Peter Beinart
Peter BeinartFlash 90

When I read Peter Beinart New York Times article, “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State,” the words of Anthony Julius, a distinguished British solicitor, academic and Jewish leader immediately came to mind.

In Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England, he explains that anti-Zionist Jews profess “to speak as the moral conscience of the Jewish people,” because in their role of “scourges of the Jewish state,” the anti-Zionist Jew becomes a “moralizer,” an individual who publicly “prides himself on the ability to discern the good and the evil. The moralizer makes judgments on others, and profits by so doing; he puts himself on the right side of the fence. Moralizing provides the moralizer with recognition of his own existence and confirmation of his own value. A moralizer has a good conscience and is satisfied by his own self-righteousness.”

Sol Stern, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, adds that these individuals have “decided to condition their belief in a Jewish national homeland on its pursuit of policies that make them feel good. They prefer an Israel of social-democratic fantasy—an Israel that need not take account of the behavior of its Palestinian interlocutors, that need not take account of the safety and security of its own population, and an Israel that need not take account of the views and wishes of its own electorate—to the real thing.”

Publishing the article in the Times, a venue noted for burying critical news about the destruction of European Jewry during the Holocaust, and for its biased reporting of Israel, burnished the author’s progressive credentials at the expense of maligning the Jewish state.

Abandoning the Idea of a Jewish State

Beinart’s proposal to “abandon the traditional two-state solution and embrace the goal of equal rights for Jews and Palestinians,” because “It’s time to imagine a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state,” is exactly what the Arabs have been advocating since 1937.

In July 1937, after the Palestine Royal Commission recommended the establishment of separate Arab and Jewish states, the Arab Higher Committee (AHC) expressed its “repugnance to the whole partition plan,” since the “situation is illogical, humiliating, impracticable, and fraught with danger.” The Committee demanded “the recognition of the right of the Arabs to complete independence in their own land, [and] the cessation of the experiment of the Jewish National Home.”

The AHC was prepared to negotiate the conditions for safeguarding British interests and for “the protection of all legitimate rights of the Jewish population or other minorities in Palestine.”

On February 6, 1948 Jamal al-Husseini, representing the AHC, wrote to UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie that, “The Arabs of Palestine…will never submit or yield to any Power going to Palestine to enforce partition. The only way to establish partition is first to wipe them out—man, woman and child,” which is precisely what the Arabs had planned for the Jews.

Basis for Establishing a Jewish Home

The League of Nations Mandate did not grant the Jewish people the rights to establish a national home in Palestine, former Israeli ambassador Dore Gold notes, it simply recognized the pre-existing right that had never been surrendered or forgotten. The Jewish people had been sovereign in their own land for a thousand years before many were forced into exile. The establishment of the State of Israel did not represent a creation ex nihilo. These rights were upheld by the U.N. under Article 80 of the UN Charter after the U.N. replaced the League of Nations.

Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) chief negotiator, openly rejects the idea of Israel being the Jewish state. “We will not agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” he said. “There is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined.” He added: "Israel can define itself however it sees fit; and if it wishes to call itself a Jewish state, so be it. But the Palestinians will never acknowledge Israel's Jewish identity."

When the PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was asked to recognize the Jewish state, he said, “Don’t order us to recognize a Jewish state. We won’t accept it.” As far as he is concerned, Israel can call itself “The Zionist republic, the Hebrew, the National, [or] the Socialist [Republic] call it whatever you like. I don’t care.”

Yousef Munayyer and Edward Said

Beinart buttresses his argument for a one state solution by citing Yousef Munayyer and Edward Said, who support his view that “Equality could come in the form of one state that includes Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.”

In the November/December 2019 edition of Foreign Affairs, Yousef Munayyer, director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, (USCPR) said the “only alternative with any chance of delivering lasting peace: equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians in a single shared state.” He argues “The Palestinians [are] a population struggling and surviving under decades of Israeli oppression.”

NGO Monitor reports “USCPR is a national coalition of hundreds of groups working to advocate for Palestinian rights and a shift in US policy and is a leader and mobilizer of anti-Israel BDS campaigns.” According to its “Common Principles,” “We oppose U.S. military, diplomatic, financial, corporate, and all other forms of support for Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians.”

On March 6, 2019, the Jerusalem Post reported Munayyer appeared “to condone the efforts of PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] on his Twitter feed, including retweeting a PFLP announcement of a terror attack in Jerusalem on June 16, 2017.”

The late Edward Said, a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Palestinian Arab activist, postulated that underlying cause of “the conflict between the two peoples has always been about possession of and sovereignty over the land.”

He accused the Zionists of being a “tool of imperialism” who usurped their land, established settler colonies and a sovereign state whose only means of preservation is by aggression and expansion.

In a September 29, 2015 interview in the Washington Post entitled “The one-state solution and the brutal honesty of Edward Said,” he said “… the only feasible alternatives to Zionism… have a majority Arab state in which Jews are, at best, a suppressed minority, or force all six million Jews living in Israel to flee to whatever countries (if any) will accept them, or some combination of the two. "

The idea that giving up on 'Zionism' makes you a 'liberal' is false...
The idea that giving up on 'Zionism' makes you a 'liberal' is false, unless creating yet another Arab dictatorship in what is now Israel at the cost of six million Jews’ lives and liberty, and of by far the most liberal state in their region, is somehow a “liberal” option.”

When criticized for his belief that “Israel-Palestine” would not protect the rights of the Jewish minority, he said, “Jews were a minority in Arab states, and they were almost all driven out. You’re not going to persuade them to try that again, especially given that there aren’t a lot of minorities that have exactly thrived in the Arab Muslim world–unless they are running the government, as in Alawite-controlled Syria or Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-controlled Iraq, and oppressing the majority.”

In the same interview, a 2010 interview is mentioned, in which Said was asked whether he thought a Jewish minority in an Arab-majority state would be treated "fairly.". He responded: “A [sic] worry about that. The history of minorities in the Middle East has not been as bad as in Europe, but I wonder what would happen. It worries me a great deal. The question of what is going to be the fate of the Jews is very difficult for me. I really don’t know. It worries me.”

The interviewer concluded that Said appeared to “accept the very real possibility of the oppression/ethnic cleansing of the Jews of Israel as a price worth paying for his cause to triumph.”

Playing for Time

Beinart, at best naïvely, is abetting the PA with its plan to destroy the Jewish state. In place of the two-state solution, Adam Shay and Pinhas Inbari from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, found that the PA’s new strategy is to play for “time and demographics,” the “two basic elements that will bring about the demise of Zionist theory.”

The idea is that once there are more Palestinian Arabs than Jews west of the Jordan River, the Arabs would be in control. Continued acts of terror and pressure from Palestinian Arabs and the international community would force Israel either to consent to more onerous concessions or endure endless violence.

The Israel\Arab conflict is not comparable to Northern Ireland and South Africa

Articles 15 and 20 of the Palestinian National Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) illustrate the issues. Article 15 asserts, “The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine.

According to one source, the correct translation of the term "the elimination of Zionism," is "the liquidation of the Zionist presence." Arabs use the expression “the Zionist presence," a familiar Arabic euphemism for Israel, “so this clause in fact calls for the destruction of Israel, not just the end of Zionism.”

Article 20 denies any historical connection of the Jews to the land of Israel. “The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.”

Former Chief of Staff of the IDF Moshe Ya’alon’s had real concerns about the next generation of Palestinian Arabs. According to psychiatrist Daphne Burdman, “Palestinian hatred of the Jews emanates from three principal socio-historical sources: (1) Koranic and Hadith injunctions; (2) extremist Islamic militancy; and (3) the highly successful indoctrination and incitement of children established by the Palestinian Authority…..”

Exploiting women as suicide bombers is a deliberate effort to "embarrass the Israeli regime and show that things are so desperate that women are fighting instead of men," according to Hala Mustafa, an analyst for the Al-Ahram Newspaper Group in Egypt. Writer and filmmaker “The Israelis have women in their army,” rationalized one Palestinian Arab teacher. “We don’t have F-16s, rockets or tanks. But these girls are our rockets. It’s Ok for our girls to fight the Jews.”

Palestinian Arab psychiatrist Dr. Shafiq Massalha is certain that” the next generation of Palestinian Arabs will be a very murderous population full of anger and hatred. He reached this conclusion after his study found that over half the Palestinian population aged 6 to 11 dream of becoming suicide bombers.

Justus Reid Weiner, a scholar at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Michael Sussman, president of Samuel Sussman Strategic Consulting Group, are correct in saying that achieving “a peace agreement can only successfully end a conflict if it enjoys underlying, wide-ranging support from its respective populations….Past efforts … have failed to deal with, or even acknowledge, the deep-seated psychological mechanisms of partisanship that are endemic in Palestinian culture.”

Bernard Lewis, one of the world’s leading experts on Islam, asserted that Palestinian Arab refusal to abandon the possibility or inevitability of Israel’s destruction cannot be as easily dismissed as those in the Western media continually do. Nor can one ignore the overwhelming evidence that this conflict is a religious war, where the land of Israel will always be viewed by Palestinian Arabs as a waqf land – land that is a Muslim religious trust.

Once a territory has become part of Islam‘s domain, it can never be relinquished or surrendered to anyone. No land is more significant than Arabia and Iraq. And of the two, Arabia is clearly the most important.

The sacredness of Muslim land led to the eviction of Jews and Christians from their homes and property. In 641, twenty years after Muhammad moved from Mecca to Medina, Caliph Umar decreed that Jews and Christians be expelled from Arabia in accordance with the Prophet’s deathbed pronouncement: “Let there not be two religions in Arabia.” This meant Jews of the oasis of Khybar in the north and Christians of Najran in the south were to be banished even though both groups had very deep roots in the region and differed from their Muslim neighbors only in their religion.

A One State Solution is The Preference of Young non-Orthodox American Jews and Arabs, but not young Israeli Jews

Are the young American Jews who prefer a one state solution, the lone soldiers who come to defend the Jewish state? How many are there? What do they know about life in Israel?

American millennials seem to be mostly liberal or even left-wing, but young Israelis are voting conservative at levels significantly greater than their parents, because they have never known a real peace process, according to journalists Laura Adkins and Ben Sales, A 2018 nonpartisan Israeli Democracy Index, about 64 percent of Israeli Jews between the ages of 18 and 34 classify themselves as right-wing, compared to only 47 percent of those who are 35 and older.

The Holocaust

Beinart claims the “Holocaust lens leads many Jews to assume that anything short of Jewish statehood would mean Jewish suicide.”

In testimony before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine in 1947, David Ben-Gurion, later Israel's first prime minister, pointed out that though bound to its religious foundation, a Jewish State also means “Jewish security. Even in countries where he seems secure, the Jew lacks a feeling of security. Why? Because even if he is safe, he has not provided his safety for himself. Somebody else provides for his security. The State of Israel provides such security.”

In Israel there are Jews will be “free from fear, dependence, not the objects of pity and sympathy, of philanthropy and justice, at the mercy of others. We believe we are entitled to that as human beings and as a people.”

To the Arabs who opposed the Jewish return, Ben Gurion, said that the “the closer and more quickly we draw together, the better it will be both for us and for you. The Jewish people and the Arab people need each other in the fashioning of their future as free people in this part of the world.”

Throughout the world today, Jews are concerned and frightened about the rise of antisemitism, the longest hatred as historian Robert S. Wistrich labeled it. Ben Gurion would agree that the existence of Israel is what keeps millions of Jews sane today.

“How Much Land is Enough?”

This is the question professor Ruth R. Wisse asks. She points that Arab League states occupy 5.25 million miles, including 18 independent Arab states and three part-Arab Muslim states, Mauritania, Somalia, and Djibouti.

There is only one nonmember in this group: the state Israel, with 8,000 square miles of the state of Israel—the only Jewish homeland that ever existed and ever will be. The population of Israel, 8.8 million, is 20 percent Arab.

The ratio of Arab to Jewish land is 640:1. Why do the Arabs think they deserve more? And why are the Arab conquests which resulted in that percentage overlooked, as they describe themselves as victims and Israel as the oppressor.

Under these circumstances observes Hillel Halkin, it is quite offensive to tell Jews they can live in London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, New York, Moscow, Mexico City or Buenos Aires, yet are prohibited from living in Judea and Samaria — the areas in the land of Israel most linked to the Bible, Jewish memory and history.

Accordingly, for all the foregoing and not necessarily comprehensive reasons, one is forced to wonder, "What is Peter Beinart really thinking, if at all?"

Alex Grobman, who has an MA and PhD from the Hebrew University, is senior resident scholar at the John C. Danforth Society and a member of the Council of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.