Peter Beinart comes around

Peter Beinart, a leading Jewish voice and writing in both Jewish Currents and the New York Times, warms to the idea of supporting one state in the Holy Land with equality for all, something truly consistent with Jewish moral values.

Beinart currently serves as Editor-At-Large of Jewish Currents, a magazine founded in 1946 and committed to the rich tradition of thought, activism, and culture of the Jewish left. He was editor of The New Republic magazine, and he was a senior columnist at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Beinart’s full description of his transformation on this issue can be found here: https://jewishcurrents.org/yavne-a-jewish-case-for-equality-in-israel-palestine/. The New York Times piece is a condensed version and easier way to get the point: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/08/opinion/israel-annexation-two-state-solution.html

Beinart’s highly visible position has made his one equal state coming out party far more visible than that of many other Jews who have made this same transformation:

http://www.acjna.org/acjna/articles_detail.aspx?id=529

http://joshuatartakovsky.com/how-i-changed-from-being-a-former-israeli-soldier-to-pro-palestinian/#.Xwsx_pNKjxh

Beinart’s articles have drawn considerable attention, both very positive and not so positive, as described by Rob Eshman in the Forward, a publication on news that matters to Jews. In the article, Eshman points out that Beinart’s views are not new. People are drawn to the view that everyone– Jew and non-Jew– should be treated equally in the Holy Land; the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.

Rabbi Brant Rosen provides his perspective on Beinart’s changing view at: https://rabbibrant.com/2020/07/08/peter-beinart-crosses-over-on-game-changers-and-historic-injustices/

Israeli author/columnist Gideon Levy, writing in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, lauds Beinart’s seeing the light https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-peter-beinart-s-great-change-1.8987401 and reiterates the view that a truly democratic one state solution– a state truly consistent with Jewish moral values– is the most realistic path forward. Levy concludes, “Beinart is himself a source of pride: an American Jew who heralds a change that gives hope.”

Not everyone agrees, for example, Anshel Pfeffer, also writing in Haaretz. But even detractors with Beinart can agree, as Pfeffer writes, “one binational state between the Mediterranean and the Jordan with equal rights for Jews and Palestinians would be a just way to end the fundamentally unjust situation, whereby millions of Palestinians do not have national or civil rights.”

Israeli author and human rights activist Miko Peled provides his take on Beinart’s evolution: https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/miko-peled/.

Beinart has been asked about his article in multiple interviews. Haaretz reported on one here: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-peter-beinart-on-why-he-s-a-zionist-despite-abandoning-concept-of-jewish-state-1.9013318. The full interview can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONiyVBHH7nA&feature=youtu.be.

Mondoweiss reported on what it sees as the implications of Beinart’s change of heart: https://mondoweiss.net/2020/07/beinarts-earthquake-why-so-powerful-why-now/?fbclid=IwAR1Xm0kHM2HvlUcMT73SDHbfWYaQ4vV70VlbI61K097yWHhHQ-Sk7089qEc.

“The image of him here is a mainstream, thoughtful, very intelligent, liberal, pro-Israel guy. That he has reached this point has shaken people,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a liberal Jewish advocacy group in Washington that supports the two-state solution as reported by the AP: https://apnews.com/c2ab16bf20d10c844039f3923e9f054f?utm_medium=AP&utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter. The AP story ends, “Beinart said he does not worry about short-term criticism. Instead, he hopes to plant a seed for a long-term discussion about an alternative that provides ‘equality and justice,’” something all of us, particularly us Jews, can agree on.

And then a Palestinians perspective on Beinart’s change of heart from Ahmed Abu Artema, a Palestinian journalist and peace activist: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/peter-beinart-crisis-liberal-zionism-200808113107258.html

Beinart continues to write and now offers a blog, The Beinart Notebook, which covers Politics, Foreign Policy and (occasionally) the Jews. In a recent issue, he wrote: “Imagine you’re in a kid in school. You have a history of being bullied, which makes you anxious about your safety. But, recently, your fortunes have improved. And now you watch with amazement as the school’s newest tough guys not only befriend you but cater to your every desire. To prove their devotion, they turn mercilessly on someone with whom you’ve had a dispute, someone even weaker than you. “We won’t let anyone threaten you,” they cry, as they beat him to a pulp. It’s an imperfect analogy. But it captures some of how I felt watching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit last week to the West Bank. Given Jewish history, I understand why some Jews feel comforted, even exhilarated, when the Christians who run the world’s most powerful country shower the Jewish state with affection. I just wish the affection were not laced with sadism and lies.”

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