The New York Times has eagerly accepted Peter Beinart’s opinion piece published on July 8, 2020, titled, “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State.” The piece by Beinart rejects the existence of the Jewish state of Israel and calls for a bi-national state. Would the NYTimes dare solicit an opinion piece that suggested that Turkey should be a bi-national state made up of Turks and Kurds with equal rights? It’s doubtful! It is not the first time the NYTimes has published an op-ed piece that advocates the elimination of the Jewish state and the creation of a bi-national state. In 2009, the NYTimes published such an op-ed by the Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, that argued for replacing the Jewish state with “Isratine,” as the name implies, an Israel-Arab-Palestinian state. In his Twitter account, NYTimes editor Max Strasser, expressed his belief that Beinart’s views might at first seem controversial, but will before long become mainstream opinion among American Jewish liberals. Strasser has obviously not considered the majority of American Jews, or the wishes of Israeli-Jews.
The arrogance of both Beinart (editor at large of Jewish Currents) and the NYTimes are clearly exposed in ignoring the will and wishes of the Israeli people. The overwhelming majority of Israeli-Jews are proud of their Jewish state and would not be compelled to share it with an Arab-Palestinian people who seek their destruction, to kill them, or displace them. A look at the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) charter, not to mention Hamas’ charter, reveals those very intentions. After two millenniums of persecution in the diaspora, both in Christian and Muslim lands, Israeli-Jews cherish their one Jewish state in the world, a state that has been a major Zionist success story.
Frankly, few Jewish people care about Beinart “disbelief” in the Jewish State. Beinart’s views regarding the Jewish state are shared by many enemies of the Jewish state, the Palestinians in particular. These enemies couldn’t destroy the Jewish state by war, terror, or economic and political warfare. Some Palestinians might agree to a bi-national state as the first stage before eliminating Jews by sheer weight of importing Palestinians from throughout the Middle East. Once they have become a majority, they would democratically or otherwise (through terror) abolish the Law of Return, and all the symbols of the Jewish state.
Beinart’s proposal of a unitary bi-national state would result in the elimination of the very purpose of Zionism – to have a sovereign state for the Jewish people in their ancestral home. The example Beinart provides for conflict resolution – peace in Northern Ireland between Protestant and Catholic, is a pitiful case. Both Catholics and Protestants share the same Judeo-Christian mores, the largely secular ways of western societies. Beinart seems to have deliberately overlooked Islam. Islam is a triumphalist religion, which seeks to reshape the world in its own image with sharia law. Palestinians have embraced such features of Islam as Jihadism and martyrdom by suicide killers. Contrast that with Israeli Jews commitment to peace and enshrining the value of human life.
In his radical left-wing weltanschauung, Beinart presents the Palestinians as victims. He does not however, mention the Palestinians refusal to negotiate with Israel, or become a party in shaping the Trump peace plan. They rejected the Trump peace plan before it was even presented. Likewise, Beinart projects actions the Netanyahu government has not taken. He writes, “Events have now extinguished that hope. About 640,000 Jewish settlers now live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the Israeli and American governments have divested Palestinian statehood of any real meaning. The Trump administration’s peace plan envisions an archipelago of Palestinian towns scattered across as little as 70 percent of the West Bank, under Israeli control.”
A two-state solution is in the hands of the Palestinians, and the only qualification Israel has demanded is that the Palestinian state must be demilitarized. Yet, the Palestinians have rejected both the July, 2000, Camp David summit offerings, where Prime Minister Barak made a generous offer to Arafat, endorsed by President Clinton. In 2008, PM Olmert made an even more generous offer, which Mahmoud Abbas rejected. In both cases Israel would incorporate the large Jewish settlement blocs along the Green Line into Israel, amounting at the most to 5% of the West Bank while compensating the Palestinians with an equal size of Israeli territory adjacent to Gaza. Beinart argued falsely that, “Israel has all but made its decision: one country that includes millions of Palestinians who lack basic rights.” There are very few Palestinians in the areas Israel would incorporate, not millions, and just as Palestinians in East Jerusalem who choose to vote, so would the few West Bank Palestinians incorporated into Israel.
Beinart displays a weak memory as it pertains to the early 20th century Palestine. He conveniently disregards the 1929 pogroms, when Arabs brutally massacred their Jewish neighbors in Hebron, Safed, and Jerusalem. He forgets that some of the early Zionists envisioned a bi-national state, but were discouraged by the Arab pogroms in 1920, 1929, and 1936-1939, inspired by the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, Hitler’s ally. The Arabs of Palestine made it clear that they didn’t want Jews in Palestine other than as Dhimmis (subjected people) and only in small numbers. Beinart is also wrong about his statement that, “Holocaust lens leads many Jews to assume that anything short of Jewish statehood would mean Jewish suicide.” He asserts that Zionism is primarily a reaction to the Holocaust. Once again, Beinart conveniently ignores the fact that Theodore Herzl wrote the Zionist manifesto “Der Judenstaat” in 1896, long before the Holocaust. Moreover, Jews have prayed for two-thousand years for the return to Zion, and for Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, pleading when holidays end, “next year in Jerusalem.”
The solution Beinart proposes of a unitary, bi-national state, would be an unworkable disaster for both Jews and Arab-Palestinians. It would be neither a home for Israeli-Jews, nor for Arab-Muslim Palestinians. It would be an arena of conflict and bloodshed, a bi-national state with two rival nationalist creeds, with a history of conflict. In the arrangement Beinart envisions, the Arab side would seek to pull the country toward the Arab world, while Israeli Jews would want to continue the close ties with world Jewry. According to Islamic culture and history, any land that has once been Muslim, can only be ruled by Muslims. Accordingly, all of Palestine is Waqf land (Islamic endowment), and thus has no room for Jewish sovereign rights. This does not bode well for peace and harmony.
The solution that can actually create peace, harmony and security is a confederation between Jordan and West Bank Palestinians. Jordan already has a Palestinian majority population, King Abdullah II would be the titular head of state, and the government might be led by a West Bank Palestinian Prime Minister, perhaps in rotation with a native Jordanian (tribesman). The cabinet would be split between West Bankers and Jordanians. Ramallah would become a second administrative center along with Amman. Palestinians would feel totally at home with their kinsmen, sharing the same religion, language and culture. They would have an outlet to the sea (Aqaba), and the Palestinian and Jordanian flags are almost identical. Palestinians would be in their natural environment and have their pride and citizenship restored.
Peter Beinart’s misguided view of Zionism notwithstanding, and his obsession with finding fault with the Jewish state, shows a high degree of self-loathing.