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Beinart’s Backers

Those who applauded today’s essay

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Today seems to be the day that folks sympathetic to Peter Beinart’s big ol’ essay weighed in with their support. Nothing, so far, from The Weekly Standard, or from Beinart’s old boss Marty Peretz, who can be expected to disagree with it strenuously; nothing from AIPAC or the ADL, both of which are cast negatively in the piece. For them, we will have to wait.

• My vote for least-expected response of the day goes to the Orthodox Union. It calls Beinart a “thoughtful and wonderful writer,” thanks him for starting the conversation, and even decides to take his observation that the Orthodox community prioritizes its love for Israel over other commitments, such as liberalism, as “a kind of back-handed compliment.” Er, sorta. The OU does accuse the New York Review of Books of “pernicious anti-Israel hatred.” [Orthodox Union]

• Jeremy Ben-Ami called it “a powerful wake-up call.” [J Street]

• Spencer Ackerman believes that a corollary to Beinart’s essay is that pro-Israel groups will increasingly look to Christian evangelicals for support. [Attackerman]

• Tablet Magazine contributing editor Jeffrey Goldberg says the essay is “analytically valid,” but that its placement in the NYRB is “semi-tragic.” He promises much more in the coming days. [Jeffrey Goldberg]

• Kevin Drum agrees with Beinart’s analysis of demographic trends. [Mother Jones]

• Joe Klein loved it! [Swampland]

• So did Andrew Sullivan! [Andrew Sullivanl]

• Ezra Klein pivots from the essay to argue that it is in Israel’s interests to make peace, as doing so will tamp down the hatred and lower the threats the country faces. [Ezra Klein]

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One thing proves true, once again; bashing Israel wins you a lot of attention.

Oh looky anti-semites like Sullivan and self-hating Jews like Ben-Ami,Klein et al, like what Beinart wrote. What a shock. What would be a shock is if these cadres of comrades decided to deride those that think committing genocide against the Jews is a good thing. Maybe an expose on Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. But that may actually cause them to think.

I think Andrew Sullivan should be a contestant on “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?”

It might be interesting to link to Arab and Muslim liberals once in a while. They do exist, they are almost totally ignored, and they often have a stronger grasp of Israeli politics than the usual suspects, whose authority rests on having a web page plus embarrassing amounts of logrolling. Sometimes Muslim liberals are scathing about Israel, but they also have valuable insights about political dynamics in the Muslim world. Sometimes they are admiring of aspects of Israeli society. As Paul Berman points out in “Flight of the Intellectuals,” they are portrayed by reactionaries and leftists alike as sellouts to Western ideas, which is a terrible distortion.

Marc R says:

In fairness, Goldberg said that he only read the article quickly and that “it is in many ways analytically valid.”

That seems to be a significant difference.

Shalom Freedman says:

I read a good share of the article. It is informed by the usual absurd and arrogant assumption of the anti- Israel extreme Left that if only Israel were more willing to make concessions peace would come. But the basic fact the essence of the conflict is that the Palestinian Arabs have never been willing to accept or live with a Jewish state. The basic fact is Arab denial not Jewish intransigence. As a matter of fact the great majority of Israelis are willing to make concessions and sacrifices for peace but have no real partner on the other side. Beinart should know this but he either chooses to ignore it or is a total ignoramus.

The 800 pound gorilla curiously absent from Beinart’s essay is this:

Where are evangelical Christians, such as John Hagee, who in his 2007 book Jerusalem Countdown claimed Hitler was a “half-breed” Jew and who has also said Hitler was gay ?

Peter Beinart’s essay neglects a great deal of salient material. What’s his agenda ? Curious minds want to know.

Observer says:

That young Jews / liberals disassociating from Israel is an “angels on a pin” kind of story. We expect young people to focus on, well, being young people.

The real issue is that, whatever most Israeli Palestinians think of their current government’s behavior, the great majority despair that the Arab Palestinians will ever have a functional political entity that will begin constructive negotiations for a better life.

And that’s why the last five years have been so predictable. And yes it probably is too late for there ever to be a stable Arab Palestinian state.

Frankly, divided states have a terrible history. I guess the lessons of the Germanies and the Koreas is lost on too many.

The only real solution is Hamas and Fatah unite, both publicly announce (in Arabic as well as English) Israel’s right to exist, and give up the right to return.

At that point the 1967 borders become tenable for Israel and the final effort becomes making sure there is no such thing as second class citizenship. (Which means the stranglehold of the Orthodox on Israel’s society is broken, something secular Israeli Palestinians would love to see).

Assuming we ever got to this glorious if improbable future, extremists on either side will bring it all down with more atrocity.

It’s not young Jewish liberal Americans we need to be focusing on… it’s young Arab Palestinians who need to break with their elders.

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Beinart’s Backers

Those who applauded today’s essay

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