Seconds often make the difference between life and death and new technology makes the difference…
Another great session at Tomorrow 2012 – the President’s Conference in Jerusalem. This time, it was Peter Beinart in a specially arranged session for bloggers.
Peter Beinart has written a book called The Crisis of Zionism. When I agree with the New York Times, you know something is amazing. Here‘s what was written about his book in the NY Times:
He [Beinart] sets out to save the country by labeling many of its leaders racist, denouncing many of its American supporters as Holocaust-obsessed enablers and advocating a boycott of people and products from beyond Israel’s 1967 eastern border.
I’ll start by saying I haven’t read it – maybe Mr. Beinart wants to send me a complimentary copy? Probably not. So let me write about what he said, and not what he wrote. Perhaps had I read the book, I’d have been more prepared. I wasn’t.
He began with a justification for an argument that I’ve had with myself for many years, even before I moved to Israel. If it isn’t your son on the border of Israel, do you have the right to criticize, to advise, and perhaps even to condemn Israel for what it does to survive and thrive in this area of the world. This touches on information from a second session that I don’t want to write about here. I want to focus on Beinart.
I’ll start by saying he was charming and he is clearly a great thinker. He spoke of his Egyptian-born grandmother (who disagrees with his politics and thinks, as I do, that he is painfully naive). He’s a man with an opinion, that is clear and he’s stubborn. Facts are unlikely to sway him. Interestingly enough, he touched not just on Israel, but on American Jewry and there his views come close to mine. I’ll explain that one in a second.
First, about Israel.
He has built a mountain on shifting sands; an argument on facts that simply are inaccurate. He said, “what legitimizes Israel is its democracy.” What an absurd statement. First, why does Israel need to be legitimized? When was the last time anyone asked what right the US had to exist? Wait, the US is a democracy. Okay, when was the last time someone asked what right North Korea has a right to exist or what legitimacy it has?
Then, Peter Beinart decided to play a game – an insulting one and one of the many reasons why he does not have a right to think his opinion should mean anything here – until it is his son on our borders. He has decided that it is acceptable to boycott products from the West Bank but he encourages purchasing products from what he inaccurately and annoyingly refers to as “democratic” Israel. Here again is the latest form of idol worship that plagues Beinart and many left-wing American Jews – democracy. It is not God who determines the future, the present, the right and wrong of things – it is the idol known as democracy, that Beinart worships.
I’m all for democracy. I would vote for it anytime. But Israel is greater than our democracy. Our democracy is a sign of our humanity, our freedom, and who we are – it is not what we are.
I wanted to ask Beinart if he was a Zionist and if he had answered that he was, I would have asked him to define Zionism because I do not believe you can be a Zionist and at the same time support a path that could so easily lead to our destruction. His path for our future involves our taking all the risks at a time when we have no peace partner. I wanted to ask him who our peace partners are – these non-existent dreamers that he trusts them with our future and security but he had already quickly dismissed security as “another argument” in this intellectual game. And to a large extent, that’s what Israel is to him and to others who came to the conference to share their opinions with us – an intellectual game, an academic exercise. As Beinart was talking, almost literally, Israel was being hit by rockets. Nine today, and the day is still young; and only one day after Israel was hit with almost 70 rockets.
When the conversation finally turned to American Jewry, Beinart was not optimistic about its future. His best line was clearly, “We’ve built better Holocaust memorials than we’ve built Jewish schools.” I agree.
His discussion reminded me of something Yaakov Kirschen of Dry Bones said years ago – almost 30 years ago to be exact. He said to a rather shocked and disbelieving crowd of young college students at Columbia University (paraphrased slightly): in another few generations, there will be no Jews in America. I asked him did he really believe that all American Jews were going to make aliyah? I said it in the voice of the doubter, as if I was so smart, and he so stupid. I thought he was impossibly naive and though I shared his pro-aliyah (moving to Israel) dream, I really wanted him to wake up to reality. And then he looked at me and I realized it wasn’t him being naive and I certainly wasn’t the smart one in the conversation. And quietly, slowly, he responded “I didn’t say that.”
Years later, I would learn an interesting fact of history – when the Jews left Egypt…not all the Jews left. According to most sources, 4 our of 5, 80% never left. The first time I heard this, I thought of American Jews – 80%, I would guess, will never come to Israel – will be lost. It fits with what remains of my family in America.
I don’t know what the future of American Jewry will be – if my family there is a measure, American Jewry is in deep trouble (in one case, one uncle’s children are running at 75% having married non-Jews). I do know that Peter Beinart’s naive, academic and decidedly inaccurate view does indeed damage Israel – because he gives others the false idea that peace is within our hands and to achieve it, we must take risks that he, from the safety of his American shores, suggests for my sons.
When it is your sons on the borders of Israel, Mr. Beinart, let’s talk. Till then, maybe your next book should be, The Crisis of American Jewry. At least that book, you have the knowledge and the right to write.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Celebrating 67 years of democratic independence, surviving wars&threats; so much to be thankful for!
He was a Torah giant, uniquely exemplifying the Hashkafa of Torah U’Mada (Torah & worldly knowledge)
All Israel walks beside them, holding them in our hearts, listening, our hearts breaking with theirs
Is inflation always bad for the economy, and why is deflation not always an ideal situation?
It is the character of the individual that counts, not his sexual preferences.
Bibi gives a great speech, especially when talking to foreigners, but on policy, he’s very weak.
One of us had the chutzpah to ask him to join the ball game. He said okay and he played aggressively.
Watch this Doug Goldstein video to learn how easy it’s to open a US brokerage account from overseas.
An Israeli TV show about Holocaust Day asserted the Holocaust is/was a European not Jewish tragedy
“I am 100% convinced that she is not in any way anti-Semitic. She is in fact a philo-Semite”
Poverty has become a thriving business; Learn how the payday loan has affected many US households
Pressure by Pres. Rivlin for a monstrous “national unity government” has made things worse for Bibi
How do money managers take care of your money? And have you ever heard of “socially responsible” investing?
In the memory of loved ones, I commit to continue the fight for our survival in their blessed memory
The Egyptians have never proven themselves to be particularly open or honest in their dealings with Israel. At least four wars have been fought between our countries. Peace is a fragile thing that must be nurtured. It must be built on honest dealings and trust. Moving tanks and anti-aircraft missiles violates not only the agreement, but the trust as well.
We would have three minutes if an attack came from Lebanon. Three minutes to get to shelter – and worry about where everyone else is and if they got to shelter in time. That’s if the missiles come from Lebanon. I don’t know how much time we’d have if the attack came from Syria or Iran…more, less, who knows.
Can you understand the concept that a young mother was happy that her son now had a gas mask? When you can, you’ll understand what it is to be Israeli – at least in part.
I wonder if anyone in the Olympics has thought of the reality that people in Israel’s south live with every day.
There is one great truth that all Israelis know; that all Jews have accepted. Today’s modern Jew, at least in Israel, is different than the Jew of yesteryear.
I read an article today. My emotions went up and down as I read it, ending with the thought that the man in the story was about to embark on a journey of a thousand steps and that somewhere along that journey, his grandparents would smile.
Yesterday, Gaza supporters began tweeting that Israeli helicopters were randomly firing… I saw the video. It does not look random to me.
According to the Israeli government, the quick actions last night of Israel’s soldiers prevented a greater tragedy from happening. According to those who support the Palestinians cause…well, they’re stuck. They have to lie because they can’t possibly work with the truth. So, here’s how it goes, according to the twisted logic of the other side.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/peter-beinart-and-zionism/2012/06/21/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: