One observation about the responses to Peter Beinart since he released The Crisis of Zionism is that they have not worked. By work, I mean doing more than rallying the faithful to be louder in support of Israel. Rather, working would mean to convince people who think that Beinart's prescription is a path towards achieving peace that in fact Beinart's prescription is one for Israel to sign a new version of the Munich Agreement. I have no idea if my alternate approach would work according to that standard, but at least it has not been shown not to work. My approach is to take Beinart's arguments that sound reasonable if you don't have the requisite background and fill in some information that demonstrates why it is not so reasonable. Others could probably do a better job of marshaling and presenting the facts that expose Beinart's fallacies, but someone has to call attention to that task. The previous post covered four of Beinart's arguments, and I continue here.
- Israel is already a binational state. The only question going forward is whether Israel will be a binational state in which the bulk of one people is disenfranchised or one in which all subjects have a voice in the government.
- White South Africans didn’t imagine prior to 1994 that they could live safely under a government that gave an equal voice to black citizens.
- Palestinian desire to return to homes in internationally recognized Israel.
- Why is it that American Jews see reading from a prayer book about returning to a place we left 2,000 years ago as perfectly normal but dismiss the desire of those who wish to return to a place they left less than 100 years ago.
A further point is that Beinart regularly calls for understanding the narrative of the nakba. However, in order to reconcile that narrative with the truth, it is necessary to assimilate some basic facts. Yes, there were between 500,000 and 700,000 Arabs living in what Israel came to control following the Independence War prior to the war who did not live there afterwards. The Arabs who left were a mixture of those who were evicted by the Israelis, those who left because they heard rumors of Israeli atrocities, those who left because of the Arab League's call to facilitate the annihilation of the Jews, those who left just because they did not want to be in a war zone and thought they had a safe place to go to outside, and those who were evicted by the Arabs. Does Beinart have any sources, besides the Palestinians' say-so, that apportion the emigres into those categories?
- 20% of Israel’s population are Palestinian who will never feel like equal citizens in a Jewish state.