"The prime minister of Israel has repeatedly compared the establishment of a Palestinian state to the Holocaust. His foreign minister, and protégé, has flirted with advocating the physical expulsion of Israeli Arabs. The spiritual leader of his government's fourth-largest party has called for politicians who advocate ceding territory to the Palestinians to be struck dead. West Bank settlements are growing at triple the rate of the Israeli population, and according to a recent Tel Aviv University poll, 80 percent of religious Jewish Israeli high schoolers would refuse orders to dismantle them. One-third of Jewish Israelis favor pardoning Yigal Amir, the man who murdered Yitzhak Rabin.
I hate writing these words. I was raised to love Israel, and I will teach my children to love it. But we don't get to choose what is true. And if you love Israel not only because it is a Jewish state but also because it is a liberal democratic Jewish state, a state that strives to embody the best in the Jewish ethical tradition, there is only one decent response to these truths: fury. If you're not angry, you're either not paying attention or you don't care," - Peter Beinart.
He goes on to counter Chait's criticisms of his NYRB piece one by one. Read it all. It's a devastating expose of Chait's own indifference to the changing realities in Israel, and of his anti-anti-Israel position. What I found particularly depressing about Chait's response was the failure to respond to the specific facts Peter has laid out. Instead we have a condescending psychoanalysis of Peter that is built on a previous piece and that seeks to explain Beinart's evolution as being about Beinart, not Israel or reality. Why does that non-argument sound familiar? It's about as relevant as where Peter's essay was published (although it is interesting that a former editor of TNR could never have such an essay printed in its pages).
I await Chait's future engagement with the facts on the ground. If only he were as tough on Israel's right as he is on America's.
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