Notes from the Munayyer-Beinart debate

Middle East
on 64 Comments

Thursday’s debate between Yousef Munayyer and Peter Beinart was a lively affair, pitting a sincere liberal Zionist disappointed with some aspects of Israel’s first 67 years but still clinging to the hope that Israel can fulfill its “promise,” against a Palestinian-American whose life, family and people have been victimized by Zionism, both liberal and illiberal.  Being predisposed to Munayyer’s position, I’d like to begin with some praise (or at least defense of) Beinart.

As a speaker, he was impressive and occasionally brilliant.  His 10-minute opening remarks were well-organized and articulate and potentially persuasive.  He spoke about the difficulties that have beset other “binational” nations such as Czechoslovakia and Belgium.  More specifically, he conjured a nightmarish one-state scenario in which a judge would have to either rule against a Moroccan Jew’s ownership of a house his family has occupied for 60 years or nullify a Palestinian’s pre-existing deed to that same house, and the ethnic makeup of an army that would be required to enforce that ruling.  Viewing such inevitable dilemmas in a one-state future as insoluble, Beinart argued that the only viable alternative is two states.

To be sure, there were some low points in Beinart’s presentation, such as his suggestion that Israel make the conciliatory gesture of erecting a Nakba Museum, a cringe-inducing remark even before Munayyer’s brilliant comeback that such museum would be meaningless to the average Palestinian refugee who was unable to enter the country to visit it.  But on the whole, Beinart ably put forward the best possible case for liberal Zionism, and would have been reasonably effective had Munayyer not destroyed virtually every one of his points (more on that later).

More important than Beinart’s effectiveness as a speaker at this event are his valuable contributions to the ongoing debate for many years.  He has consistently acknowledged at least some of Israel’s violent history and debunked deeply entrenched hasbara, earning the genuine condemnation of many to his right.  Beinart’s rather short-lived Open Zion website gave a platform to a wide variety of columnists, including Ali Gharib, Maysoon Zayid and even Munayyer himself.  While Beinart has been the “leftist” in most of his previous debates on this issue, he eagerly accepted the distinctly different challenge of debating Munayyer.

But enough of the praise.  On issue after issue, Beinart’s sincerely stated positions were no match for Munayyer’s more reasoned analysis buttressed by his own experience and simple refusal to tolerate injustice and inequality that all of us, including Beinart, would consider intolerable.  For while Beinart legitimately enjoys a birthright of equal rights in the country of his citizenship, he also is the beneficiary of a second supposed birthright that deprives Palestinians of their first.  Munayyer is one such Palestinian, one who holds Israeli citizenship, but even he would have to take a back seat in rights, privilege and status to Beinart’s children should they ever decide to exercise their second “birthright.”

Some of the issues discussed:  Beinart insisted that his brand of BDS be directed only at settlement products only so as not to delegitimize the (inherently legitimate) Jewish State.  Munnayer responded that even if one wished to challenge the 1967 occupation alone, Beinart’s version of BDS would be as absurd as imposing “sanctions” solely on the Iranian towns in proximity to nuclear facilities or those universities where nuclear scientists are trained.  Such soft BDS that fails to target the entity responsible for the occupation – Israel itself – is guaranteed to be ineffective.

When Beinart complained that Israel was subjected to a “double standard” that failed to challenge Saudi Arabia’s horrendous human rights record, Munayyer responded that he would be the first to sign up if Beinart organized a protest against that monarchy.

On right of return, Beinart argued that no other conflict has allowed it and neither should this one, though he grudgingly conceded a right of return of perhaps 100,000 refugees that he presumably judges would not threaten Israel’s demographic requirements.  Munayyer responded that the right of return is enshrined in international law.  Moreover, the notion that Palestinians’ right of return has expired after several decades is a curious one to make on behalf of a country whose fundamental founding principle is the supposed return of a refugee population after thousands of years of “exile.”

One of Munayyer’s initial questions – what percentage of non-Jewish citizenship would Beinart consider a demographic threat to Israel’s existence as a Jewish State?  20, 30, 40, etc.? – went unanswered the entire evening.  I would add a question about time as well.  Presumably, Beinart would agree that Israel will forfeit its right to be a Jewish State if it continues to practice discrimination against its non-Jewish citizens that is harsher than Beinart finds necessary.  What is the deadline for Beinart to throw up his hands in depair?  67 years clearly isn’t enough.  75 is fast approaching as well.  So what is it? 100? 150? 200?  Given Beinart’s refusal to support any genuine effort to compel Israel to do anything, opting instead for a milquetoast BDS against settlement products, how does he think there would be the slightest movement toward equality, or an “acceptable” level of inequality, within Israel proper.

Relatedly, Beinart’s biggest point was that the one-state solution is an unachievable utopia.  Munayyer answered that there are many details to be worked out to ensure a reasonable degree of fairness to all, but that there has been a dearth of analysis on this question because of the considerably greater energy directed at a two-state solution.  But there is a bigger problem with Beinart’s position.  His vision of a kinder and gentler Jewish State appears to be an even more unattainable utopia.  Israel at age 67 not only has failed to move in the direction of Beinart’s dream, it is rapidly getting worse.  This is documented in Max Blumenthal’s Goliath and undeniable with the increasing political entrenchment of Israel’s right wing.  And that doesn’t begin to tackle the equally remote chance that a Palestinian State can emerge, since it would require that one or two hundred thousand settlers, many of them armed and fanatical, be compelled to move back within the green line without igniting a civil war.

Even more troubling, if Israel were to reverse course and speedily move to Beinart’s utopian vision, it still would retain vestiges of the ethnocracy that Beinart concedes cannot be entirely eliminated.  In this pie-in-the-sky best case scenario, Israel would give certain status and privileges to Jews over non-Jews that would be deemed unthinkable to Beinart if Jews (or any other minority) were similarly disadvantaged in the US or any other country for that matter.

Beinart is surely right that the one-state solution is not a light switch that can be turned on once the will to do so has been formed.  There are an exhaustive list of details that must be worked out to ensure a reasonable degree of security, freedom, and justice can be provided for all.  But he fails to recognize that the alternative – not just the miserable status quo but also his increasingly remote fantasy of a kinder and gentler Zionism – is one of perpetual discrimination that should be deemed unthinkable in the 21st century.

One audience asked about conflicting narratives.  Munayyer responded that the phrase and concept are over-used.  He has no difficulty acknowledging the most horrific events in Jewish history, but doesn’t see why any narrative would require him to pay for such crimes.  While I don’t recall if Beinart responded to the question, it seemed to crystallize their differences.  To Beinart, sincere empathy and collegial, intellectual dialogue help to move the process along.  To Munayyer, action needs to be taken now to relieve a long-suffering people from continuing and even worsening misery.

When Munayyer brought up a five-year-old quote of Beinart – “I’m not even asking [Israel] 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” – Beinart seemed embarrassed by his choice of language.  Nevertheless, his actual position has not budged since then.  He is quite willing to compromise the rights of another people, to the advantage of himself and his people.  It’s hard to reconcile that position with minimum contemporary standards of morality.

Beinart made one of the best presentations imaginable on behalf of liberal Zionism and was soundly trounced in the debate.  As someone who made a rather long transition from Zionist (though never a passionate one) to liberal Zionist to non- to anti-, I get the reluctance of those raised with the certainty of Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish State to make the final plunge.  But to Munayyer, his fellow Palestinians, and even those neither Jewish nor Palestinian, I can fully understand the impatience of those who would say to Beinart, “What is it about equal rights that you don’t understand?”

About David Samel

David Samel is an attorney in New York City.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

64 Responses

  1. marc b.
    June 8, 2015, 4:55 pm

    I’m not certain I understand the Czecho-Belgium argument at all, and as for the ‘double standard’ persecution complex, Russia, Iran, Cuba, N. Korea, and on and on. There are sanctions regimes imposed on many countries, with the support of Israel, much more stringent than BDS proposals. see e.g. SWIFT sanctions against Iranian banks and EU attempt to compel SWIFT sanctions against Russia.

    • David Samel
      June 8, 2015, 8:37 pm

      Marc, as I understand it, Beinart is arguing that Jews and Palestinians are two distinct peoples with their own national ambitions, and other countries that have tried to incorporate such split populations have not fared too well: Czech and Yugo split up, Belgium is rocky (I guess), etc. Therefore it can’t work in Israel/Palestine either. I think his caution is well-founded but his conclusion is wrong. As I said, forming one state is not a light-switch operation and will require a good deal of care, but the alternative should be seen as unacceptable.

      As for the double standard argument, it is so morally vacuous that I don’t know where to start. Your first point sounds good enough for me. I wrote about this years ago on this site: http://mondoweiss.net/2009/12/the-china-darfur-distraction and I’m sure there are many other more impressive analyses.

      • marc b.
        June 9, 2015, 12:29 pm

        David, (and I know it’s not your position) Beinart’s ‘Czech’ argument is superficial. I assume that you are right, that Beinart’s point is that less contentious relationships have undermined national unity, but I still don’t see how the Czechoslovak velvet divorce says anything about the prospects for a one-state solution. (Beinart doesn’t attempt to explain the history, even in brief, of his examples.) Any modern state larger than Andorra has a multitude of ethnic/cultural differences, and yet Spain manages to ‘keep it together’ with all its regional tensions, the US survived a civil war, and the EU and its member states have managed to take a breather from 1000 years of bloodletting as its physical borders are erased. But, again, a grocery list of superficial histories does not add up to a useful historical analogy.

      • catalan
        June 9, 2015, 2:25 pm

        “Spain manages to keep it together” Marc b
        Fair enough, but a big reason for it is that a majority of Spaniards from the different provinces actually want to remain in the same country. Likewise with Britain, Canada, and presumably, Belgium.
        Is there any evidence that a majority of Israelis, or Palestinians, wishes to live in the same country? Everything I have read points to the opposite. Also, with the level of mutual suspicion and hatred that’s build up, how would people be able to trust a judge or a policeman of the opposite ethnicity? This is ivory tower thinking, might as well plan for global brotherhood. Travel to Mars is much more likely. I am truly amazed that anyone seriously entertains that as a possibility, but then again, any craziness has adherents, sometimes billions of them.

      • marc b.
        June 9, 2015, 3:02 pm

        got it catalan. a single state will never happen. maybe you should contact the starry-eyed Oily Bennett and Deputy FM Hotlovely since they are both publicly proposing the annexation of the OT. or maybe better yet Netanyahu should contact them since he allegedly retracted his campaign promise to abandon the peace process. there never was a plan for a 2 state solution, at least from the Zionist perspective, so that’s one option off the table.

  2. just
    June 8, 2015, 5:18 pm

    A stellar piece, David. Thanks so much for it. So many items stand out for me, including this one:

    “For while Beinart legitimately enjoys a birthright of equal rights in the country of his citizenship, he also is the beneficiary of a second supposed birthright that deprives Palestinians of their first. Munayyer is one such Palestinian, one who holds Israeli citizenship, but even he would have to take a back seat in rights, privilege and status to Beinart’s children should they ever decide to exercise their second “birthright.””

    That’s ‘it’ in a nutshell, isn’t it?

    And you go on to distill the very essence of “Liberal Zionism”:

    “He is quite willing to compromise the rights of another people, to the advantage of himself and his people. It’s hard to reconcile that position with minimum contemporary standards of morality.”

    I so appreciate your evolution, David.

    You write:

    “As someone who made a rather long transition from Zionist (though never a passionate one) to liberal Zionist to non- to anti-, I get the reluctance of those raised with the certainty of Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish State to make the final plunge. But to Munayyer, his fellow Palestinians, and even those neither Jewish nor Palestinian, I can fully understand the impatience of those who would say to Beinart, “What is it about equal rights that you don’t understand?””

    Bravo.

  3. kritis
    June 8, 2015, 5:50 pm

    Nice analysis of the debate. I attended and would also commend Peter for a sincere discussion and Yousef for his masterful performance.

    The “double standard” with Saudi Arabia is a very frequent talking point. I would also add that one purpose of a boycott is to change the behavior of the citizenry. Saudis have no power whatsoever to change their repressive government or its policies, and would topple their government if it weren’t held in place with US military aid. Israelis reelected Netanyahu of their own accord.

    It is amusing how quickly Israel’s defenders transition from citing Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East and a model of gay rights to “But we’re better than Saudi Arabia! Why not boycott them?” Are we setting the bar high or low?

    • just
      June 8, 2015, 10:03 pm

      Great comment in its entirety!

      Thank you, kritis. Welcome to MW.

      • kritis
        June 8, 2015, 10:46 pm

        Thank you, just.

  4. JWalters
    June 8, 2015, 5:50 pm

    An excellent article, clear and to the points.

    I would also commend Beinart for his willingness to put his case on the public table, even though he may have had a feeling it would be demolished. Perhaps he felt the time had come.

    “[Beinart] conjured a nightmarish one-state scenario in which a judge would have to either rule against a Moroccan Jew’s ownership of a house his family has occupied for 60 years or nullify a Palestinian’s pre-existing deed to that same house, and the ethnic makeup of an army that would be required to enforce that ruling.”

    In a somewhat parallel situation, when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation families who had owned slaves for 60+ years lost their slaves. Today that seems like the right call.

    “And that doesn’t begin to tackle the equally remote chance that a Palestinian State can emerge, since it would require that one or two hundred thousand settlers, many of them armed and fanatical, be compelled to move back within the green line without igniting a civil war.”

    In a somewhat parallel situation, Lincoln sanctioned Sherman’s march to the sea, obliterating all opposition along the way. How much gentle coaxing does implacable evil deserve?

  5. yonah fredman
    June 8, 2015, 6:03 pm

    The advantages that Beinart gives to Jews over nonJews was twofold: Immigration and public holidays and symbols. There was no other instance of Jewish advantage that Beinart favored.

    • David Samel
      June 8, 2015, 8:48 pm

      Yonah, you’re a little bit right and a whole lot wrong. Your description of Beinart’s position seems accurate to me, but your larger point that these are relative trivialities that we, not to mention Palestinians themselves, should find acceptable is wrong. First, Beinart is not running things, and as I said, his vision of an Israel that is as egalitarian as it can afford to be while still remaining Jewish is unattainable. The actual version of Zionism that is in place is perhaps not as odious as South African apartheid with respect to non-Jewish citizens (though as bad or even worse with respect to those under occupation) but it is a miserable second-class (third? fifth? tenth?) existence and getting worse with each passing year. Beinarts don’t run the country.

      Second, what you describe as “immigration” is enormous. It means that I as an American Jew can “return” to the land my ancestors may or may not have lived in thousands of years ago, but Palestinians who were forced out, fleeing for their lives, decades ago, cannot.

      • yonah fredman
        June 8, 2015, 9:16 pm

        David- You implied in your post that Beinart was embarrassed by his original statement, whereas in fact he delineated precisely what he meant by the statement, which is not embarrassment.

        No, immigration is not a minor issue, but it is one that can be easily specified whereas you left it to the readers’ imagination how many different ways Beinart would advantage Jews over nonJews. There is one significant advantage and that is the question of immigration. It is not something that can be glossed over, neither should the original sentences be written without specificity, when it would have required little effort to be specific.

      • echinococcus
        June 9, 2015, 1:55 am

        Mr Fredman now is trying to convince us that “the question of immigration” is just that. About buying a passage and having a passport stamped, eh?
        So Mr Fredman, the reader at Mondoweiss is supposed to be a moron that does not realize that “immigration” encompasses the entire range of Zionist ideology and practice
        It’s just immigration. It is also
        – the tribal-ethnic-religious-racial (you choose) character of the State
        – the declaring by the very fact that the other 50% of the inhabitants are not citizens (yeah, you can use a lot of fancy words, but when one class is first-class citizens the others are non-citizens and that’s it. What price a necessarily Herrenvolk army and police? Insignificant?)
        – the establishment of the irreversibility of land theft
        and so on.
        All smuggled in under the deceiving title of “immigration”, while Mr Fredman is indicting the other posters of exaggerating or at least “not specifying” the issues where the racial supremacist Beinart insists on keeping racial supremacy alive.
        Beinart is the worst sleazebag among the Zionists, also because he has some low-level slyness. More than Mr Fredman, but still extremely transparent –and ludicrous.

      • David Samel
        June 9, 2015, 9:06 am

        Yonah, perhaps you’re right about the highly significant point (sarcasm alert) of whether Beinart was embarrassed by his previous remarks. Maybe I was projecting, because if I ever said that I was quite willing to compromise my liberal principles to deprive another people of equal rights, I’d be embarrassed about it. And your argument that he was not embarrassed by his original statement because he explained it is not exactly a model of logical clarity. In any event, I’m somewhat embarrassed to be engaging on this issue.

        As for your criticism of my effort, I put in several valuable hours to compose this piece. How long did you spend on your comment? I see that you did not expend the effort to respond to my other point about Beinart’s much more “acceptable” soft discrimination being unattainable.

      • Shingo
        June 9, 2015, 9:10 am

        As for your criticism of my effort, I put in several valuable hours to compose this piece. How long did you spend on your comment?

        Please don’t waste your time trying to justify your effort David. Your moral and intellectual credentials are beyond Yonah’s comprehension.

      • yonah fredman
        June 9, 2015, 6:53 pm

        Beinart has a vision for the future, and it won’t come true soon, if at all. But the first step in normalizing (dicey word, i know) the Palestinian versus Israeli conflict is to change the status of the West Bank. Beinart’s means for changing the status is the two state solution, a solution that will soon be offered in the UN Security Council by France and either vetoed or not by the US. (One should not equate the resolution for the fulfillment of the resolution, which will take 18 months before it comes into effect, by which time either a Republican or Hillary will be president and not the lame duck Obama.) Nonetheless Beinart seems firmly in the UN resolution (don’t veto) camp. As far as the improvement of Israeli society where the tension between Jew and Arab is lessened rather than heightened by the government, that day is not here and if that’s your point, you are right.

        This was a debate between Munayer and Beinart and you made a comment regarding Beinart’s vision: the nonequality of Jew and Arab. I commented that Beinart’s nonequality should be defined as x, y and z and you thought I was denigrating x, y and z. Then and only then did I respond and say, well if you would have written the article in a different way I wouldn’t have commented, and it was no attempt to denigrate x, y and z.

        (When I used the term immigration, rather than refugees, or demographic threat, I was minimizing the problem as beinart was. But I was not attempting to deny the problem.)

        David Samel- If there’s any more specificity that you feel that I am not answering please specify.

      • Mooser
        June 10, 2015, 12:27 pm

        It was the seminal rock group “Steppenwolf” which featured a song about a guy who sold pills, called “The Pusherman”. Maybe I’ll write one about Yonah and call it “The Pullerman”. When in comes to pill-pulling, he’s the champ.

    • marc b.
      June 9, 2015, 12:42 pm

      ‘immigration and public holidays and symbols’. that’s a whole lot of ideology packed into a few words. if you tease it out a bit, and that’s all Beinart wants, what you have is the religious authority to determine qualifications for full citizenship, the conflation of pseudo-history/archeology and the bible, what some have called Israel’s secular religion, which in turn justifies Israel’s ongoing expansion of its borders, and on and on. that’s a whole lot of advantages.

  6. Shingo
    June 8, 2015, 6:27 pm

    I don’t find Beinarts arguments remotely compelling David. For example:

    More specifically, he conjured a nightmarish one-state scenario in which a judge would have to either rule against a Moroccan Jew’s ownership of a house his family has occupied for 60 years or nullify a Palestinian’s pre-existing deed to that same house, and the ethnic makeup of an army that would be required to enforce that ruling.

    The status quo does not solve this in any way. The fact that the Palestinian is denied entry or return simply means that the state sides with the Moroccan by default and avoids the judge having to make that finding.

    All Beinart is arguing is that the status quo means these ugly injustices can be perpetuated and maintained behind a facade of legitimacy. The guilt and crimes ob the part of the state can go on being denied.

    • pabelmont
      June 8, 2015, 7:57 pm

      Shingo: Yes, yes, yes. Justice (or even injustice) delayed is justice denied.

      BTW, did any Moroccan Jews get Palestinian houses, or was that only the European Jews who got them? Was this use of the word “Moroccan” a rhetorical ploy by Beinart (or an error?) , since Misrahim are 2nd class in Israel and the judge in the hypothetical would be deciding the case between 2nd class Israeli and 99th class not-yet-Israeli.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 8, 2015, 8:04 pm

        Was this use of the word “Moroccan” a rhetorical ploy by Beinart

        yes. “moroccan” is meaningless in this context. should have said ‘a judge would have to either rule against a Jew’s ownership of a house his family has occupied for 60 years or nullify a Palestinian’s pre-existing deed to that same house, and the ethnic makeup of an army that would be required to enforce that ruling.’

        big duh. so it makes since to just skip it and let jews have all the stolen property? not!

      • echinococcus
        June 8, 2015, 8:25 pm

        Of course i t was a rhetorical ploy, and such a gross one that it wouldn’t enter a barn door: don’t think of the big bad Ashkenazis but rather the gentle African, i.e. emphatically not 2nd class Israeli but just the typical Israeli, the one that doesn’t deserve all that censure from you guys, and a fellow Arab… what’s not to like. Just give him the place without bitching about rights and such.
        I really can’t understand all the liking on this site for this sleaziest of all Zionists, Beinart. He’s relatively smart, the way they stopped making them –but that’s hardly a high standard. His trick bag is showing through at every step, though.

      • Shingo
        June 8, 2015, 10:13 pm

        Was this use of the word “Moroccan” a rhetorical ploy by Beinart (or an error?) , since Misrahim are 2nd class in Israel and the judge in the hypothetical would be deciding the case between 2nd class Israeli and 99th class not-yet-Israeli.

        Perhaps, but it’s more basic than that. If one peels back the liberal facade, what Beinart is arguing is that this is only a nightmarish scenario because it involves the possibility of an Israeli (or Moroccan) Jew being dispossessed of their ill gotten gains, whereas the status quo in which Palestinian who have been dispossessed of their land and must give up any hope of returning to their homes is not nightmarish at all, just less than ideal.

      • kritis
        June 8, 2015, 10:43 pm

        I think he carefully picked the example of a Moroccan Jew to highlight that Jews left Arab countries and came to Israel because of persecution, discrimination or expulsion. He is trying to draw a parallel to the Palestinian refugees and implying that both were displaced unjustly and may now have competing claims. Not agreeing with his argument, just explaining why he used this example.

      • FreddyV
        June 9, 2015, 9:10 am

        Interestingly, I actually own a property in Hungary that belonged to my father and I still possess the deeds. Whilst my family were not refugees, there was a period where it wasn’t possible to take ownership during the Cold War. The property has since been occupied by people and stands today as Google maps will attest to.

        From a personal perspective, I don’t feel correct in staking any claim on this property as its ownership has moved on through the passages of time and events. I suspect many Palestinians feel the same way about this, but due to the ethnic cleansing they endured, they would hold the state of Israel to account and demand they be compensated.

      • echinococcus
        June 9, 2015, 9:35 am

        Kritis,
        No doubt that was the intention, except that there’s no record of persecution, discrimination or expulsion in Morocco.
        At least nothing that a regular observer, not a Zionist maniac, would see as such.

      • Walid
        June 9, 2015, 10:49 am

        “Interestingly, I actually own a property in Hungary that belonged to my father and I still possess the deeds. Whilst my family were not refugees, there was a period where it wasn’t possible to take ownership during the Cold War.” (Freddy)

        Are you saying that your father walked away from filing a reparations claims? JVL reports that Hungarian Jews whose property had been confiscated have been compensated already with additional claims underway and your house is most probably on the list so hold on to that deed.

      • David Samel
        June 9, 2015, 11:23 am

        kritis, I think you’re absolutely right that Beinart was (not so?) subtly making the comparison of Palestinian refugees to Arab Jewish immigrants to Israel. That certainly is a common refrain.

        echinococcus, I’ll tell you why I have some respect for Beinart, even though I obviously disagree with him. I briefly refer to his debunking of hasbara, but it is actually worthy of more time. He gave the most comprehensive response to the Gaza greenhouses nonsense I have ever seen (in a haaretz column I think). And that is far from the only example. I also read through his book the Crisis of Zionism, and while I found his justifications for his love of Israel to be wrong and at times offensive, I found myself in admiration of many of his honest and thoughtful criticisms. In fact, I don’t think it would be terribly unfair to compare him to Norman Finkelstein, whose two-state views are quite similar. Beinart’s criticism of Israel may be more politely expressed, but it is quite genuine and potent. Incidentally, I thought Steven Salaita’s comparison of Finkelstein with Dershowitz in electronic intifada was horribly unfair – http://electronicintifada.net/content/dershowitz-and-finkelstein-comrades-heart/12574

      • JLWarner
        June 9, 2015, 10:09 pm

        Annie and many others are motivated to not allow the Israeli Jews to keep “all the stolen property.” Why not?. The goal is to end the occupation and restore Palestinian rights so the Palestinians can move forward with their lives. Why focus on punishing Israel and Israelis if it does not further that goal?

      • talknic
        June 10, 2015, 3:14 am

        @ JLWarner “Annie and many others are motivated to not allow the Israeli Jews to keep “all the stolen property.” “

        Israeli Jews? No dear chap, all Israelis, whether Jewish or not, have no right to illegally acquire non-Israeli territory. Same as Australians have no right to illegally acquire non-Australian territory

        “Why not?”

        Because it isn’t Israeli territory.

        “The goal is to end the occupation and restore Palestinian rights so the Palestinians can move forward with their lives. Why focus on punishing Israel and Israelis if it does not further that goal?”

        Because it is illegal. Go whine to the Israeli Government and the Zionist Federation and anyone else who thinks it is OK for Israelis to illegally acquire non-Israeli territories.

        It has been illegal to acquire territory by war since at least 1933, any war! and other states are prohibited from recognizing territory acquired by war by Israel as Israeli.

      • echinococcus
        June 10, 2015, 3:18 am

        JLWarner,

        You do the pardoning of the theft and writing the loot to losses; you may be one of those few humans who can concentrate exclusively on getting along and moving forward. People who have had to endure (many more than) 70 years of hairrising treatment, including war, dispossession, statelessness and genocide may have a different idea about compensation. If I were a Palestinian, anyone proposing to give me a sugar to make me forget and move forward when I am only asking for restitution and my minimal rights would be extremely suspect of being in collusion with my enemy.
        What kind of “peace” is howling injustice?

    • David Samel
      June 8, 2015, 9:02 pm

      Shingo, you make a good counter-argument. However, I tried to imagine this debate from the point of view of someone more neutral or uninformed, and found it “potentially persuasive” only to such people, not to myself. To a great extent, debates are like theater, and I can appreciate the debating skills of even a deplorable human being making reprehensible points (think Alan Dershowitz). I was simply finding Beinart to be skillful.

      As for pabelmont’s point, that rather obvious ploy on Beinart’s part escaped my attention. My bad. It is interesting that a Moroccan Jewish immigrant’s acquisition of a home owned by Palestinians to which they were illegally denied the right of return should seem more palatable than a European Jew’s actions. Beinart bet on that.

      • Shingo
        June 8, 2015, 10:08 pm

        Shingo, you make a good counter-argument. However, I tried to imagine this debate from the point of view of someone more neutral or uninformed, and found it “potentially persuasive” only to such people, not to myself. To a great extent, debates are like theater, and I can appreciate the debating skills of even a deplorable human being making reprehensible points (think Alan Dershowitz). I was simply finding Beinart to be skillful.

        I agree David, and pro Israeli arguments can often sound persuasive to the uninitiated until they are further examined.

  7. John Douglas
    June 8, 2015, 6:31 pm

    For an American at very least it’s an easy matter to answer the double standard argument (Justify yourself! Why do you focus upon Israel’s bad behavior and not first upon the worse behavior of Dictatorstan. Isn’t it because you’re an anti-Xite?). My answer: If Dictatorstan and not Israel controlled in the US a coterie of Dictatorstan-firsters in Congress and outside of Congress: buying Congressional support for Dictatorstan, resulting in billions of US tax dollars supporting Dictatorstan’s bad behavior; a President lying to the world at the UN to protect Dictatorstan; US policies in the Middle-Stan damaging the US reputation world-wide; creating and promoting false narratives of the origins of Dictatorstan; threatening politicians who are not sufficiently compliant to the demands of Dictatorstan leaders in Dictatorstan and supporters in the US, etc., then I would ignore insignificant little Israel and support the battle against Dictatorstan.

    • pabelmont
      June 8, 2015, 8:02 pm

      John D: Sadly, in light of the Obama push for TPP and afte4r NAFTA etc, we live in a world where instead of Dictatorstans (countries) we live in a world of mega-corporations which control the countries in various ways (labor laws, environmental laws, regulations of all sorts, drugs pricing (keep out the cheap knock-offs), free internet, and many more. TPP will be a disaster and Obama is giving away USA sovereignty.

      We don’t need Dictatorstans. and in light of all the USA’s horrible wars (eg Iraq) the USA is a prime example of a country that needs a BDS against it (if it would work).

      But rest easy — the Congress, serving its corporate and Zionist masters, plans to put anti-BDS terms into our trade deals so that no country (at least not Israel) need fear BDS (at lest fear it so much).

      • John Douglas
        June 9, 2015, 1:59 pm

        pabelmont: You’re right about TPP being a disaster. And you’re right about the power of international Corporations, including the ones we think of as American. Marx was right that while the Bourgeoisie (the class of powerful owners of capital) preaches patriotism they have no allegiance to any nation-state or anything else other than capital and more capital. Such people are today writing the TPP rules that will govern all trade. Still nations (dictatorstans, democrastans, all equally Plutocrastans) are important at very least as a pretext for maintaining the constant war and security footing of developed economies; think of the conniption fit the US had when the Europeans negotiated a truce over the Ukraine with Putin; the campaign to demonize Putin; the lobbying by Israel and the “defense” industry to bomb Syria, etc. Israel is a big part of this alliance of nation state leaders and war mongering corporate profiteers, the latter buying outright the former.

  8. pabelmont
    June 8, 2015, 8:17 pm

    David Samel: You say 2SS “would require that one or two hundred thousand settlers, many of them armed and fanatical, be compelled to move back within the green line without igniting a civil war. ” Whose decision is that? That is some unlikely-to-be-implemented proposal by some temporizing (I-just-love-piss-process) Zionist. I believe there are 650,000 settlers (possibly including those in Golan). Why should any be allowed to remain in the 22% mini-slice of Palestine allocated to new-Palestine in a 2SS in a green-line territorial division? If an entire removal of settlers is unreasonable, unlikely, unworkable, un-un-un, then why regard ANYTHING as workable? What makes anything else workable? Unless the EU or UNSC gets sufficiently worked up to end its quiescence on this matter, there will be continued (or worsening) apartheid. After the quiescence ends, the sky’s the limit. Who needs the green-line in that case? Hasn’t the gradual usurpation-by-force been gradual and consistent and constant over the lifetime of Israel? What makes the green-line special? (I’m imagining a no-longer-quiescent force majeure.)

    But of course the settlers do have guns and do already practice “price-tag”, not your school-yard game of tag.

    • David Samel
      June 8, 2015, 9:11 pm

      pabelmont, the theory put forward in support of the “piss process” (nice turn of phrase) is that land swaps would enable hundreds of thousands of settlers to remain in the West Bank while equal amounts of land blah blah blah. I am in complete agreement with you that this whole thing is never gonna happen.

      Nevertheless, I believe it was Munayyer at this debate who said that all such proposals require at least 100,000 settlers to be moved back, and Norman Finkelstein thinks it would be about 200,000. M clearly believes it will never happen, while F is hopeful that it could. btw, I argued that Finkelstein’s prescription is unworkable here -http://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/finkelsteins-prescription-for-a-two-state-solution-is-not-realistic

    • ritzl
      June 8, 2015, 9:34 pm

      Yep, pab. That was a [yet another] gaping hole in Beinart’s feasibility description of the possibility and therefore preferability of two states. He simply ignored Jerusalem, all the while touting “land swaps of equal size” (which he subsequently corrected to “equal size and value”).

      Are there land swaps of equal value to expanded Jerusalem in other parts of Israel? I suppose they could give the Palestinians the all of the Negev, complete with Dimona, but that’s not likely to happen (yuk yuk). Or maybe they could give the Palestinians the Golan (two birds and all that). Or maybe the Sorek desalination plant and its associated vertical technology and patents (http://www.waterworld.com/articles/wwi/print/volume-28/issue-6/technology-case-studies/desalination/sorek-stands-tall.html ; now there’s an idea with implications/legs, not that Mr. Beinart was thinking in that direction).

      I don’t know… I don’t make quizzical faces and physically scratch my head much on these inconsistencies anymore, but I did there. Quite the whopper of an omission.

      I just can’t wrap my head around how anyone capable of dressing themselves in the morning can insist so strenuously that there are land swaps in any/all of Israel that are of equal value to Jerusalem and its surrounding settlements — and then to insist that is the basis for his entire two state feasibility argument.

      PS, it’s also a sign of the limitations of these types of side-by-side debates that Munayyer didn’t go for the rhetorical “kill” by exploiting this hole in Mr. Beinart’s argument.

      • Mooser
        June 10, 2015, 12:30 pm

        “Armed settlers”? Armed with light weapons, and with no military training and discipline. And with each settler able to decide when he’s had enough and wants to split?
        They don’t seem very threatening to me. Most of them will be screaming: “Don’t shoot, I’m an American!” when they come to move them.

  9. Bornajoo
    June 9, 2015, 5:34 am

    Many, many thanks for this excellent article David as well as your further comments and replies.

    I’m really glad that this debate took place because it has completely exposed Beinart’s position and Munnayer did that extremely well. (However I do think he was being a little bit too restrained and respectful at some points during the debate.)

    I think you summed it up perfectly here:

    “Beinart made one of the best presentations imaginable on behalf of liberal Zionism and was soundly trounced in the debate”

    I’ve admitted before and will admit again that I’m still quite easily fooled, even after all of these years. I try and clutch at any straw thrown my way. I look for true goodwill sometimes where it doesn’t really exist. Beinart is very good at giving the impression that he’s a reasonable person and that his stance on the various i/p issues is well thought out and sensible. And he can sound very persuading. But as usual, as soon as you scratch through the surface we have exactly the same liberal Zionist position dressed up to look as though it’s reasonable.

    Beinart’s arguments about why he thinks the 1ss will not work is nothing to do with anything else except his ultimate desire to preserve Israel as a Jewish state and as much as he tries to rationalise and convince everyone of the ‘other’ reasons why the 1ss will fail that’s all he’s really interested in.

    As you say David, he’s had plenty of time to change his position and declare that he doesn’t stand by his previous statements but he has failed to do that. So no matter how nice he sounds and how logical his ideas are made to sound, he’s simply just another liberal Zionist with a more compassionate and softer IMAGE, but nothing more than that

    It’s the Palestinians who have been WRONGED and yet you hear many more voices from the Palestinians for one state than you do from Jews. They are willing to forgive and move on for the sake of justice. But the Zionists have no interest in justice. They want a Jewish majority state with as much (stolen) land as possible with the fewest amount of Palestinians in that land. And if Beinart cannot change the rest of them certainly won’t.

    • bintbiba
      June 9, 2015, 6:25 am

      Many thanks for David Samel’s great comment.

      @Bornajoo,

      Thank you for your well reasoned and greatly expressed comment .
      Your way of formulating the thoughts I had as i watched and listened to the two debaters is spot on ! I could never have said it better ,not even ever as well !

      To me, Peter Beinart seemed to be getting more and more frantic in his demeanour and speech , which contrasted so much with Yousef’s calm and well controlled manner . It was very revealing of PB’s state of mind. YM was the more convincing as a result… (and I confess my partisan leanings , though I try to be fair and keep an open mind at all times ! )

      • Bornajoo
        June 9, 2015, 6:58 am

        Bintbiba

        As we know from your previous comments, you were kicked out of your own country back in 48 and you were never allowed back in. Your family lost everything. You and your people have had to suffer massive and ongoing injustice. Yet I know that even after all of this, you and so many other Palestinians would still wholeheartedly join together in one state for all, together with the very people that have caused all this suffering. because your primary motivation is equality and justice

        But unfortunately the Zionists will never agree to reciprocate because their primary motivation is supremacism. Their so called “Jewish Character” must be preserved at all costs as well as wanting all of the land, water and resources. And this is what Beinart also wants, as much as he tries to show that he doesn’t

      • David Samel
        June 9, 2015, 10:21 am

        Thanks Bornajoo and bintbiba for your kind comments. You make an interesting point about Beinart being more excitable, but I don’t think I agree with your conclusion. I’m not sure there is any correlation between calmness and persuasiveness (or truthfulness). I have seen Edward Said lose his cool (in response to an audience question) without any adverse effect on his credibility. And while Dershowitz always appears passionate (sometimes with restless leg syndrome), I don’t think his manner undermines his arguments at all. I think he’s a very effective speaker, until one closely examines the substantive content of his remarks. Yousef did keep calm, but it was the clarity and logic of his arguments that won the day. But yours is an interesting observation.

      • ritzl
        June 9, 2015, 1:01 pm

        Hi David, tactical question: How do you counter Dersh-style firehosed falsehoods in a verbal debate? You’re absolutely brilliant in characterizing the tactic as you did just below to bintbiba.

        People of good faith tend to try to respond point by point and get lost in the swamp. Meanwhile Dersh-types are forming the next blast of nonsense. Not being particularly burdened with the need to be sincere in those situations, I use the sentence, “All that would be true, except that it isn’t.” That kinda clears the path to move forward, but it is a bit flippant and may put an audience (live or reading) off.

        Since you so obviously understand the problem, do you have any tips on a Dersh counterattack? A lot of people here debate this, at every opportunity. Your/any advice would be very helpful, imho.

        PS Adding to the chorus, Great article! Thanks.

  10. The Hasbara Buster
    June 9, 2015, 7:18 am

    Just two small points about Beinart’s arguments. While Czechoslovakia did get caught up in the splitting euphoria of the 90s, the move has since been regretted by both Czechs and Slovaks, and there is a lot of talk of reunification. I believe the same would happen with Scotland and England and Catalonia and Spain should they also part ways. It’s simply not true that any two peoples are inherently unable to live together.

    As for the double standard argument, before the current thaw the issue of the American embargo of Cuba was routinely raised at the UN. All countries voted against, with only four voting for: the US itself, Palau, Micronesia and — Israel. Surely there were worse human-rights offenders more deserving of sanctions? Why should Israel be immune to a selective approach to sanctions it itself applies?

    • David Samel
      June 9, 2015, 10:33 am

      Thanks, HB – I was unaware of the talk of reunifying Czechoslovakia. In any event, we always hear how Jews have lived in Palestine “from time immemorial.” While that does not justifiy a state in which they rule over non-Jews, it does show that the two peoples can live together. Your Cuba example is well-taken, and more recently, the threat of boycott forced the state of Indiana to reconsider its “religious freedom” legislation allowing discrimination against gays. Was that the worst human rights problem in the world?

      btw, what’s the deal with Palau, Micronesia, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, etc. These tiny Pacific island countries routinely support Israel in lopsided 150 – 6 UN votes. Anybody have any specifics?

    • bintbiba
      June 9, 2015, 11:26 am

      @ David Samel ,

      “. Yousef did keep calm, but it was the clarity and logic of his arguments that won the day. ”

      – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/munayyer-beinart-debate#comments

      I concede to your gently framed observation about calm vs’ clarity & logic.’ Of course the latter will always win the day .

      Thank you for clarifying the glaring difference which I failed to do. :-(

      • David Samel
        June 9, 2015, 12:34 pm

        Sorry, bintbiba, meant no criticism. I just thought it was an interesting topic regarding the demeanor of debate participants. People love live debates as good theater, but I find them somewhat less reliable than written discussions of issues. The best example is Dershowitz, who has mastered the art of speaking with conviction, occasionally outrage, and is never at a loss for words. He “convincingly” makes so many absolutely false points that his debating opponent faces the dilemma of spending time addressing them (if he has caught the errors in real time) or making his own points. On paper, Dersh is easier to refute, though debunking him always takes more time and space than he has spent with his lies. And what if Yousef had been less impressive? It would not have made his position less meritorious, but only have given that impression. Oral debates often leave me frustrated for these reasons but this one was quite good.

      • eGuard
        June 12, 2015, 6:26 pm

        David Samel: Yousef did keep calm, but it was the clarity and logic of his arguments that won the day. Bolding added.

        The “but” is journalistic laziness – at best (there is no contradiction. The ‘but’ says: “I’ve let you talk, I didn’t listen, now I will say what I want to say”). In this case is shows the reporter’s plain bias. You should have written: “and”.

        David Samel, you are insincere.

  11. unverified__5ilf90kd
    June 9, 2015, 12:04 pm

    Like many intelligent Jews, Beinart simply proves in public that he is totally irrational when it comes to justifying the Israeli occupation and harsh treatment of the Palestinians. Because of the prominent influence of these irrational Jews in our government, the USA now treats many foreign countries like Israel treats the Palestinians. The consequences will be significant and dramatic unless we start to recognize the elephant in the room.

  12. RobertHenryEller
    June 9, 2015, 12:46 pm

    “On right of return, Beinart argued that no other conflict has allowed it and neither should this one, . . . ”

    What is Zionism itself if not an assertion of a Jewish “right of return” to Palestine?

    • just
      June 9, 2015, 12:52 pm

      Touché!

    • The Hasbara Buster
      June 9, 2015, 8:01 pm

      More to the point, Beinart is wrong. The right of return was implemented as part of conflict resolution in many parts of the world, such as Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, East Timor, El Salvador, Guatemala, Cyprus, Georgia and Rwanda. Kosovo is perhaps the best-known case, and one that any intellectual should be aware of.

  13. eGuard
    June 9, 2015, 6:23 pm

    his [Beinart’s] valuable contributions to the ongoing debate for many years.

    Exactly that explains why it keeps going on for years. And Beinart knows. After all, he does not have to pay for it.

  14. eGuard
    June 9, 2015, 6:45 pm

    Munayyer brought up a five-year-old quote of Beinart – “I’m not even asking [Israel] 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”

    Actually Munayyer was challenged by Ali Abunimah to test Beinart for that one.
    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/challenging-peter-beinarts-dishonesty-about-inequality-zionism

    Way too long, and once more in this review, Beinart is not told to shut up with his cheap talk. This I commented here three years ago:
    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/two-cheers-for-beinart#comment-436168

    Mondoweiss’s support for bladiblaBeinart, instead of calling him untrustworthy, is helping noone but Beinart. When Israel attackerd Gaza (2008/09, 2012, 2014) Beinart was not just looking the other way, he was talking about his bicycle.
    My opnion: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/eguard?keyword=Beinart

    • Annie Robbins
      June 9, 2015, 7:32 pm

      Actually Munayyer was challenged by Ali Abunimah to test Beinart for that one.

      oh please. it’s one of the most famous statements in beinart’s career. i strenuously doubt munayyer relied on abunimah to be ‘challenged’ to bring it up.

      david samel covered it in “Beinart demands equality for the Cheney sisters, but is ‘willing to compromise’ equality of Palestinian Israelis” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2013/11/equality-compromise-liberalism#sthash.4LhG2vIt.dpuf

      phil here: http://mondoweiss.net/2013/12/beinart-excommunicate-jewish

      ofer here: (in 2010) http://mondoweiss.net/2010/05/beinart-your-brutal-honesty-makes-you-my-political-foe

      adam and scott here: http://mondoweiss.net/2013/03/covering-palestinian-response

      Rather than being truly concerned for the well being of Palestinian women, Beinart is policing the Israel/Palestine debate and determining whose rights matter and when. For Beinart, Palestinian human rights are paramount in Hamas-run Gaza — “Human rights can be menaced by every national and ideological camp, and thus must be defended against every national and ideological camp” — yet he declared to Jeffrey Goldberg he opposes equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel because it contradicts his own political mission of maintaining a Jewish state — “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.” In addition, and more shocking considering his attack on us, Beinart was silent on the human rights of these very same women when Israel was bombing Gaza this past November. How then should we understand his new found concern for Palestinian human rights?

      Beinart’s argument (or “concern trolling” as author Chase Madar described it over Twitter) is reminiscent of those who use internal struggles within Palestinian society as an excuse to postpone Palestinian freedom. He writes, “the decisions Hamas makes now will shape how it behaves when Palestinians more fully govern themselves, as they one day surely will. To imagine, as leftists often have, that you can ignore the moral character of a national liberation movement until it achieves liberation is naïve. By then it will be too late.” Beinart apparently thinks his concerns about Palestinian “moral character” supersede the daily oppression that Palestinians live under. Oppression, which we should add, Beinart very rarely comments on in his work for Open Zion.

      However the most profound thing Beinart gets wrong is how he describes “the nature of the struggle.” He writes, “Less important than what the pro-Palestinian left says to the Zionist right is what it says to itself about the true nature of its struggle. Is the goal merely an end to Israeli control over Palestinian lives or is it individual liberty and accountable government.” Our answer to Beinart is — Yes, at this point in history it would be miraculous to “merely” end Israeli control over Palestinians lives. Soon we will be marking the 65th anniversary of the Nakba and there is no end in sight to Israeli control over Palestinian lives. Beinart should understand that the struggle for “individual liberty and accountable government” will only fully take place once Palestinian rights are truly honored and Palestinians themselves can take full agency over their lives and the society they want to build.

      — other times on our site too.

      and read the passage in antony lowestiens after zionism https://books.google.com/books?id=VEUhBQAAQBAJ&pg=PT95&lpg=PT95&dq=mondoweiss+beinart+to+allow+full,+equal+citizenship+to+Arab+Israelis&source=bl&ots=DTnZOAZU8f&sig=b7CPJ_lRvZ9uR_99fzEDI9Lqot4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CF4Q6AEwCWoVChMIjYqopd6DxgIVWCuICh3z9wBi#v=onepage&q=mondoweiss%20beinart%20to%20allow%20full%2C%20equal%20citizenship%20to%20Arab%20Israelis&f=false

      very well known statement by beinart, i doubt he was “challenged” by abunimah. i’m sure munayyer was well aware of that statement — for years.

      • eGuard
        June 10, 2015, 2:40 pm

        Annie,

        First of all, I thank & compliment MW for publishing my MW-critical comments.

        (Annie, you did not engage with my last paragraph. Always a testing point is: what did he/she write about & during the mass-murdering attacks on Gaza (08/09, 12, 14)? Beinart fails that test).

        Sure Mondoweiss did quote that old one from Beinart’s dark mind multiple times even. But hey, when publishing 1000 articles about His Royal Liberal Zionist, there always will be five or ten quoting that. My point is that Mondoweiss has never rejected Beinart for saying so in 2010 (and he never retracted). Not even in the debate review here. Time Mondoweiss starts using his middle name: “Peter ‘Racist Apartheid Zionist’ Beinart”. (Alli Abunimah/EI never takes him as a serious talking partner. Whether Munayyer was triggered by Ali, I did not claim and is quite irrelevant).

        MW gives Beinart the oxygen to delay any improvement. Again in this piece. David Samel about Peter RAZ Beinart: paragraph two/fifteen: As a speaker, he was impressive and occasionally brilliant. […]. Paragraph five/fifteen: But enough of the praise (that’s 4/15 of praise then. Now I’m expecting the burn-down). Par 6-7-8: nothing died. Paragraphs 9, 10, 11 ‘utopia’, 12 ‘utopia’ rhymes with blabla, 13 ‘B. is surely right’, and of course 14: B. is given the initiative by Samel, even when he does not answer question. Munayyer never (never) gets this privilege of initiative/active form. Then, to conclude it, paragraph 15/15 opens with: Beinart made one of the best presentations imaginable … (I add, vomiting: …, still did not win a single argument, but gets his MW approval and exposure and oxygen once again).

        This MW-helps-Beinart approach should end. At last Mondoweiss did understand that it is time to distrust NYT at face value (not just Rudoren), which greatly improves this site. Now it’s time to drop that free-talking, never-pay-for-an-opinion Peter RAZ Beinart.

      • David Samel
        June 10, 2015, 10:15 pm

        eGuard, it seems to me that you are misinterpreting everything. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s to serve your rather ludicrous conclusion, highlighted in bold, that “MW gives Beinart the oxygen to delay any improvement.” Yes, if only MW attacked Beinart as a “Racist Apartheid Zionist,” we would be on our way to Palestinian liberation. Or are you talking about improvement in Beinart’s opinion? You weren’t really clear on which implausible point you were making. Yes, I praised Beinart for his performance, but my conclusion was that he was soundly trounced by Munayyer. Did you somehow miss that? I was saying that even the best presentation of liberal Zionism still is morally repugnant. If you still have trouble understanding my point, try reading the piece again

        btw your list of my praise somehow included “utopia” and “blabla.” The first was a reference to an unattainable ideal, as in Beinart keeps hoping for something that will never come (he described the 1ss as utopian and I was turning the argument on him), and I have never seen anyone else interpret “blabla” as a compliment.

        I’m not sure if you responded to my comment that Beinart gave a big platform to Munayyer and Zayid on Open Zion. Also, have you seen the bullshit about Israel leaving greenhouses for Gaza when they “withdrew,” but the Palestinians destroyed them? The best and most thoroughly detailed debunking of the greenhouse story that I have seen came from Beinart.

        Also, do you equally detest as racist Zionists Norman Finkelstein and Uri Avnery? Just curious.

        Look, I absolutely loath Dershowitz, but on occasion I have noted his skillfulness in presenting his lies to the gullibly faithful. I even find Ann Coulter witty sometimes. I certainly don’t put Beinart in the same category as the Dersh or Coulter, but I’m not sure how you didn’t (or pretended not to) get that my praise of Beinart was lukewarm at best.

      • eGuard
        June 10, 2015, 10:52 pm

        David Samel: eGuard, it seems to me that you are misinterpreting everything.

        That’s your mental problem then. I pointed out, by your paragraphs even by numbers, and by your grammar of active/passive writing (plus, of course, that praise-all-over-the-place) that this piece again shows Mondoweiss’s religious approach to this Zionist-but-hey-its-a-Lib.

        I say (and I can quote this in two & ten years): it’s those “Liberal Zionists” like Beinart that are the obstruction to justice, peace and freedom. NYT fell here, MJRosenberg to follow, Peter ‘Racist Apartheid Zionist’ Beinart next. Don’t blame me for your latency in this.

        And, of course, any professional reporter would check Beinart for his behaviour wrt the three murderous attacks on Gaza. You did not.

      • David Samel
        June 11, 2015, 9:38 am

        Annie – belated thanks for this extremely well-researched comment. For one thing, I had completely forgotten about my own post on Beinart and Cheney.

  15. maiselm
    June 9, 2015, 8:03 pm

    Your state, my state . . . but what is a “state”? What enforces the laws of a state within that state? A police force. What enforces the status of that state with respect to other states? An army. At bottom, then, Lenin was correct: “The state is a body of armed men.” Or, updated, “men and women and others.” Some states (the United States, for example) have many bodies at arms: an army, a navy, marines, national guard, civil air patrol, Federal, state, and county police, etc., etc. But their function is the same: to maintain a variety of injustices that cannot otherwise be maintained. If this is only understood, it makes a complete folly of all the Zionist arguments with respect to the relative goodness or badness of states. Just saying…

Leave a Reply