March 23, 2016

“Open our minds” to Peter Beinart on Israel? No way.

Mindy AlterRebel Blogger

"Progressive" Jew Bernie Farber urges us to have an "open mind" about "progressive" Jew Peter Beinart:

Take, for example, CUNY professor Peter Beinart, a committed Jew and Zionist. Recognized as a brilliant scholar of modern Judaic thought, he was also a member of the debating society at Yale University, a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and a former editor of the New Republic –the youngest person ever to hold that position. Beinart attends an Orthodox synagogue in New York, keeps kosher and sends his children to Jewish day school.

In 2010, he wrote a searing commentary that challenged the norms of the community. An opponent of BDS (though he does support limited boycotts of goods from the occupied territories), he has questioned mainstream Jewry’s commitment to an open tent that would have room for such discussions, no matter how disturbing or how opposed we are to these ideas.

Beinart’s goal is to take the blinders off North American Jewry’s very staid leadership when it comes to Israel and criticism of Israeli policy. In a recent speech to the left-wing U.S. Zionist group J Street, Beinart said, “Any Jewish leader who conflates disagreement in policy with anti-Semitism should be fired."

No one -- I repeat, no one -- engages in such a conflation.

Israel's enemies, far too many of whom would would describe themselves as "progressive," don't want to change Israel policies; they want to do away with Jewish sovereignty over Israel altogether and replace the Jewish state with a Palestinian one.

And that desire, which is obsessive and relentless and frequently quite mad, is the reason why Israel-hate can -- and, indeed, should -- be considered the Jew-hate of our time.

Sadly, Beinart, "brilliant scholar" though he may be, is far too concerned with turning Israel into the "progressive" Jewtopia of his fevered dreams -- and condemning its failure to get with his program -- than he is with seeing the Zionhass that's all around him, and that is poisoning "progressive" precincts (and Jew-hate, as we know, inevitably destroys its host).

Here's how non-"progressive" Jew Shmuley Boteach sums up Beinart's blarney

In the past, with regard to terrorism committed against Israelis, Beinart has made statements that have downplayed Hamas’s crimes. Beinart has tried to be an optimist with regard to this genocidal organization and wrote in his book, “Hamas has in recent years issued several new documents, which are more compatible with a two-state solution.” This is in spite of the fact that Hamas’s stated goal in its charter is the murder of all Jews wherever they are found. During last year’s Gaza war, Beinart said, “I don’t think at all that Hamas is pursuing a strategy that is likely to increase civilian casualties by operating from urban areas.” Such comments are patently inane and deeply offensive.

Beinart also wrote an article against Elie Wiesel back in February in which he felt qualified to lecture the Nobel Prize winning author about human rights and Israeli democracy, accusing the Holocaust survivor of a “tendency to whitewash Jewish behavior.”

Beinart in the past has justified Palestinian terrorism as well. He recently said, “While we condemn Palestinian violence, we must recognize this painful truth: that Israeli policy has encouraged it... Hard as it is to say, the Israeli government is reaping what it has sowed.” Beinart believes we must try to understand the terrorists’ motivations underlying their homicidal intentions and try to see what we did to cause them to want to kill women and children.

These very same ideas surfaced in our recent debate when I asked Beinart, “A few minutes ago you said that Israeli policies would be used to incite more terrorism. Do you repudiate this? [When you write that] 9/11 was a monstrous, demented response to American foreign policy, do you thoroughly repudiate what you wrote?” “No!” Beinart responded. “9/11 was a response to American foreign policy. Read what Osama bin Laden said.”

Yes, to Peter Beinart, Osama bin Laden is a credible source.

I was astonished at these dangerous words being spoken by one of the darlings of the academic Left. Bret Stephens, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, reviewed Beinart’s book The Crisis of Zionism, and summed up why his approach is so dangerous. He cited Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic, and wrote, “Characterizing anti-Semitic acts as a response to something Jews did doesn’t explain anti-Semitism. It reproduces it.”

Exactly. The only thing I'd add to that is Carl Sagan's observation that sometimes, when your mind is too open, your brains can fall out.


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commented 2016-03-23 15:54:00 -0400
When the Rebel wanders into the area of anti-Semitism I feel a bit queasy. Last week came a story here glorifying Hungarian President Viktor Orbán for his nationalistic pride whipped up by an attack on Muslim immigration. Readers of the Rebel responded with great gusto — praising a man who has such patriotism. But the article, and the responses, made no reference to Orbán’s anti-Semitism. One commenter went so far as to say it is ok to hate Jews as long as you hate Muslims more.

The Rebel gets away with blanket anti-Muslim statements and some seem to think that is good for Jews. Unfortunately, for many readers on here Muslims and Jews are cut from the same cloth: middle-eastern foreigners who look weird and cannot be trusted.

Sadly, if it assumed you can get away with hatred of Muslims because readers are ignorant, it may come back as vicious hatred of Jews for the same reasons. And for people of European background there is a much longer tradition of anti-Semitism and a history of making the Jew the fall-guy.
commented 2016-03-23 14:19:31 -0400
Am in full agreement with you.
We should remember, if there had been no Jews, there would have been no Christianity.
commented 2016-03-23 14:01:32 -0400
The UN is full of anti Semites and human rights abusers. When the Mavi tried to breach the legal naval blockade, the UN was forced to admit that the blockade was legal under the San Remo Manual 1994, the law of Naval confflict and blockades.
commented 2016-03-23 13:55:52 -0400
Dershowitz was the youngest full Law professor at Harvard. The man is right on target!
That was a great summation of facts about Israel.
commented 2016-03-23 13:20:34 -0400
Armenia, occupied by the Turks. the Kurds occupied by the Turks and Irian. the Basques occupied by Spain and France
commented 2016-03-23 13:15:42 -0400
CUNY professor Peter Beinart”
sorry…I couldn’t get past cuny. I know it’s not cunny ,but WTF!
sounds great! “I am a CUNY professor”.
nice title…bahahahahahaha!