Peter Beinart is neither a Zionist nor a liberal

Beinart promotes the same ideas pushed by the far-right settlers that demand one state only between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, assisting anti-Semitic campaigns that deny the Jews a national homeland
Ben Dror Yemini|Updated:
"Now liberal Zionists," wrote Peter Beinart in his July 8 editorial in the New York Times, "must make our decision, too. It’s time to abandon the traditional two-state solution and embrace the goal of equal rights for Jews and Palestinians. It’s time to imagine a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state."
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  • Beinart is the High Priest of the Jewish American left. He is also J Street's unofficial ideolog. His is a perplexing notion.
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    פיטר ביינרט
    פיטר ביינרט
    Peter Beinart
    You can argue about the rights of the Kurds to have an independent state or the Catalans, but there is no precedent in these times, to rescind an already existing state.
    In 2014 the Hebrew language daily Haaretz published a news report about settlers who set a Palestinian orchard on fire. The paper later retracted the story and issued an apology. There was no torching.
    But Beinart posted "A Lag Ba'omer pogrom" on his Twitter account. Pogrom? Even the news report he had referred to did not use that term. Not only was no one hurt, but no tree was damaged.
    On March 12 of the same year, he wrote that liberal Zionists should be concerned because he feared the Obama peace initiative would include a demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish State "The Clinton Parameters say nothing about the Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.” Beinart wrote.
    Well, the Clinton Parameters contained the demand that Israel must be recognized "as the homeland of the Jewish people." Beinart often thinks he can overlook facts.
    We clashed Beinart and I in 2005 in London, in a public debate. He presented the positions of a liberal Zionist, so I chose not to remind him of the pogrom tweet. Afterall one can make a mistake. A liberal Zionist is a person who has criticism of the Israeli government but does not deny its right to exist. A liberal is respectful of the right for self-determination on both sides. Beinart is no Zionist and is certainly not a liberal.
    Not all of Beinart's claims are invalid. The settler movement has been trying to bring about a one-state solution to the question of the West Bank and enjoy the support of part of the Israeli government.
    They are promoting the notion that the settlement movement has succeeded in upending the chances for a two-state solution, but that is not the case.
    Today the settlements occupy 1.5% of the West Bank and have municipal reserves that would include 7.9% of the territory. Most Israelis oppose even a partial annexation unless it is part of a peace deal.
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    מעלה אדומים התנחלויות התנחלות סיפוח
    מעלה אדומים התנחלויות התנחלות סיפוח
    Ma'ale Adumin settlement on the West Bank
    (צילום: AFP)
    But Beinart is throwing the baby away with the bathwater. He negates the rights of Jews to an independent state because a minority of them oppose the rights of Palestinians to have the same. He supports the far-right policies of settlers from his position on the left. The French call it " Les extrêmes se touchent," The opposite ends meet.
    Beinart refuses to explain how what had failed in Yugoslavia, that broke apart into seven separate entities after decades of unity, would work for Israelis and Palestinians, and how what is failing in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, and is barely hanging on in Belgium – would thrive between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
    In what reality could two groups that have so much animosity, follow different religions, different languages, culture, and tradition – succeed in existing in peace and harmony?
    The situation we are living with now, which is in need of change, would seem like heaven on earth compared to the nightmarish prospect of a one-state solution.
    Calls to exterminate Jews come not only from the Hamas terror group. They can be heard from members of the Palestinian Authority including its religious leader, who like his predecessor in the 1930s the pro-Nazi Amin al-Husseini, calls not only for the destruction of Israel but the extermination of Jews.
    Beinart is mum in the face of those calls.
    The Middle East is ripe with conflicts of national, ethnic, tribal, and religious groups waging war, slaughtering each other. But Beinart is mum in the face of that too.
    A year after the signing of the Oslo accords that were meant to end the conflict, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said in a speech he gave in South Africa, that the agreement he had just signed was a sham and was destined to be violated, calling it "a despicable truce," he likened it to the agreement signed between our prophet Mohammed and Koraish and one which Mohammed violated by conquering Mecca only two years after he had committed not to.
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    Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, President Clinton and Yasser Arafat sign the Oslo Accords at the White House
    Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, President Clinton and Yasser Arafat sign the Oslo Accords at the White House
    Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, President Clinton and Yasser Arafat sign the Oslo Accords at the White House
    (Photo: Reuters)
    These words were soon followed by a massive wave of terror attacks. Beinart wrote nothing about that. Nor did he write about the Palestinian rejection of former prime minister Ehud Barak's offer of an independent Palestinian state in 2,000, or their rejection of the Clinton initiative to end the conflict - that same year, or the solution offered by Ehud Olmert when he was prime minister in 2008. They also rejected President Obama's proposal in 2014.
    Why does Beinart only hold the Jews responsible for the ongoing Israeli control of the West Bank? Why has he never laid blame on the Palestinians? Relieving them from any responsibility is racist and condescending.
    Jews have lived side by side with Moslems before. It had most often ended with persecution and expulsion. How can it now be expected to work? How can he and the far-right settlers believe that one big state would succeed where no other similar political entity had?
    The Islamist movement Hamas is already gaining strength among Palestinians and according to the latest polling has 41% support. Is this terrorist group now expected to become part of a democratically governed entity?
    A clear majority of Israelis and Palestinians reject the notion of a one-state solution that will end the conflict. But Beinart pays no attention to that fact because he believes his idea would invigorate the Palestinian cause. But to what end?
    He is not motivated by a respect for the rights of both sides, he is fighting against the rights of one nation, out of all the nations in the world.
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    -A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement's demonstration in New York
    -A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement's demonstration in New York
    -A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement's demonstration in New York
    His words carry weight in some quarters in the West but there is nothing new in his message. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) campaign for the same thing and has been rejected as anti-Semitic by the European Union, the German parliament, the British Labour Party and elsewhere.
    Denying the right of Jews to a national homeland is anti-Semitism.
    Beinart is not Anti-Semitic. His intentions are different, but his position assists the anti-Semitic campaign.
    A one-state solution works when it is made up of two nations that share the same roots, religion, language, and culture. Even the same family. Jordan's population that includes a Palestinian majority is a case in point. You would be hard-pressed to find the differences among Jordanians. Not that Beinart has considered that option.
    He is not motivated by concern for the Palestinians or their rights. He is following the herd of anti-Zionists that has overtaken progressive thinking and is based on an industry of lies.
    Beinart's column is another small win for the Israeli far-right and some Palestinians, who oppose to a two-state solution. He is not promoting peace and reconciliation.
    The far-right deals in action as they work to achieve this nightmarish vision of one great state now supported by Beinart's words and ideas as part of their own propaganda.

    Ben Dror Yemini is the author of "INDUSTRY OF LIES"
    First published: 20:45, 07.12.20
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