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July 21, 2020 4:17 am

2010 Peter Beinart Condemns Himself as Anti-Israel

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avatar by Elder of Ziyon


Peter Beinart. Photo: Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons.

Daniel Paul Rubenstein found an interview that Jeffrey Goldberg did with Peter Beinart when he released his Crisis of Zionism book. (I’m sure that a new book is in the works.)

It is interesting to read what Beinart said then — already part of the progressive Zionist left before he went full blown anti-Israel:

I disagreed with Tony Judt’s essay in 2003 arguing for a binational state. That should be evident from my essay, which is all about saving liberal Zionism. …

In general, I think American Jewish leaders and commentators have become far too promiscuous about throwing around words like anti-Israel. In my mind, you’re anti-Israel if you want Israel to disappear as a Jewish state. Being a harsh critic is something very different, and even if you believe someone is insufficiently attentive to Israeli security, that merely makes them wrong, not anti-Israel, unless you can prove that they are inattentive because they would not mind if Israel ceased to exist as a Jewish state.

There certainly are leftists (and for that matter) rightists who focus so disproportionately on Israel’s failings as to raise questions about their true motives.

Sound familiar?

I’m not asking Israel to be Utopian. I’m not asking it to allow Palestinians who were forced out (or fled) in 1948 to return to their homes. I’m not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state. I’m actually pretty willing to compromise my liberalism for Israel’s security and for its status as a Jewish state. What I am asking is that Israel not do things that foreclose the possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, because if it is does that it will become — and I’m quoting Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak here — an “apartheid state.”

It’s interesting that, even then, Beinart believed that Arab Israelis were not equal citizens under the law — of course they are — but he was willing to throw them under the bus to keep Israel as a Jewish state:

And foreclosing the possibility of a Palestinian state is exactly what the current Israeli coalition wants to do. You ask what has changed. First, year after year of settlement growth at triple the rate of the Israeli population. … The more the settlements expand, the more settlers — including fanatical settlers — take over parts of the Israeli bureaucracy and become integral to the Israeli army and rabbinate, all of which makes the prospect of removing them without outright civil war more remote.

This was Beinart in 2010. Since then, what has changed? Netanyahu is still prime minister, Abbas is still in power, the amount of land for settlements is virtually identical, and the percentage of Israelis living in the territories has gone up only marginally (4.1% to 4.8%).

However, Hamas still controls Gaza and has more weapons, Hezbollah has more rockets, the Palestinians rejected a peace framework from the most pro-Palestinian president ever, they initiated a new terror spree of cars and knives, and the current president is offering them billions of dollars to accept a contiguous state — admittedly smaller than the previous ones they rejected, but still a state — and they don’t want to talk to him.

And with all that new data, Beinart changed from Zionist to anti-Israel — by his own 2010 definition.

Elder of Ziyon has been blogging about Israel and the Arab world for a really long time now. He also controls the world, but deep down, you already knew that.

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