Take, for example, CUNY professor Peter Beinart, a committed Jew and Zionist. Recognized as a brilliant scholar of modern Judaic thought, he was also a member of the debating society at Yale University, a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and a former editor of the New Republic –the youngest person ever to hold that position. Beinart attends an Orthodox synagogue in New York, keeps kosher and sends his children to Jewish day school.
In 2010, he wrote a searing commentary that challenged the norms of the community. An opponent of BDS (though he does support limited boycotts of goods from the occupied territories), he has questioned mainstream Jewry’s commitment to an open tent that would have room for such discussions, no matter how disturbing or how opposed we are to these ideas.
Beinart’s goal is to take the blinders off North American Jewry’s very staid leadership when it comes to Israel and criticism of Israeli policy. In a recent speech to the left-wing U.S. Zionist group J Street, Beinart said, “Any Jewish leader who conflates disagreement in policy with anti-Semitism should be fired.”No one--I repeat, no one--engages in such a conflation. Israel's enemies, far too many of whom would would describe themselves as "progressive," don't want to change Israel policies. They want to do away with Jewish sovereignty over Israel and replace the Jewish state with a Palestinian one. And that desire, which is obsessive and relentless and frequently quite mad, is the reason why Israel-hate can--and, indeed, should--be considered the Jew-hate of our time.
Sadly, Beinart, "brilliant scholar" though he may be, is far too concerned with turning Israel into the "progressive" Jewtopia of his fevered dreams--and condemning its failure to get with his program--than he is with seeing the Zionhass that's all around him, and that is poisoning "progressive" precincts (and Jew-hate, as we know, inevitably destroys its host).
Here's how a non-"progressive" Jew sums up Beinart's blarney:
In the past, with regard to terrorism committed against Israelis, Beinart has made statements that have downplayed Hamas’s crimes. Beinart has tried to be an optimist with regard to this genocidal organization and wrote in his book, “Hamas has in recent years issued several new documents, which are more compatible with a two-state solution.” This is in spite of the fact that Hamas’s stated goal in its charter is the murder of all Jews wherever they are found. During last year’s Gaza war, Beinart said, “I don’t think at all that Hamas is pursuing a strategy that is likely to increase civilian casualties by operating from urban areas.” Such comments are patently inane and deeply offensive.Exactly. The only thing I'd add to that is Carl Sagan's observation that sometimes, when your mind is too open, your brains can fall out.
Beinart also wrote an article against Elie Wiesel back in February in which he felt qualified to lecture the Nobel Prize winning author about human rights and Israeli democracy, accusing the Holocaust survivor of a “tendency to whitewash Jewish behavior.”
Beinart in the past has justified Palestinian terrorism as well. He recently said, “While we condemn Palestinian violence, we must recognize this painful truth: that Israeli policy has encouraged it... Hard as it is to say, the Israeli government is reaping what it has sowed.” Beinart believes we must try to understand the terrorists’ motivations underlying their homicidal intentions and try to see what we did to cause them to want to kill women and children.
These very same ideas surfaced in our recent debate when I asked Beinart, “A few minutes ago you said that Israeli policies would be used to incite more terrorism. Do you repudiate this? [When you write that] 9/11 was a monstrous, demented response to American foreign policy, do you thoroughly repudiate what you wrote?” “No!” Beinart responded. “9/11 was a response to American foreign policy. Read what Osama bin Laden said.”
Yes, to Peter Beinart, Osama bin Laden is a credible source.
I was astonished at these dangerous words being spoken by one of the darlings of the academic Left. Bret Stephens, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, reviewed Beinart’s book The Crisis of Zionism, and summed up why his approach is so dangerous. He cited Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic, and wrote, “Characterizing anti-Semitic acts as a response to something Jews did doesn’t explain anti-Semitism. It reproduces it.”