“Obama has grown very good at telling establishment-minded American Jews what they want to hear,” Beinart observes. “Unfortunately, some of what they want to hear simply isn’t true.”
He doesn’t mention Obama’s offensive Nabka-denialist fabrications about Zionist ethnic cleansers and colonialists as “pioneers who set out not only to safeguard a nation, but to remake the world” and to “make the desert bloom.”
Nor does he mention Obama’s almost certainly imaginary personal history in which “I came to know Israel as a young man through these incredible images of kibbutzim, and Moshe Dayan, and Golda Meir, and Israel overcoming incredible odds in the ‘67 war.”
Beinart is exercised about Obama’s conflation – in the manner of the Israel lobby he has so faithfully served as president – of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
Beinart’s punchline is that anti-Zionism – not anti-Semitism – will continue to rise, especially on US campuses, unless efforts are made “to end the systematic oppression that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has entrenched, and bring Israel closer to the principles of ‘freedom, justice and peace’ enshrined in its declaration of independence.”
This has long been Beinart’s refrain – deflecting blame onto to the Israeli bogeyman right and obfuscating the racism inherent in his own liberal-flavored variety of Zionism.
His latest column is no exception. In pressing his case, Beinart writes: “Inside the United States, anti-Zionism, while still marginal, is growing, primarily via the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which challenges not only Israeli control of the West Bank, but the very idea of Jewish statehood, which BDS activists claim denies Palestinians equality even inside Israel proper.”
Who says that?
Wait a minute, Peter. Is it only BDS activists who “claim” that Zionism denies Palestinians equality even inside present-day Israel?
What Beinart does not say in his column is that he himself has openly acknowledged that Zionism does, must and should deny equality to Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Here are Beinart’s own words:
I’m not asking Israel to be Utopian. I’m not asking it to allow Palestinians who were forced out (or fled) in 1948 to return to their homes. I’m not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state. I’m actually pretty willing to compromise my liberalism for Israel’s security and for its status as a Jewish state.
Could it be any clearer that in Beinart’s view there can be no Jewish state without deliberately inflicting inequality and inferiority on Palestinians?
I’ve asked Beinart repeatedly whether he stands by this position. Usually he ignores the question, but on at least one occasion he called me a “creep.”
Time for an answer
There will be an opportunity, however, for Beinart to be confronted directly and publicly on the anti-Palestinian bigotry he expressed in the Goldberg interview, on 4 June at the pro-Israel think-tank the New America Foundation, in New York City.
Beinart will debate Yousef Munayyer, former columnist for Beinart’s defunct Open Zion and now executive director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Among the questions Munayyer should put to Beinart is this clear one: do you retract, repudiate and reject your odious view expressed in the Goldberg interview – that you yourself as a “liberal” would purport to recoil at in any other situation – that Palestinians should be denied full, equal citizenship so that Israel can remain a “Jewish state?”
Over to you, Yousef.