Monday, July 20, 2020

A dishonest attempt to end Israel. And then write the book - by Liat Collins

Beinart’s idea of Judaism is based on a cult-like belief in “Tikkun Olam,” mending the world. But breaking Israel won’t mend anything. Beinart is not making an honest attempt to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but a dishonest attempt to end Israel. And then write the book.

Liat Collins..
My Word/JPost..
16 July '20..

Peter Beinart is back with a vengeance – and an idea. Beinart, who periodically provokes a publicity storm, must be pleased with the response to his latest articles. People are talking about him again. In an opinion piece last week with the headline “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State,” published in The New York Times (of course), Beinart wrote: “Now liberal Zionists must make our decision... It’s time to abandon the traditional two-state solution and embrace the goal of equal rights for Jews and Palestinians. It’s time to imagine a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.” The op-ed was a shorter version of an essay for Jewish Currents.

Beinart is the sort of progressive who hopes to be ahead of his time – changing the discourse and applying pressure in the age of bullying political correctness to try to change facts on the ground.

The articles and subsequent interviews show that Beinart looks to the South African model for inspiration. This has the double effect of falsely equating Israel with the apartheid regime, always satisfying for anti-Zionist liberals, and making the point that with enough pressure through the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement, Israel will agree to give up and disappear.

The essay in Jewish Currents had the title: “Yavne: A Jewish Case for Equality in Israel-Palestine.” From this, we’re meant to believe that Beinart not only knows modern Israeli history to a fault, but is also an expert on its ancient past.

“When Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai asked the Roman Emperor to give him Yavne, he was acknowledging that a phase of Jewish history had run its course,” writes Beinart. “It was time for Jews to imagine a different path. That time has come again. Imagine a country in which, at sundown on the 27th of Nissan, the beginning of Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day – Jewish and Palestinian co-presidents lower a flag in Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem as an imam delivers the Islamic du‘a’ for the dead. Imagine those same leaders, on the 15th of May, gathering at a restored cemetery in the village of Deir Yassin, the site of a future Museum of the Nakba, which commemorates the roughly 750,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled during Israel’s founding, as a rabbi recites El Malei Rachamim, our prayer for the dead.

“That’s what Yavne can mean in our time. It’s time to build it.”

You can almost hear John Lennon’s “Imagine” playing in the background.

It’s easier to deconstruct Beinart’s thinking than build his Utopia – at least, it is for those of us who live here, in the Jewish state he wants to erase.

Next week marks my 41st “aliyah anniversary.” I don’t know how much time 49-year-old Beinart has spent in Israel, but it is clear he doesn’t live here. He lives in a certain liberal state of mind rather than in the real world.

The author of the 2012 book The Crisis of Zionism, Beinart seems to think that fear of another Holocaust is what guides all Israeli Jews. He’s wrong. I regularly recommend that foreign dignitaries begin their trips to Israel with a visit to Jerusalem’s City of David rather than the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum. Israeli history did not start with the Shoah.

The same week that I celebrate my personal journey to Jerusalem – an unabashed Zionist – the Jewish world marks the start of the Nine Days leading up to Tisha Be’av – the solemn date that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in 586 BCE and 70 CE, respectively.
An Orthodox Jew – again unashamedly – I mark the fast day with the traditional signs of mourning. But it is a mourning mixed with pride. Rabbi Yochanan Ben-Zakkai is a street name in the thriving capital city; Yavne is a small Israeli community.

Israel is not an experiment. And – despite the trying times – it is not a failure or a failed state. Even in today’s “Cancel Culture” Beinart can’t just wipe off the map a country of nine million people (more than six million of them Jews) because it doesn’t meet the expectations he formed in the comfort of his New York home.

Beinart is not alone. Israelis are often lectured on what we should do, be, and represent. Jewish detractors always profess to be saddened by having to scold us. But that doesn’t stop them. And they’d rather do it publicly with headlines in The New York Times.

They publish false narratives as “thought pieces” – providing more fodder for Israel’s enemies, cultivating violence rather than the peace they profess to seek. They live at a safe distance from rockets, incendiary balloons and the terrorist attacks that Israelis – of all types – have to deal with. Is Beinart aware that earlier this month rockets were launched from Gaza on southern Israel? Does the sound of rocket fire and the Red Alert siren penetrate his echo chamber, or does he only hear it when Israel responds to the attacks?

If there were an easy solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, doesn’t Beinart’s ego allow him to think that we might have come up with it in the past seven decades without waiting for him to save us?

Beinart’s one-state proposal is not new. But it’s not popular among those who would have to live with the consequences. He avoids examining the extent that Palestinian rejection of Jewish self-determination lies at the core of the conflict. However, next time Beinart condemns the 2018 Nation-State Law – determining Jerusalem to be the capital of the State of Israel, “Hatikvah” to be its anthem, the Star of David to be its flag and Hebrew to be its official language – he should keep in mind that it was drawn up precisely to prevent fruition of his plan to create a non-Jewish state.

Forcing the only Jewish-majority, Hebrew-speaking country in the world to absorb millions of Arabic-speaking, Sunni Muslims – because neither Jordan nor Egypt wants them – would not bring peace. It would only bring more terrorism, death and destruction.

Several well-respected Israelis – from across the political spectrum – took to Twitter and wrote articles of their own to counter Beinart’s screed.

In his much-quoted rebuttal of Beinart’s piece, Shmuel Rosner wrote in Jewish Journal: “What are the counter arguments to Beinart’s ‘solution’? There’s just one: No. This is not what we want. A more elaborate version of this argument is that you do not take two groups of people with a murderous history who don’t want to live together and force them to live together. If a husband and wife dislike each other and have a history of domestic violence, would you suggest that the best way for them to move forward is to share a room?

“Another problem is that a one-state solution does not preclude the option of ethnic cleansing. See Yugoslavia as an example.”

Columnist Ben-Dror Yemini noted in Yediot Aharonot: “You can argue about the rights of the Kurds to have an independent state or the Catalans, but there is no precedent in these times, to rescind an already existing state...

“A liberal Zionist is a person who has criticism of the Israeli government but does not deny its right to exist. A liberal is respectful of the right for self-determination on both sides. Beinart is no Zionist and is certainly not a liberal.”

Beinart’s idea of Judaism is based on a cult-like belief in “Tikkun Olam,” mending the world. But breaking Israel won’t mend anything. Beinart is not making an honest attempt to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but a dishonest attempt to end Israel. And then write the book.

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