In his now infamous op-ed in The New York Times, Peter Beinart has called for a boycott of Jewish creativity and productivity in Judea and Samaria. What he may or may not realize is that his faulty ideas sow the seeds of war and unrest between Jews and Jews, Jews and Arabs, and Arabs and Arabs. His op-ed undermines the principles and values that radical Left-wing “humanitarians” claim to promote: truth, tolerance and peace. Let’s break it down.
Lies and fallacies
He writes that “it’s time for a counteroffensive — a campaign to fortify the boundary that keeps alive the hope of a Jewish democratic state alongside a Palestinian one. And that counteroffensive must begin with language.”
True, the counteroffensive must begin with language—but language that doesn’t manipulate definitions.
Let’s start with the word “democratic.” As many pundits do today, he makes “democracy” synonymous with the ballot rather than with individual rights, freedom of the press, and a system of police and courts that protect people from unjust use of force.
He is correct in noting that Judea and Samaria is the historically correct term for the “West Bank,” and he should be applauded for calling the land “Israel,” but he is incorrect in calling the region “undemocratic” because “millions of West Bank Palestinians are barred from citizenship and the right to vote in a state the controls their lives.”
The Arabs of Judea and Samaria (the historically correct categorization) have a right to vote in municipal and Palestinian Authority elections in the swaths of territory under Palestinian control, and in 2006 the Palestinians voted for an anti-Semitic Hamas dictatorship in Gaza, which led to bloody street wars between Hamas and Fatah supporters. Creating a civil society should take precedence over the privilege of elections lest those election lead to dictatorship.
The so-called two-state “solution” that Beinart is desperate to save has actually paved the way for disintegration of Palestinian Arab and Jewish Israeli relations, rather than co-existence. Before the Oslo Accords of 1993, there were no checkpoints and no fences between Arab and Jewish population centers. But Oslo created and armed the Palestinian Authority who used the weapons to kill Jews rather than arrest terrorists and keep the peace. Arab-Jewish strife and separation were inevitable.
Now for another abused term: “occupation” of “Palestinian land.” An occupation is defined as a military takeover of a pre-existing state. The Palestinian Arabs have never had a state in Judea and Samaria—they’ve been offered a state in that territory more than once, but they’ve always refused it. I think most rational people realize now that statehood is not their ultimate goal: destroying Israel is. If the Palestinians really wanted a state, they’d move to Jordan whose population is largely Palestinian. (If people think it’s fair for Beinart to ask “settlers” to move to “democratic” Israel, as he does in his piece, they should see nothing wrong in asking Palestinians to move to Jordan.)
Racism and Bigotry
Beinart is upset that “many Israeli maps and textbooks no longer show the green line,” but he says nothing about the Palestinian textbooks, atlases and tourist maps that don’t show Israel at all. He expects moral, rational behavior from Jews but not from Arabs, who are free to elect terrorists and fascists. This is racism.
Palestinians are masters of their own fate. They have freedom of choice, as do Jews and all other people. Not to grant them freedom of choice reduces them to animals. But they have chosen to assert their supposed “rights” to land and statehood through the violent murder of Jews.
Beinart “cringes” as he writes that “most settlers aren’t bad people; many poor Sephardic, Russian and ultra-Orthodox Jews simply moved to settlements because government subsidies made housing there cheap.” Is he cringing because he has admitted he’s a bigot against religious-nationalist Jews? He differentiates between “good” Jews and “bad” Jews by virtue of why they want to live where they live, and not because of where they live. This is religious bigotry.
He has scapegoated an entire population of Jews who are inspired by Judaism to love and sow the land of Israel, and yet he makes no criticism of jihadis who are inspired by Islam to kill “infidels” out of religious duty and as a way to rob those “bad” Jews of their land.
To create a Palestinian state, hundreds of thousands Jews will be dispossessed of their homes, their property and their rights to the land on which they have settled. Rightly so, many Jews will protest this unjust, suicidal expulsion, leading to much unrest between Jews and Jews.
Judging by the treatment of Jews expelled from Gaza, those same Jews that Beinart would happily force out of their homes will be disenfranchised and forced into poverty and wandering—treatment and conditions he would consider acceptable for Jewish “settlers,” but not for Arabs.
As the withdrawal from Gaza has shown, Israel’s withdrawal from land beyond the green line only emboldens Palestinian terrorists who’ll use the territory as rocket launching pads, bringing war closer to Israel’s new borders.
If the Palestinians sought true democracy, peace and a better quality of life, they would embrace the people of Judea and Samaria and the trade, commerce, jobs, education and creativity they bring to the region. They’d implore the Jews of Ariel to live among them. They’d welcome the cutting edge research in science and humanities taking place at the premier center for higher learning there, the Ariel University Center, where Arabs make up a good portion of the student body.
Beinart says “I am a committed Jew. I belong to an Orthodox synagogue, send my children to Jewish school,” as if his tribal and religious affiliation makes his lies less false and his ideas less immoral. In essence, he has demonstrated that he is glad to sell out his people—for what? That remains unclear.
Beinert puts down supporters of Jews in Judea Samaria as “hawks”; he calls Israel’s handling of Judea and Samaria as leading to apartheid; he calls ideologically motivated settlers “bad” people. I think I have sufficiently proven that Beinart’s is essentially a hawk, a racist and a mystic.
Anyone who respects decency, truth and human freedom should boycott this man and his books. Keep him out of your restaurants, out of your synagogues, out of your schools. Then go visit Judea and Samaria and spend lots of money there.
See the creativity and cultural relevance of Ariel by joining the ZOA at The Ariel Breakfast Club, a screening of three student films coming out of Ariel University Center being held at the Israel Film Festival on March 25 at the Beverly Hills Laemmle. Click here for more information. Read the Jewish Journal feature about it here.