The video that pushed Peter Beinart to speak out against the occupation

It’s not totally clear that this video was Peter Beinart’s tipping point, but I thought this was interesting from Allison Hoffman’s profile of Beinart in Tablet:

The essence of his case is that American Jews like him are as horrified to discover YouTube videos depicting the brutish realities of the Israeli occupation as they were by the realization that Saddam Hussein really didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.

Beinart focuses on one video in particular, of a Palestinian child screaming as his father is arrested by Israeli police on suspicion of stealing water from a settlement near his village. The little boy, Beinart writes, keeps howling, “Baba”—coincidentally, the same name Beinart’s own son, once unable to pronounce the Hebrew word “Abba,” calls him. This, he says, is what forced him to speak up against the occupation: his desire to prevent a day when he feels he cannot in good faith teach his young children, who have an Israeli flag hanging in their nursery, to be proud Zionists as well as committed Jews.

I remember that video well, I can still barely bring myself to watch the whole thing.

I agree with Beinart on the internet’s role in getting out “the brutish realities of the Israeli occupation.” It’s a large part of what I think our job is here. I wonder how Beinart can watch the deluge of news from Israel/Palestine and still consider himself a proud Zionist? And, I wonder if that flag is still hanging in his children’s nursery.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Occupation, Reports/Video

{ 41 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. I agree with Beinart on the internet’s role in getting out “the brutish realities of the Israeli occupation.” It’s a large part of what I think our job is here.

    the trajectory of israel’s delegitimization is directly linked to the rise of the internet. it has only one direction to go until if and when it changes it’s policies. there’s just no rationalizing what’s going on there. they’ve chosen for decades to hide it and lie about it. that is impossible now. it is a simply the confluence and synchronicity of technology and politics. it’s the story of our time, our age. blame the internet.

    i remember this video very very well. specifically Israeli Police Claim Video of Crying Palestinian Boy Was Staged link to mondoweiss.net

    this kind of denial was rampant before the internet, everything palestinians said was framed as a lie. but video has decimated that excuse. palestinians have no need to lie because the truth is right there every single day..for decades.

    the truth will set us free.

    it’s more than a large part of our job here, it’s the big enchilada. thanks adam.

    • seafoid says:

      “the trajectory of israel’s delegitimization is directly linked to the rise of the internet. it has only one direction to go until if and when it changes it’s policies. there’s just no rationalizing what’s going on there. they’ve chosen for decades to hide it and lie about it. ”

      Absolutely

      I think it’s great having an “Israel shame supermarket” here because there is so much crap coming out of Israel these days and having the opportunity to discuss it with people who care about human rights exposes the patterns very clearly. I find it amazing to talk to Israelis and hear them repeat virtually verbatim the garbage that people like the Dersh spew , which I can read on here . It is a failing ideology .

  2. Pixel says:

    “his young children, who have an Israeli flag hanging in their nursery…”

    Imbuing children with dual loyalty begins early.

  3. Dan Crowther says:

    Watching that little man have no regard for the armed soldiers trying to hold him back says to me one thing: Palestine will be free.

    • seafoid says:

      The little man will live to see Israel tear itself apart.

      It will start like this – the corporate growth and profit ideology versus Zionist ideology

      link to kibush.co.il

      Recently, the Recognition Forum (of which Rabbis for Human Rights is a part) wrote to EL AL, criticizing their new program in cooperation with the JNF. The letter (which you can read in it`s original Hebrew here: link to dukium.org
      ) including the following sentence `We assume that you are not aware the JNF uses the trees in the Hiran forrest to dispossess the Arab-Bedouin community living there, under state orders, since 1956,` and went on to call on EL AL to pull out of all campaigns connected with the JNF.

      Yesterday, EL AL issued a formal response (see Hebrew here: link to dukium.org
      ), in which they wrote that `without discussing the points you raised, and with no connection to them… EL AL informed the JNF of the cessation of cooperation with them, as you mentioned in your letter.`

      Cooperation between EL AL and the JNF will cease as of 1 May, 2012.

  4. American says:

    I remember that video, it wasn’t that long ago.
    I turned in 2001 when I saw the picture of the Palestine man and his young son crouching in building corner and a IDF sniper shot the father.
    So Beinart is very- very late to the party.
    And for someone so dedicated to Israel as Beinart to say he just noticed some act of cruelty a few years ago?
    Naw….his angst and activism is he realizes Israel is going to go down eventually because of it’s murderous ways.

    • seafoid says:

      I remember hearing the news about Sabra and Shatila as a kid. And the first time I took a taxi into the West Bank I saw how evil the system was.

      • yourstruly says:

        for his role in the sabra and shatila massacre ariel sharon was censored by a government commission and forced to resign as defense minister. incidentally, said “punishment” was probably the only time an idf commander paid any price for his crimes against humanity.

    • Theo says:

      Rats have a very good nose to smell the coming desaster and jump ship long before the captain does.
      Do we watch the same happening with die hard Israel Firsters?
      Are they becoming I-Firsters?

      • narcissist says:

        Sad to say , but i agree with you.
        Now trying to stay relevant. Need the paycheck coming in.
        How does one live with the guilt and shame they must feel, knowing they have blood on your hands? metaphorically speaking?

      • NickJOCW says:

        Be generous, it doesn’t matter what opened his eyes at last.

    • Empiricon says:

      I’m not one to question motives, but Beinart really had to commit willful ignorance (imbued by his tribal bias) to not know this kinda stuff has been happening for years, if not decades. It seems “the internets” has made it too obvious to avoid anymore. Despite this criticism, I welcome his evolution, though his attempt to modify rather than reject the cult of Zionism shows he still has a way to go.

      • Mooser says:

        I’m sorry, but I have never been able to understand that. When I was a little child sure, I had a child’s understanding of Zionism. By the time a guy gets through High School and has even a cursory understanding of history, he oughta figure it out. And if he’s been through college?
        Has Beinart got a house? Maybe a little property? What would it take to get him to give it up. Not sell it, but up and leave, leaving it for whoever.
        I know I would have to be scared to death, scared for my family’s life.
        How the hell does he think it was done?

      • Robert says:

        Mooser and Empiricon,

        Beinart is the norm, not the exception. Beinart is taking the same journey I did. If all of your news sources are Zionist-influenced, or “kosher”, you simply will never learn what you have to learn, even if you are intellectually honest. That goes for Ha’aretz as well. You get information, not understanding.

        Without Mondoweiss and Lawrence of Cyberia, I would still be there myself. When I speak to my family about Mondoweiss, they still don’t believe it, say that it has an “agenda”, etc.

        • Empiricon says:

          Yeah, I get it guys. While not Jewish, “some of my best friends….” And being raised a conservative Southern white boy in the 60s & 70s, I lived in the midst of an oppressor-as-victim society. But like Mooser, I started to question it all at a pretty young age and by the time I was in college I knew the score. But I’m not keeping score — I’m always happy to see progress regardless of when it comes. And my society certainly had no historical reason to see itself as victim, so I understand that can make the Zionist narrative harder to overcome.

        • Mooser says:

          “And my society certainly had no historical reason to see itself as victim”

          What about the night they drove old Dixie down? All those guys, proud and brave, but a Yankee laid them in their graves? Look, you take what you need, and leave the rest, but they should never have taken the very best.

  5. rensanceman says:

    Utube has a rather large collection of disturbing videos that reveal the brutality of the Occupation. Those dealing with home evictions with its inhabitants thrown out of their homes along with their furniture are equally disturbing, along with those of settlers in Hebron taunting Palestinians.
    A Jewish state can not be a light unto all nations when the moral fabric is stained by the dehumanization of Palestinians.

  6. Kathleen says:

    I always think it is sad to think that people have to see brutality or pictures of dead, houses being destroyed and all of this has been going on for decades for the Palestinians. Nothing new. Just out on you tube

  7. pabelmont says:

    How many years have “we” been complaining about Zionist violence and lawlessness? I started in 1980, when Israel Shahak, an Israeli professor of chemistry, was touring the USA telling audiences how bad the occupation was. (It was not nearly as bad then as now.)

    Where has Beinart been hiding that he is only now discovering all this stuff? Where have all the other don’t-confuse-me-with-the-facts Zionist fellow-travelers been hiding?

    Well, glad to have him semi-on-board. The scales are falling from his eyes rather slowly, and he still loves “democratic Israel”. But it’s a beginning.

    • seafoid says:

      If he was for the war in Iraq he obviously never spent much time thinking about how the world really works.

      Careerism sucks.

      • Mooser says:

        “he obviously never spent much time thinking about how the world really works.”

        Oh, I’m sure he’s spent a lot of time thinking about how the world really works. How it could work for him, that is.

  8. joemowrey says:

    Who are these people we give so much credence to? Beinart is one of those so-called liberals who was gung ho for the war of aggression against Iraq. Oh, but later he changed his mind when he found out there were no weapons of mass destruction. Now he is “pushed” to partially acknowledge reality in Palestine (and only barely at that) because he finally bothered to look at a few YouTube videos. What will it take to convince him and others like him that the world is round, not flat. Will he need to sail to the “edge” and find out he didn’t fall off?

    What a punk this guy is. Just another hypocritical ideologue who should be laughed off the public stage, not listened to as if he had anything meaningful to say. But I guess that’s the world we live in. The witless become our valued pundits, and we become their idolatrous fools.

    • Kathleen says:

      I agree and yet I agree with Phil also. Although I think it is pathetic that folks finally willing to acknowledge the brutality that has been going on for decades have to be given high praise.

  9. Chu says:

    Strange video. Luckily there were no poplar trees and a nearby noose hanging from the lowest branch when they took the boys father away for [suspicion of] stealing water.
    No, the Gestapo will put him in the dark room to rot for a few months so the settlers can vandalize his home and terrorize his family. That’s how it works in Israel, the old 1 and a 2. IDF then the settlers.
    What a nightmare for Palestinians. There suffering is palpable. Something Israel fails to see when they roll their global propaganda newsfeeds. They keep yelling fire, but they are the ones with the blowtorch every time.

  10. RE: “The video that pushed Peter Beinart to speak out against the occupation”

    HERE’S ANOTHER GOLDEN OLDIE!
    A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE (FROM HAARETZ, 11/13/08):

    (excerpt) …Last week, soldiers from the Golani infantry brigade posted a video on YouTube depicting a blindfolded Palestinian being forced to repeat phrases in Hebrew as the soldiers manning the checkpoint laugh in the background. . .
    One of the lines is: “Golani will bring you a log to stick up your ass.” 
    As the detainee repeats the words, the soldiers are heard laughing raucously in the background. . . 

    SOURCE - http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1037217.html
    VIDEO CLIPlink to news.bbc.co.uk

  11. RE: “I wonder how Beinart can watch the deluge of news from Israel/Palestine and still consider himself a proud Zionist?” ~ A. Horowitz

    MY COMMENT: Being a “liberal Zionist” is a lot like being a “moderate Republican”.

  12. chet says:

    With respect to reporting about the suffering of the Palestinians, is the MSM spineless and/or “controlled” – it’s a simple matter to see how Congress is “controlled”, but how exactly are the print and television media compelled to avoid any coverage whatever of the Palestinians’ brutal treatment?

    • That’s easy. Advertising dollars. Zionists group put pressure on the mainstream media to quash any media coverage that depicts Israel in a less-than-flattering light. Occasionally, the MSM does show some backbone. There was an episode of “60 Minutes” a couple years ago that showed how IDF soliders can occupy a Palestinian home anytime they want. Pro-Israeli groups were up in arms after it aired.

    • chet, there’s also stuff like this:

      link to mondoweiss.net

  13. eGuard says:

    Beinart’s tipping point has not happened yet. And it will not happen. There is a parking lot for him at J street. Or else, he can always go back to Z street (free parking both left and right sides). Why is everyone so concered about Beinart these days? Does he need a parking place?

  14. yourstruly says:

    since it was lord balfour who started this mess with his infamous declaration, perhaps the british could atone for their tragic mistake by finding an alternative site for the zionist entity*. it’s too late now for a somewhere in africa (the zionists having once considered but rejected locating their jewish entity there), but surely the ex-empire retains influence with australia and could convince its government to offer a piece of, say, thinly populated western australia. jewish emmigrants could be offered free transportation there, much like england did a century and a half ago for the prisoners** it exiled to australia. should england refuse to pay, zionists in america (conditioned as they are to appeals to contribute to the well being of jewish settlers) could raise money for the purpose of relocating these settlers to their new homes. that’s not to say that every jewish israeli need immigrate to australia, since once palestine is returned to its indigenous people, the palestinians, undoubtedly they’d be delighted to accept the now ex-settlers as co-partners in the new nation that is to emerge. the only proviso being that former settlers will have to give up their former privileged status and resign themselves to a life of being no more than equal among equals. could they handle this?

    *alternatively, part of antartica could be set aside for a jewish entity, except the relocation of israelis there would have to be delayed until global warming rendered it habitable, and in the interim where would israelis go?

    **this assumes, of course, that australia would accept jewish israelis not as convicts but as legal immigrants

  15. justsayin says:

    THESE ARE THE ONES YOU SEE & KNOW OF…IMAGINE ALL THOSE YOU DON’T. sorry for the caps.

  16. Taxi says:

    The internet is every authoritarian and oppressor’s nightmare.

    We the global collective were stuck in the dark for so long till a mind-blowing miracle happened and with such luminosity it literally shifted the consciousness of the people of the world.

    The internet, this truth instructing entity with no inhibitions, is the (unfleshed) prophet of today and the golden guide to a more truth-filled future.

    Our renaissance forefathers would indeed applaud.

    Finally! Something frigging useful and in the hands of every man and woman!

    A megaphone for the meek.

  17. Taxi says:

    “A lament for America’s Jews”:
    Inside the corridors of power, there we sat down and wept

    link to economist.com

  18. giladg says:

    If the tears of a child are the benchmark for deciding right or wrong and if I were to show you a video of a Jewish child crying at the funeral of his father, would this bring you to speak out against Palestinians?
    And if the father in the video was a killer and broke the law, would the tears of his child have any bearing on the need for him to be arrested?

    • giladg, the father was not taken away because he was a killer. had he been a killer beinart probably would not have had the same reaction.

      The above video shows 5-year-old Khaled Jabari crying as the Israeli military takes his father away for stealing water. In fact, he was only trying to access water that had already been stolen by Kiryat Arba, a nearby Israeli settlement. Palestine Monitor reports:

      this is not a post about a bunch of ifs, it is about reality.

    • Cliff says:

      giladg said:

      If the tears of a child are the benchmark for deciding right or wrong and if I were to show you a video of a Jewish child crying at the funeral of his father, would this bring you to speak out against Palestinians?
      And if the father in the video was a killer and broke the law, would the tears of his child have any bearing on the need for him to be arrested?

      Are you suggesting that the power dynamic between Israelis and Palestinians is on equal footing?

      Palestinians are being colonized. Not Israelis. Palestinians are being occupied for almost 50 years by a foreign enemy. Not the Israelis.

      There is no comparison between the Israelis and the Palestinians on the issue of personal and national suffering.

      Israel is practicing apartheid and colonialism in the Occupied Territories.