reality– We are entering, An era in which there is no longer going to be a Zionist consensus in the U.S. Especially if Israel continues on its current path. We will have to remain a Jewish community in that environment and we will have to be welcoming even to those people on the far left or the far right whose views we find deeply, deeply upsetting.”

Saying that those who are dedicated to destroying the Jewish state are listening to the word of God  is beyond obscene..Beinart has lost what little credibility he may have had.

Beyond that, as usual, Beinart is wrong. He claims that by excluding these anti-Israel voices from the Jewish community, we are alienating them from Judaism. He has it exactly backwards – the vast, vast majority of Jews who support BDS are those who have already been estranged from Judaism, and they cynically use their accident of birth to legitimize a fundamentally anti-Jewish position.

Yes, Judaism is Zionist. You cannot meaningfully say “Next Year in Jerusalem” at the “proverbial seder table” while saying that Jews don’t have rights to their capital city.

The seder happens to be a perfect way to illustrate how wrong Beinart is. Here is a part of something called “No time to Celebrate – Jews Remember the Nakba Passover Haggadah Supplement, 5768 / 2008″:

Photo: Elder of Ziyon.

Yes, they have changed “Next year in Jerusalem” to refer to those who want to see Jerusalem to be ethnically cleansed of Jews. Yeah, let’s include them in the “big tent.”

These people don’t care about Judaism except for how to use it as a weapon. Their claim to Judaism, by doing things like hijacking the idea of a Passover seder, is like Hamas pretending to love human rights – a cynical ploy to fool others, but not a true statement of belief.  Their “Judaism” – which is really taking concepts like “social justice” and calling it Judaism –  is purely political, and their intent in being taken seriously by the Jewish establishment is to destroy Jewish (and mainstream Zionist) institutions from within.

Not to say that there isn’t a problem with young people.. Beinart exaggerates it – there is far more pro-Israel sentiment among college students than he pretends – but there is a problem, and the problem is that too many people don’t raise their kids to feel like they are part of the Jewish people.

The sad fact is that most American Jews know little about Judaism and Israel. The issue needs to be addressed early on, with dynamic education programs that start when the kids are young, with camps and trips and accurate education about Judaism and Zionism.

If the older people listening to Beinart are concerned about their grandkids, they should be putting their money into education for pre-teens and teens as well as into programs that counter the anti-Israel lies on college campuses.

The Haggadah – the real one, that is – has explicit instructions on how to deal with “the wicked son.” We are not told to love him and listen respectfully to his views. On the contrary, we are told to recognize his true intention to weaken us and to publicly shame him for his efforts to hurt his people under the pretense of simply asking innocent questions., Judaism – real Judaism, that is – does not say to have a “big tent” to accept all viewpoints as having equal validity. It tells usto recognize evil and to fight it.

Jews who support BDS certainly are analogous to the wicked son. And Peter Beinart, by praising those who want to pervert Judaism in order to destroy Israel,  may very well have crossed the line to that category as well.

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  • Eve

    Jewish education needs to include visits to Israel. People who have never even seen the country nor its contributions to civilization are suddenly self-described experts.

    • len

      Giving a child a proper Jewish Education is more important than Birthrite trips and attempts to make a Jewish Education affordable is where the money from large Donors should go. The old saying about teaching a poor man to fish rather than give him a free fish is profound and holds true for Jewish Education.Give a Jewish child a Jewish Education and he will run to see or live in Israel on his own and gladly paying his own way!!!

  • Isaac Peremuter

    Why do we(teh mainstream Jewish community) continually give him a platform to spout his anti Jewish garbage?

  • yale

    Peter Beinart is showing the effects of having had a poor Jewish education. He sees the future when he looks in a mirror and doesn’t realize that those who agree with him are as wrong about reality as he is, and that in the end reality and truth will prevail.

  • rbockman

    And Beinart hears voices in his head.

  • People paid $40 a head to hear this BS? Schmucks.

    PT Barnum’s wisdom about a sucker being born every minute is once again affirmed.

  • Alan-Merida

    The 92nd St Y in the Upper West Side is a liberal Jewish enclave of fashinably (among their group) anti-Jewish/post-Jewish (?) thought. Why else invited Beinart — what accusation has he not made against Judaism and the state of Israel!?

  • Joseph Feld

    These young people remind me of the American Reform Jews of a few generations back who rejected Jewish nationalism, the return to Israel, the Hebrew language, the ‘ritual Law’, Moshiach and the Third Temple. These great grandchildren have replaced Judaism — Shabbos, Kashrus, Mikveh etc — with liberal humanitarianism supporting Arabs’ victim status. American Reform today appears to have an intermarriage rate of about 70%, with 75% of children from such intermarriages opting out of being Jewish. The root of the problem seems to be within the theology of American Reform Judaism. Don’t blame the sons for the sins of the fathers!

    • len

      Mr Feld, The problem is that these people don’t opt out of being Jewish, they herald their Jewish roots ironically as members of an ideology that seeks to destroy the Jewish State. They are politically astute to understand that this gives their movement a greater legitimacy than it would otherwise . Stalin and the Soviets used this tactic in the past and it is a lesson well learned by his great-grandchildren. These enemies of the Jewish State of Israel use their Judaism in a cynical manner and frankly are as much to blame for their sins as their fathers!

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    No Peter they hear the voice of Goebbels. Sometimes they confuse it for yours.

  • Lauren Goldman

    One word; putz.

  • destiny

    The antisemitism is not going to stop just because American Jews act like fools and do not defend Israel. People for BDS will turn on them and I believe they will be included in the Biblical account and prophecy of the prophets about the regathering of all Jews and their return to Israel. G-d does not lie!

  • Sam Harris

    I would like to hear no more from Peter Beinart.Please.

  • Abbushuki

    Peter doesn’t get it. In past generations, when A Jew married ‘out’, the family sat shiva. The response was exclusion, not inclusion. Today, the produce of liberal offshoots of Judaism are outmarrying at the rate of 70%+. Who are the spouses? Not conservative Evangelicals, but liberal Protestants or Catholics whose faith leans antiZionist.
    Do the math: the current liberal Jewish fertility rate is now less than one child/mother. If 70% marry non Jews, who will be left to pay $1200/yr temple dues? Or fund federations, etc?
    I give liberal Jewish orgs but 35 years until most go belly up. Yes, the properties will be sold to churches, but we cannot continue to call them Jewish, as Peter would have us do.
    Get used to your future. Liberal Jews are going extinct as Jews and the best thing is perhaps the ways of our past: Say Kaddish over them and progress forward toward Torah.

    • Don’t forget…the Orthodox community is having kids and thriving, and even many secular and Reform Jews are still pro-Israel.

      And so are most of America’s Evangelicals and Mormons, as well as many Catholics and even mainstream Protestants, and they all tend to have big families.

      One place where Israel needs to gt its message across is in Spanish. Right now, they aren’t doing so.

    • len

      Abbushki there’s a Yiddish saying “POTCH ZICH NISHT IN BEICHEL” really hard to translate except don’t be so comfortable or satisfied with your world or situation . The question is can we survive 35 years with so-called members of the tribe who participate in such PERFIDY.We were devastated by such members in the past in much shorter time frames!!!

  • steven L

    Indeed a majority of American Jews are so assimilated (they live on a different planet) that Israel is meaningless to them. If you are not with me you are against me!

  • SteveHC

    “We are entering, An era in which there is no longer going to be a Zionist consensus in the U.S.”

    – Beinart is *absolutely*, flat-out wrong. And if he truly believes that a minority of non-Zionist “Jewish kids” (presumably he’s referring to some college students) are somehow representative of American Jewry in general and that the rest of us should accept such a thing, he’s off-the-wall crazy.

  • Dogan. Akman

    Beinart is hearing voices all right.
    But these are not voices of the Jewish Sinai; these are the kinds of voices self-mutilating patients suffering from acute mental health problems do.

    Dogan Akman

  • Jeffrey Zucker

    It was for Jews who became Morranos that the Kol Nidre was created and with this in mind we should welcome these misguided Jews into the fold. However, these misguided Jews should remember from the Holocaust that the most German of German Jews who were decorated for their heroism in WWI were not saved from the furnaces. When the Arab Legions come the next time and if they are not defeated by the ZHL they will be slaughtered along with their more Zionist brethern. Saying that I am a Jew by accident of birth will not keep them from being slain by Hamas or Fatah or any of the fundamentalist Jihadi movements.

  • Shofar Shogood

    Every so often some portion of the herd, especially the sick and putrefying, needs to be culled for the general well being of the rest.