There is no shortage of armchair quarterbacks about the state of affairs between the Palestinian Authority and the state of Israel, but one popular pontificator recently crafted a new angle to an age-old problem. Peter Beinart, a journalist and political commentator (i.e.: pontificator) published an opinion piece in the July 8, 2020 New York Times, “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State.”
He said that he no longer believes in a two-state solution where the Palestinians would have their own sovereign state. Instead, he believes that Israel is a failed state, since it cannot negotiate a final deal with the Palestinians. At the time of Beinart’s article, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was considering declaring his government’s sovereignty over areas of the West Bank that have been occupied by Israelis since capture in the 1967 Six Day War with Jordan. Israel had also captured east Jerusalem but decided long ago to incorporate that area into Israel, thereby extending Israeli citizenship, law and civil administration into the area. Beinart was of the opinion that the territories won in the Six Day War should be given to the Palestinians in whole for their own state. Now he has changed course and wants Israel to work with the Palestinians to form one new nation.
In my opinion, he has really lost his mind.
I am old enough to have witnessed the atrocities inflicted upon Israel and the Jewish people by Palestinian terrorism. I remember the 1972 Munich Olympics where Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.
I remember the 1976 Entebbe hostage crisis where Palestinian terrorists skyjacked an Air France passenger jet with 248 passengers. The plane was taken to Uganda. After a daring rescue by the Israeli IDF, most of the hostages were freed with four killed. All of the terrorists were killed. One Israeli unit commander, Lt. Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu, brother to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was also killed during the operation.
I remember the Intifadas where Palestinians wearing suicide vests detonated themselves in public places in Israel to kill innocent Israelis. My family was in Israel in 1997 for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah: During our stay, three Palestinian terrorists detonated on Israel’s popular Ben Yehuda Street, killing four innocents. It’s hard to forget the pain suffered by Israel because of the Palestinians — the same Palestinians who are today firing missiles into Israel from Gaza. They do not fire at military targets but at innocent Israelis. This is the same Palestinians who give the family of terrorists monthly cash stipends as a reward for killing Israelis. They’ve paid out millions from the Palestinian Authority Martyrs Fund.
What came first — occupation or terrorism? Did terrorism start by the Palestinians because of Israeli occupation of the territories won in the 1967 Six Day War? Absolutely not. Arab or Palestinian terrorists have been killing Jews in Israel and beyond as far back as the anti-Jewish riots in 1920 in Jaffa. The truth is that the Palestinians have vowed to destroy Israel and will not sign a peace agreement. Beinart is delusional to think that the Palestinians want peace and Israel would consider forming a new nation with both peoples governing. That would be suicide for the Jewish people in Israel.
It’s hard to forget these things but in recent years, the tensions have cooled a little with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Not so much with Hamas in Gaza since they were given the territory that they demanded and subsequently started an armed assault against Israel at the same time they destroyed all the productive greenhouses Israel left them. Let’s not forget that the people of Gaza elected a terrorist organization, Hamas, to lead them in Gaza. Neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas have recognized Israel’s right to exist.
In an article in the Mideast Report titled, “Peter Beinart and Seth Rogen Reflect on Jewish Disillusionment with Israel,” Seth Rogen, the actor who grew up Jewish and even lived on a Kibbutz, stated on a July 27 podcast with Marc Maron, “If it is truly for the preservation of Jewish people, it makes no sense, because you don’t keep something you’re trying to preserve all in one place, especially when that place has proven to be pretty volatile.” In other words, this young man and famous actor thinks the Jewish people need to abandon Israel and move somewhere else.
Seriously — Israel is not going to give up on the two-state solution and form a new state with their good friends, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. And Israel is not going to move to another location because wherever we as Jews settle, there will be some power that will want to destroy us. And the land of Israel was given to the Jewish people by the Almighty.
I had the honor (or really dishonor) to hear Peter Beinart speak on a Zoom call recently. A local Charleston college invited him to speak about his comments in the New York Times opinion piece. Giving this man the time of day after that ludicrous piece was derelict. My opinion is that he wrote the piece in the Times just to get attention. Being noticed could increase his speaker fees. When I asked the director at the college about having another speaker who could balance the conversation, he said that they don’t need to balance views. This, my friends, is what happens on our college campuses — even here in Charleston; here and everywhere young people are not being exposed to the whole story, only the story that the professors want them to believe. In this case, a wacky far-off “exposé” about why Israel and the Palestinians should join forces to be one country.
Peter Beinart and Seth Rogen are not on the fringe anymore. There are young people who are exposed to this type of ludicrous propaganda on our college campuses. Young people who are too young to have seen all of the crimes committed against innocent Israelis and Jews. They just see the Palestinians as victims. Don’t get me wrong. Israel is not perfect, but it is a democracy and there is a rule of law. I do believe that there will be peace between Israel and Palestinians but not now and maybe not for many years. The people of Israel are tired of war and terrorism, but they will have to wait until the Palestinians decide that the path to a good life is to make peace.
Larry W. Freudenberg is a sixth-generation Charlestonian and owner of his family’s 117-year-old insurance agency, founded on Broad Street in Charleston by his great grandfather. He has been to Israel three times and is a political activist for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance.