J Street Big Takes a Serious Shot at Peter Beinart's Call for Boycott

Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of J Street, the left-wing pro-Israel gorup, tells Marc Tracy that Peter Beinart's call for a boycott of goods made in West Bank settlements is completely counterproductive:

"He thinks that pressure on settlers on an individual basis will get them to rethink their enterprise," he explained. "I don't think that's going to happen. They think the world is against them, and this will only reinforce their belief that they're right and reestablish their intensity to hold onto the land."

I don't have much good to say about Beinart's call for a boycott, because I find economic warfare targeting Jews so distasteful, for obvious historical reasons. (As readers of Goldblog know, I would like to see the settlers out of the West Bank as well, but this is a very bad way to go about achieving the goal.) And to be completely blunt, I'm not that interested in debating Peter's new book, which I've just finished reading, because I find his recounting of recent Middle East history one-sided and filled with errors and omissions. The Middle East crisis is complicated, except in Peter's telling. It's hard to argue with Peter's work precisely because there's so much missing. He has some interesting things to say about American Jewish priorities, however, and I'll get to that soon. Here's David Frum, by the way, on the call for a boycott. He thinks Peter is being destructive. And here's Ami Eden on how Peter's call for a boycott targeting Jews will inevitably lead to Jewish boycotts of Peter Beinart.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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