Stanford University history professor Joel Beinin made the latest in a series of appearances on the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center (PPJC) Palo Alto cable television program “Other Voices” on November 2, 2010. The subject of the show was “Israel-Palestine: A New Protest Generation” and, as before, it provided a platform for Beinin’s anti-Israel animus.
The show began with a brief discussion of what Beinin delightedly called the “overall decline” of the United States, evidenced by the “failure even at the crude military level in both Iraq and Afghanistan” and the resulting inability to employ the military “as an instrument of policy.”
Following these inflammatory claims, the interview turned to its focus: the recent phenomenon of young, Jewish Israelis—most of whom belong to a group called “Anarchists Against the Wall”—participating in Palestinian rallies against the “illegal settlements” and the West Bank security barrier. As Beinin put it, these Israelis stand “shoulder to shoulder with Palestinians” with the goal of preventing “some of the violence that the army might direct against them.”
Beinin pointed out that a culture has emerged in which Palestinians are willing to deem Israelis “one of us” if rubber bullets or other Israeli military actions cause them to suffer debilitating injuries during rallies. He described a recent tour of the West Bank led by an Israeli who had “lost sight in his left eye” at one of these rallies and, as a result, was considered a hero by the Palestinians. “I might as well have been going around with Yasser Arafat,” Beinin exclaimed. This Israeli, he boasted, was one of the leaders of what he called the “successful divestment [from Israel] campaign at Hampshire College” in 2009. In fact, it was not a successful divestment campaign, as was widely acknowledged at the time.
In an ominous development, Beinin noted that these young Israelis are now “following Palestinian leadership.” To be more specific, he remarked, they “help [the Palestinians] conduct the struggle as the [movement’s] popular committee has decided it should be conducted.” Beinin claimed that these young Israelis are motivated by their willingness to look at their “colonial privilege” and “[think] about it seriously,” something the older “Israeli peace movement” did not do. Members of this “militant, persistent Israeli opposition,” he later added, are willing to act repeatedly as the front line in the protests, despite the “enormous psychological and physical toll” involved.
Palestinians, Beinin contended, organize regular meetings to coordinate their activities with this new cohort of Israeli activists. He narrated a typical dialogue:
If [the Palestinians] say, ‘We would like you [the Israeli activists] to bring hundreds of Israelis on this day,’ we might tell them, ‘that’s not possible; it’s a holiday. How about that day?’
“It’s the Palestinians who are running the show,” Beinin noted approvingly.
He went on:
The Israeli young women . . . [have begun to] meet with the Palestinian women separately. Then they come to the [larger group] meetings and say, ‘This is what the Palestinian women want.’
This gender segregation is necessary because Palestinian women, as Beinin pointed out, “don’t come to meetings with men they don’t know.” The fact that the Palestinian contingent would completely ignore its female members were it not for the participation of Israeli women apparently does not bother Israeli “peace activists.”