Peter Beinart: Trojan Horse in the Temple

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Peter Beinart, author of the recently published The Crisis of Zionism and editor of the Daily Beast’s “Open Zion” blog, has been criss-crossing the nation on a speaking tour for months, speaking at synagogues and to Jewish student groups on college campuses. He sometimes lectures alone, and sometimes engages in “debates” with individuals whose areas of disagreement with him are limited.

American Jews are not alone in laying out the welcome mat for Beinart. Within the past week, the Jerusalem Post published an editorial welcoming Beinart into the “big tent” of “Zionism,” and commending his call for a boycott of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as “well-intentioned” and somehow different from similar calls by foreign governments. In an unprecedented move, the Jerusalem Post’s weekly columnist Isi Leibler was compelled to condemn his own newspaper’s editorial as “idiotic.”

Why are we Jews laying out the red carpet to this man? And why, in general, are we Jews so friendly and deferential to our worst enemies?

One reason is that, despite the efforts of our enemies through the ages to portray us as super-sophisticated criminal masterminds, we Jews are actually very simple-minded and naive, at least where our enemies are concerned.

Beinart professes at every opportunity to love Israel and to even be a “Zionist.” He boasts that he even has an Israeli flag displayed on the wall of his six-year-old son’s room. This seems to render his Jewish audiences oblivious to Beinart’s repetition and endorsement of nearly every element of the Arab world’s anti-Israel narrative and his overwhelmingly negative characterization of Israel as an “undemocratic” society.

Not that Beinart isn’t also a clever debater. His principal tactic is to make so many false or misleading statements all at once that it is impossible to reply to or even to keep track of them all. Inevitably, some of them will sink subliminally into the minds of his audience, if they are the least bit open to suggestion. Also in his arsenal of debating tactics are distortions by omission and false assumptions implied by his tone and the drift of his argument. These methods are especially insidious since they do not require the “lie direct” and make it difficult for the audience to examine the implied assumptions on which they are based.

All three of these tactics were much in evidence during Beinart’s debate with Daniel Gordis at Columbia University on May 2. Within the space of six minutes, Beinart informed his audience that Israel’s rule over the Palestinians is “undemocratic” and “South African”  in character (he avoids using the inflammatory word “apartheid” when speaking to Jews not yet fully indoctrinated in hostility to Israel); that “occupied” Palestinians are not allowed to vote, while Israeli Jewish “settlers” in the “occupied territories” are; that Palestinians are stopped at checkpoints while Jewish settlers are waived through them; that Israel is sponsoring “settlement growth” in the “remote” Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba and in Ariel, which is “thirteen miles inside” the Palestinian territories; that Israel is “paying” Israelis to move to the “occupied” territories; and that Israel’s government is the obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The claim that Israel denies the Palestinian Arabs the right to vote is flat-out false. Palestinians have voted repeatedly in Palestinian elections without Israeli interference of any kind. The only reason they have not voted in the last few years is that Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, has refused to hold elections in open defiance of the Palestinians’ own constitution, and he has continued to rule his people without any legal mandate. That is Abbas’s own choice, not that of Israel or, for that matter, the Palestinian Arabs. The claim that Palestinians are forced to submit to searches at checkpoints while Israelis are automatically waived through is equally false. As Eli E. Hertz has pointed out, Israeli Jews are routinely subjected to searches at checkpoints whenever they go into a supermarket, restaurant or post office, or get on a bus—usually several times each day. In addition, they are frequently stopped at roadside checkpoints, just as Palestinian Arabs are.

Nor does Israel’s government pay anyone a single shekel as a reward for moving to a “settlement.” In fact, it issues so few permits for new houses in the so-called “settlements”—actually villages and suburban communities less than 15 miles from Israel’s 1949 armistice lines—that it is almost impossible for young Jewish couples with children to remain in them, much less for Israelis from within the “green line” to move to them.

Furthermore, there is no real similarity between Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. Israel has completely integrated public transportation, restaurants and markets, and has no legal restrictions on the right of the 1.2 million Arab citizens of Israel to live on or to own land anywhere in Israel. There are numerous integrated neighborhoods throughout the country, and Arabs serve as members of parliament, judges and government ministers. In fact, an Arab judge recently convicted former Israeli president Moshe Katzav of rape and sentenced him to prison. Could a black judge (of course there were none) have done that to a white president in apartheid South Africa?

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  • Bamaguje

    Beinart is a clueless blithering idiot!!

    • Choi

      and he's a Traitorous POS!

  • David

    What is so sad is that so few Jews know that Beinart's "facts" are lies. What is so sad is that they are more interested in their country clubs than Jewish history, even contemporary Jewish history.

    • Choi

      And many of the Country Club "set" give more of a "damn" about their Golf Scores than the survival of their own flesh & blood.

  • Josh

    Time has come to stop referring to Reform movement ashrams as synagogues or temples.

  • Juana

    Decent people are at a disadvantage when it comes to setting boundaries and developing strategies of response if boundaries are crossed. They tend to extend the benefit of the doubt and to trust that reason and decency will prevail, without forceful confrontation. This rarely happens.

  • dougjmiller

    Peter Beinart is as bad as they come, sneaky, vindictive and virulent. That fact that many of us Jews don't recognize Beinart's malevolence is tragic. Over the centuries anti-Semites have called us every name under the sun, everyone of them defamatory and wrong. The one name they have never called us is the one insult that's true, stupid. Although individually we may be very bright, as a group we are as dumb as door knobs. It's miraculous that we have survived for 4000 years. The fact that we have managed to survive given the continuing and never ending attempts by monsters to eliminate us, is testimony to G-d's patience and caring.

    • Dcat

      He's really just an uninformed ego-maniac. Give the guy a break.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    It was a so called "paleswinian" who assassinated US Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_F._Kennedy

    • Zionista

      true – sirhan sirhan hated RFK because he was pro Israel – that's the religion of peace for you – and what could be called the first act of islamonazi terrorism in the US

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        If the paleswinian s.s. wasn't let into the US, RFK would have lived and may have been elected President.

        Arab nazis kill Americans IN America.

        Arab nazi Major Pig Hasan killed Americans in Fort Hood Texas.

        How much longer must Americans ignore reality?

  • H&R_ Barack

    RE: "Peter Beinart, author of the recently published The Crisis of Zionism"

    In a related matter: There is an attempt to combine Christianity and Islam in a common worship service!

    Whenever we, as biblical Christians, think that things couldn’t possibly become more preposterous in Christendom, we need to call to mind the Scriptures that tell us that the time will come when Christians will not endure sound doctrine, and many will corrupt the Word of God

    Chrislam? Christian Palestinianism??
    More on the topic: http://www.thebereancall.org/content/chrislam-chr

  • H&R_ Barack

    RE: "Peter Beinart, author of the recently published The Crisis of Zionism"

    In a related matter: There is an attempt to combine Christianity and Islam in a common worship service!

    Whenever we, as biblical Christians, think that things couldn’t possibly become more preposterous in Christendom, we need to call to mind the Scriptures that tell us that the time will come when Christians will not endure sound doctrine, and many will corrupt the Word of God

    Chrislam? Christian Palestinianism??
    More on the topic: http://www.thebereancall.org/content/chrislam-chr

    Allah is a false god of man’s making.

    Unfortunately for Muslims, and considerably more so for the rest of the world, Islam is extremely strict and uncompromising,

    Over the last 1400 years, 270 million non-believers were murdered by Muslim jihadists.

  • Schlomotion

    It is so refreshing that someone like Peter Beinart has come along to put the last nail in the coffin of the crazy and rabid Zionists by offering a sensible, moderate, and less fanatical Zionism. The Israeli Wahabbists like Neuwirth and Landau will gnash their teeth about it, but Alan Dershowitz was one of these saber-toothed Imperial Zionists who tried also to quietly get Peter Beinart into the Big Tent, imploring him to not air AIPAC's dirty laundry, dissentions, schisms, and machinations bare to the public, and by all means do not offer Americans a sensible alternative and options. What Israel had hoped to do to Islam from places like Brookings and Hudson, namely engineer a more moderate, less stupid version of Radical Islamism is now thankfully happening to Radical Judaism as well.

    • Ben

      Beinart sure can inspire demented outbursts of disjointed, random, comic, fury from his supporters.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      The more apologetics and obfuscation socialist scum engage in, the sooner Americans will wake up to the threat islamofascism and its puppet master socialism are.

      Every Islamofascist atrocity put another nail in the coffin of "the religion of peace" and the FAKE "anti-war" cult.

  • Kamath

    As a non-Jewish person, it surprises me why some Jewish persons stamp and spit on their own religious, philosophical, intellectual heritage. What a tragedy!

  • YetWave

    The difficulty is not Beinart's 'brand' of Zionism. It is the willingness of Jews like Beinart to bare their necks to the arabs in exchange for nothing. Any kinder, gentler brand of Zionism is possible only after those who have sworn to eliminate Israel have recognized that the Jews are in the neighborhood to stay. Lefties think that any democracy, be it Israeli or ours here in the US, is somehow untrue to its aim if it compromises the liberties it would ordinarily extend to all in order to keep its citizens alive. Fabulists like Beinart take Israel to task harder and quicker for the perception that it may be violating its democratic charter than they do any of the arab despocracies surrounding it. For this guy to claim his love of Israel and offer the flag on his son's bedroom as testimony of his veneration is pure horsefeathers.

    • Schlomotion

      A kinder, gentler brand of Zionism is possible now too, if only we isolate and ridicule the hardcore Zionist extremists and reward the moderate, sensible Zionists with social rewards and acknowledgements. At least, this is how Jews have been speaking about dog-training the Muslims. I am sure it works on them just as well.

      • YetWave

        It doesn't matter who of our own "we" reward or isolate or ridicule. What kind of Jew would admire or see anything positive about another Jew who who advocates a moderated stance toward those who would kill us? The saying is true that if the arabs put down their guns tomorrow there would be peace; if the Israelis did so, the result would be another 6 million dead Jews. "Zionists " like Beinart and the despicable Jeremy Ben-Ami wear Team Torquemada t-shirts.

        • Schlomotion

          You remind me how it was Jesus was driven out of the Jewish community into his own franchise.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            When the Messiah returns there will be 1,000 years of peace.

            Has there been 1,000 years of peace in the past 2,000 years?

          • Schlomotion

            Thank you. You have proven that you are not Jewish but rather some lunatic fringe Millennialist. That's what I was hoping for. Your philosophy is cobbled together from Tertullian, Hitler, and Pat Robertson. Congratulations. You outed yourself.

  • Wallace Edward Brand

    Ms. Rachel Neuwirth has got it right. The so called debate between Peter Beinart and David Suisaa,on a two-state [temporary] solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict at the Temple Israel in Los Angles was no more debate than had occurred a few days earlier on May 15 at UCLA with a fake debate between the two radical Muslims, Hussein Ibish and Resa Aslan on a one [Arab Majority] state solution.. Where is a forum for "one lawful Jewish state West of the Jordan River" following the plan of the WWI Allies at San Remo as a solution to the Arab Israeli conflict? You can learn about the plan in a book recently published by Amazon on kindle. Salomon Benzimra, "The Jewish People's Rights to the Land of Israel". You won't hear about it from a platform at UCLA nor at the Temple Israel.
    Good work Ms Neuwirth!

  • Raymond in DC

    Toward the end of the Beinart-Gordis debate, I caught a perfect example of Beinart's obfuscation. Asked what Israel could or should do if "Palestine" violated signed agreements after Israel withdrew to the 1967 lines ("with agreed swaps"), he advised that Israel could "raise holy hell". Asked by Gordis to explain what that would entail, Beinart said Israel could turn to the US, which would pressure the Palestinians. As if Israel is inclined to further outsource its security interests…

    Going further, Beinart noted how Obama had threatened to pull funding over the Palestinian quest for recognition as a state – ignoring the fact that 1) Obama had no legal choice but to cut funding to UNESCO; 2) Obama is budgeting restoration of that funding; and 3) *No* direct or indirect aid to the Palestinians have yet been reduced.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    With "zionists" like peter beinart, who needs enemies?

  • dos

    Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 reveal who they are.

  • Sabra

    But my question is, why does he do it? What motivates him to side with sworn enemies of Israel, all the while professing love of Israel? He knows the truth, is he just stupid? (I doubt that) so what on earth motivates this passion and drive to destroy Israel? Does he honestly think in another holocaust, his own Jewish blood would be overlooked and he’d be saved? Of course not! So where will he run to if Israel no longer exists as a safe haven for Jews the world over?????????