Peter Beinart on American Jews and Israel

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. Peter Beinart, who has become a leading voice of the liberal critique of Israel, had this to say in describing Jews who support AIPAC:

There is nothing wrong with the people themselves. Most AIPAC people are not ideological. They don’t see themselves as right wing. They’re mostly moderate Democrats. They just want to do something for Israel. They want to feel connected to Israel. They go to their synagogue dinner, they go to the Federation dinner, and they go to the AIPAC dinner. (Haaretz, Is archliberal Peter Beinart good for the Jews?“)

A recurrent theme at TOO is that Diaspora Jews are engaged in hypocrisy—supporting apartheid Israel bent on ethnic cleansing and oppression of Palestinians, with a Jews-only immigration policy, while supporting America as  a proposition nation with no ethnic identity, massive non-White immigration, and vilifying any manifestations of ethnic/racial identity by Whites. My image of AIPAC supporters was that they are conscious gung-ho supporters of settlers, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid—the technical term is ‘neocon’. But Beinart seems  to be saying that American Jews simply have a blind spot. The hypocrisy fails to register with them. They are good liberals who will vote for Obama and just want to support Israel; they don’t pay much attention to what Israel does, or their attitudes are shaped by the AIPAC propaganda machine. In a rather gentle way, Beinart is trying to get them to see their hypocrisy, probably to no avail.

So these liberal Democrats go to an AIPAC conference and get to experience some real power, as pretty much the entire American political class comes on bended knee to

tell you how great you are, and to tell you what you want to hear. For WASPs, it wouldn’t be such a powerful experience. For Jews, especially older Jews, it’s a very powerful experience, especially when you tell people that you’re using this power to save the Jewish people in the way that your parents and grandparents couldn’t in the 1940s.

Hmmm. WASP power is far more apparent than real, since they have been displaced in pretty much all the elite positions in America. Hence the title of Eric Kaufmann’s The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America.  On the other hand, AIPAC is an awesome display of power by the new elite. And with power goes the prerogative of making war, as we have become all too aware of in the last 20 years.

Beinart’s basic proposal that American Jews are tuning out of supporting Israel as it heads down the path of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. But that is at least questionable. Isi Leibler, a prominent Australian Zionist now living in Israel, begs to differ. Leibler, who labels Netanyahu a “centrist,” writes that “a recent poll conducted by supporters of President Obama designed to understate the role of Israel as a factor determining how American Jews vote. But even this poll recognized that 73% of all Jews – not merely the committed ones – considered that Netanyahu, the bête noir of left liberals, represented ‘true Jewish values'” (“Most Israelis and Jews are under no illusions”).

I won’t comment on what this says about Jewish values, but it should be noted that there is a history where Diaspora Jews rally around the (Israeli) flag in a crisis. For example, many Jews who seemed indifferent to Israel suddenly became obsessed with the fate of Israel during the wars of 1967 and 1973. And while Leibler describes Netanyahu as a centrist, Uri Avnery, an Israeli peace activist, describes him (more accurately) as “a Holocaust-obsessed fantasist, out of contact with reality, distrusting all Goyim, trying to follow in the footsteps of a rigid and extremist father [Benzion Netanyahu]– altogether a dangerous person to lead a nation in a real crisis.”

Dangerous for the entire world. Just recently Israel took possession of its fourth nuclear-capable submarine from Germany—a development that should scare pretty much everyone. Without doubt, the fanatics are now in control in Israel and, given Israeli demographics ,this will only get worse.

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