Last week Peter Beinart wrote a column on The Daily Beast called “Cory Booker’s Rabbis” which surmised that my 20 year friendship with the Democratic Senate Candidate in New Jersey, and my having brought him to the Jewish community, might be pushing him toward too much of a pro-Israel posture. Peter, whom I also know from Oxford when he was a Rhodes scholar and whom I like and respect amid our considerable differences on Israel, offered many myths about my relationship with Cory, who served as President of my student organization at Oxford University. I responded at length to his attack.
Now, most people know when they’re beat and Peter’s original broadside against me and Cory was so weak that it was easy to demolish. But some people are just gluttons for punishment and now Peter is back for more.
Not content to have damaged his reputation as a writer and editor by fraudulently accusing me of racism and then blaming it on a low-level staffer, and not content to have sullied his reputation for diligence by inventing myths like me and Cory never having discussed Israel or the Middle East, Peter is back condemning Israel, only this time he’s using pictures of Boruch Goldstein’s grave to make his desperate case.
How many Jews in the entire world support the Jewish terrorist Boruch Goldstein? Would even Peter put it at more than a few hundred out of fourteen million? Peter should have remained with his original apology – which I accept – and quit while he is behind.
Here is the main point against Peter’s rejoinder to me, and indeed his entire position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Of course the Palestinians are suffering, as Cory himself said in a recent interview with The Forward. The question is, why? Who is to blame? And how can their suffering be remedied?
For Peter, who always hides behind his self-declared status as a Zionist to attack Israel, the reason is simple. Israel oppresses the Palestinians. But for those interested in facts the unfortunate suffering of the Palestinians is akin to the suffering of the Japanese or Germans during the Second World War. When you continually resort to violence, inflicting terror on your neighbors, you’re probably going to end up suffering yourself.
Israel has done everything to have a peace deal with the Arabs. It gave up land three times its size in Sinai to have peace with Egypt even after Egypt launched war of annihilation in 1967 and 1973. Its reward today is having an Egyptian President who refers to Jews as “bloodsuckers” and “descendants of apes and pigs.” Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. Result: tens of thousands of murderous rockets being fired at Israeli nurseries and hospitals. And Israel brought Yasser Arafat to the West Bank and armed his forty-thousand-strong ‘police’ force, thereby creating the Palestinian Authority. Result, more than a thousand dead Jews, equivalent to sixty thousand Americans, blown to smithereens on buses and in discos in the terror that resulted from Oslo I and II. Could any of this have something to do with Peter’s pet peeve, that Israel now maintains military checkpoints?
When I get on a plane here in the US I’m not allowed to bring a can of Coke. When I go to a meeting in a New York building to visit a friend I have to show ID. Does Peter really believe that after two decades of terrorism from the West Bank Israel is not going to take military measures to stop the terror? Is he kidding himself that Israel should just allow Jews to die?
I am a Jew and Arabs are my brothers and sisters under God. Every Palestinian life is the equivalent of a Jewish life. Noone, least of all me, wants to see any Arab child suffer, God forbid. But my Palestinian brothers need to stop choosing bloodthirsty governments like Hamas, who were elected in a democratic vote. They have to stop putting up monuments to Shahid suicide bombers – which I witnessed with my own eyes – who kill Jews. They have to stop teaching their children in schools that Jews are of the devil. They have to stop seeing Israel as a humiliation to Arab pride. And they have to reach out to Israel in peace. Anything less is only going to prolong the Israel-Palestinian conflict as well as Palestinian suffering. And if Peter really cared more about Palestinian well being then attacking Israel he would be courageous enough to say it. The suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza under Hamas is a powerful case in point.