Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Responding to Peter Beinart, part 2


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.
One fact that Beinart cites elsewhere to support his claim that Israel controls all of the Palestinians between the river and the sea, without actually claiming that Area A/B and Gaza are occupied, is that the IDF is free to enter Area A in order arrest wanted Palestinians. That fact is true. However, Beinart omits the fact for several years the IDF did give up on any right to enter Area A. The result was that the operatives of the Second Intifadah had free rein to prepare their plots. Similarly, Israel only exercises control over what enters Gaza in order to reduce the capacity of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to gain any ability to launch offensive actions against Israel's cities. It is reasonable that Beinart would prefer that the Palestinians should not endure Israel's security measures. However, does Beinart have any suggestions for what Israel can do to ease those security measures that will not be exploited by the Palestinians to launch their terror operations against Israel? Does he accept that just because he can't imagine how the easing of any particular measure would be exploited doesn't mean that the Palestinians will not imagine how to do so? Has he ever consulted with anyone who understands security in order to gain such understanding?
  • 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.
For all the Afrikaner propaganda to the contrary prior to 1994, Nelson Mandela never disseminated anything to his followers calling for the Whites not to live in safety after Apartheid ended. While Arafat avoided doing so in front of Western or Israeli audiences, everything his movement teaches its people is that the Jews do not belong in "Filastin" and that one day the Jewish presence there will wind up like the Crusades. While the Palestinians acknowledge to themselves that they do not have the means to do so today, they preach that they are making progress towards doing so.
  • 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.
While Jews yearn to return to Zion where there was a 2,000 year hiatus of Jewish sovereignty, there is no such Jewish yearning to return to Khazaria or Yemen, where Jews have also exercised sovereignty for an identifiable block of history, let alone to any of the nations of Eastern Europe and the Muslim world where they had been oppressed for centuries. Further, Beinart swallows the Palestinians' narrative hook, line, and sinker about how they originated in what is now Israel and came to leave. Yes, there are Palestinians whose families were there since the 7th centuries and even some who are descendants from Jewish converts who were there for longer. They are the minority. Many of their families did not arrive in Palestine until the 19th century or even until the British Mandate. Some of the Arabs who left during the Independence War were not even born in Palestine. Their attachment to Palestine is because the larger Arab world, in order to have a propaganda point to use against Israel, did not welcome them. Since their cousins only allowed them the identity of "Palestinian," that is the identity they came to adopt.

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.
Has Beinart ever spoken to the Arabs of Abu Ghosh? to Gabriel Nadaf? to Ali Salam or Muhammad Zoabi? to the Arabs who have voted for Likud or the committee in the Likud Party that is reaching out to the Israeli-Arab population? Beinart says that we should listen to the Palestinians' voices. Does he mean that we should listen to the voices that support his narrative and ignore everyone else or is he willing to listen to Arabs whose lives are a demonstration that they feel like equal citizens in a Jewish state?

Part 1


  1. I have not yet read The Crisis of Zionism, but from what I have read here and elsewhere his arguments seem facile, particularly coming from someone who onced edited The New Republic. My guess is that Martin Peretz hates his guts.

    1. I always wanted to see Beinart debate his old boss. Marty would have creamed him.

  2. Whenever I hear someone from the Left babble on about listening to voices I am tempted to recommend a psychiatric ward where they can be watched and prevented from doing harm to themselves and others.
    And, in reality, I still believe this more about the voices in their heads, than those they can find that support the voices in their heads. These are the only voices they are interested in.
    What Peter Beinart has completely thrown aside are the "voices" (every time I here about ______ voices, I want to puke) of two different peoples who don't want to live "together in peace with equality for all" as some breathy beauty pageant contestant would put it. Maybe Beinart is disappointed that he never won Miss Massachusetts, but why should that be any Israeli's problem?
    The fate of foreign nations is none of his business. He doesn't have a "voice" in whether Israel should be allowed to exist just because he's jewish and thinks he does. If he really wants in, he should make aliyah and do his service in the IDF, hopefully in a hot zone where one the Arabs he constantly cries for tries to take off his head with a meat cleaver. But even that won't change Beinart's mind, unless the Arab succeeds.

  3. Beinart must change its first name to Pxter. The old white supremacist patriarchal version favors maleness, (which isn't a word), but then again neither is Latinx. Ah...

    This brings me to my news feed this morning.
    From CBS News, we have a story, "Dr. Fauci on why the coronavirus is wreaking havoc on Black communities"
    Obviously, I have no problem with the subject, and there is important information, but...
    It begins, "Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities have been hit hardest by the coronavirus."
    What is a Latinx? It's what you get when you mix a Latino with a Minx. I'm sure that must be it.
    Oh, wait a minute. "Minx" just might be too, too, too gender specific while carrying a negative meaning for "all women," when we know that all women 'must be believed.' We'll have to change that to "mxnx." Can one think of a word more fun to say?
    Also, we have here the establishment of a stand alone upper case "I" "Indigenous community," rather than small "i" indigenous communities, because united (but not really) the Left stands. The Left, New Left, Old New Left, or whatever, have created a Potemkin Village majority constituency (add two teaspoons self-flagellating middle class white "progressives") which can only be satiated by discriminating against white people, including Jews, on behalf of "people of color," and has someone working at CBS News.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    discrimination is anti-discrimination

    A related article:
    Marc Lamont Hill: The African American community has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus. Can you help me, first of all, make sense of why that's happening?

    I have an answer for Marc Lamont Hill, who just might be America's most important intellectual according to his website. Okay, don't laugh too hard.

    Marc Lamont Hill,
    You can cure corona virus in the Black community quickly and simply by apologizing for real about every nasty comment you have made about Jews. Embrace Israel and the Jewish people's right to their own indigenous homeland, denounce Farrakhan, Hamas, et al, and stand on your head for 3 days. Only then will we remove the curse plaguing you. Unfortunately, the black community will have to be careful while waiting for a vaccine, because there's no such thing as a curse.
    Yours truly,
    The Jews

  4. Beinart, and those on the other side that attempt to engage him, as if he is serious, spin wheels over and over as if the discourse matters. The advocates rarely, if ever, change their beliefs.

    Beinart ignores the Arab/Palestinian/Muslim genocidal intent toward Jews, and the degradation of humanity in those societies, as if these sides were operating from a level point of departure. It is foolish. So long as Jews are an existential enemy, that must always be addressed when putting forth the Palestinian narrative, or the presentation will lack merit.

    Beinart is reduced to the hustle. What would he do without the conflict? The situation is similar in the black community. Push privilege, make a business of keeping troubles, wrongs, hardships before the public. So correctly said by Booker T. Washington, "Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs-partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs."

    People have common sense and can tell the difference in the way that Israel treats people compared to its enemies. They know that Palestinians are the rejectionists. Beinart is hardly convincing.

    The more pressing issue is beyond Israel, although there are parallels, as discussed by Matti Friedman in Tablet. BLM and the conform culture, the woke religion, or whatever, adopted by tech, corporations, sports, etc., if that is not rejected by people, it will affect Israel as here, irrespective of Beinart's white noise.

    As a practical matter, define Beinart as pro-Palestinian who rejects there is an Israeli side at all. Define the anti-privileged perspective as bigoted because it relegates the "oppressed" to permanent inferiority no matter what. Hopefully, that will be its legacy, a bigoted doctrine, and self-determination will instead rule the day.

    1. "Beinart ignores the Arab/Palestinian/Muslim genocidal intent toward Jews"

      That's what must be emphasized, not what he advocates for his alternate reality in which there is no such intent.

      "People have common sense and can tell the difference in the way that Israel treats people compared to its enemies."

      If only that was true.

      "Define the anti-privileged perspective"

      They're not anti-privilege. They just have a different perspective on who should have privilege under the guise of opposing privilege in general. That's the hypocrisy that must be exposed.

    2. That's all that must be emphasized because that vitiates all the rest of his gobbledygook.

      As for people's common sense, have some faith. The loudmouths on most issues are a minority. That is why they must scream.

      As for the privilege issue, the point is that it is inherently bigoted or racist, no matter who is on the top or bottom, because it is grounded in superiority of one group over the other.

      Of course, these things must be exposed. Arguing with Beinart, rather than dismissing him for blatant onesidedness, is a waste of time because it is for the interested on either side of the issue.

  5. It's a good thing I didnt like Seth Rogen prior to his Nazi conversion.

    1. I don't know if I ever saw him in anything. There's so much dreck coming out of Hollywood I don't usually bother unless I've heard good things about a movie from people I trust, which is almost no one.

    2. You don't need to be religious not to be ignorant of some history involving your people. Why are so many Jews, so smart and advanced in their particular fields, so ignorant in this way?

      The irony is that others will never allow them to escape who they are. Ask BLM, the black athletes, Antifa and the Squad.

    3. That reminds me of a story from many decades ago from my first quarter at UC Berkeley. Long story short, I became friends with a Jewish guy in jazz ensembles. He was a Bay Area native, while I was from New York. His father was a professor of something or other, English I think, at SFSU. We got to talking about Israel and things Jewish one day and he told me emphatically that he did not identify with "it" at all, didn't think of himself as Jewish and didn't identify as such. Far too advanced for that sort of thing, you see. I told him, "don't worry, some antisemites will take care of that."
      The joke here, if there is one, is just that you had to see this kid's punim. Whereas I am not very often generally recognized as Jewish (my face doesn't fit a stereotype), he had an unmistakably Jewish face which pretty much screamed "I'm a Jew!" But he didn't self-identify, and he thinks that's going to make it all okay.
      A few years later, he moved to Bavaria with a German girl. Good luck with that.

  6. "Does anyone actually read Peter Beinart’s Jewish Currents?"

    People sometimes get more attention than they deserve because they are given prominence within a small circle.