23 February 2015

Peter Beinart and the core message

It's quite an old story, and I recall now that, when I read it first, I have seen pink* and decided to let it stew for a while. I guess that we are after the while now, and the subject could be aired. The Haaretz article by Peter Beinart is titled The next step for liberal Zionists after Gaza: a Freedom Summer with Palestinians. Its lede cuts to the chase:
In an era of direct action, supporters of the two-state solution must start putting their bodies on the line.
The article itself starts with a fairly long and boring discourse on the sorry state of affairs in the sorry domain of the Israeli/Palestinian peace process.

The real meat of the article comes with this "action item" for an undefined body of American Jewish volunteers.
But if thousands of American Jews joined those protests, American Jews would know. Protesters would return home with videos to show their synagogues; hawkish parents would be appalled by the treatment meted out to their children. And the American media, which covers Jews far more intensively than it covers Palestinians, would follow. The model would be Freedom Summer, Robert Moses’ campaign to bring white college students to help register voters in Mississippi in 1964, and thus draw the nation’s eyes to oppression that garnered little media attention when practiced only against blacks.
In short: bring some nice Jewish-American boys and girls into direct contact with easily provoke-able boys and girls of our Border Police, and hey presto: Jewish moms at home will take a look at the iPhone-produced clips of the Border Police depravity toward their babies and raise such a shitstorm - the intractable pro-Zionist AIPAC will just have to become tractable and order Bibi to visit Washington for a spectacular clock cleaning.

You have noticed that I have left unmentioned that crude innuendo of comparing the Israeli/Palestinian situation with the plight of black community in US... and the "preferential" coverage of the Jews by American media. There is some tastier fish to fry in that article.

Here comes a first word of caution re the proposed merger of the American Jewish volunteers with local "freedom fighters":
Such an effort would not be simple. The call for Jewish volunteers would have to come from Palestinian activists themselves. There’s a risk that some protesters would throw stones. Even if American Jews came to support a two state solution, some of the people marching with them would not.
Yeah, definitely a good idea to warn the potential volunteers to avoid throwing stones. Because it is rather unpopular lately in Israel. Might provoke these Border Police fiends even more. But wait, here comes the pearl:
But even if protesters differed on their ultimate goal, the core message—that it is fundamentally unjust to deny people the basic rights that their neighbors enjoy because of their religion or ethnicity—might reach American Jews, and Americans overall, in a way it never has.
Now I think I have seen it all. Well, a good deal of "it", whatever it is. Prof Beinart's methodology is blazing simple. So "some of the people" might not support the two state solution (read "some of the people want Palestine from the river to the sea") - but the core message, the one that both "some people" and Peter Beinart espouse, is just, so the American Jews of conscience might march together with "some people". At least part of the way, and I hope that this "part of the way" is not what I forcibly put into prof Beinart's mouth. As far as no stones are thrown and no direct implementation of "Palestine from the river to the sea" is attempted, why not indeed? Right?

And we can extend this methodology to many other progressive movements that have a potential of carrying a common core message. Take Hamas, for instance: true, some of their messages are difficult to support (for the moment). Like their desire to get rid of the Jews, like all these Qassams and whatnot. But there is a core message of social work, of freedom, of open borders and free movement of goods (only part of which goods will be weapons, so the core message stays clear), of unity and purity etc. Lots and lots of what comprises a solid core message that could be shared by American Jews of good will - for at least part of the way. When Hamas comes to implement the less core bits, they might be better left alone, of course, but for now? The way is clear.

Or take Hezbollah. It's true that they are an illegal cancerous growth in the midst of a sovereign country. But their core message (if you leave aside their penchant for killing infidels, bombing embassies, cultural centers and similar) - isn't their core message good enough to march together with them for quite a long stretch?

Or Mussolini - he has that neat core message of trains... but enough of that. Of course, I have taken the feverish idea of Peter Beinart ad absurdum on purpose. I don't really intend to place any words in his mouth. Just to show that he has seriously crossed the line between the debate on the future of Israel and Palestinians and the domain where different groups of different anti-Zionist shades operate and prosper.

Speaking of crossing the lines, the J-Street, which is so touchingly lauded by prof Beinart in this article, is not averse to schmoozing with BDS supporters. And since prof Beinart himself has already called for a circumcised version of BDS (aimed at settlers only), I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes a fully sworn member of that crowd... but it is early days yet.

In short, dear Peter: it is fine to be worried about the situation here. It is fine to debate and disagree with various Jewish factions in US and Israel. The hallowed Jewish tradition of questioning anything and anybody should be kept up by all means. Joining hands with "some people", euphemistically identified as "ones who don't support two states solution" is far away from being fine.

So there.

(*) I can't say I have seen red when it's about Peter Beinart, can I?


Dick Stanley said...

Great idea, Petey. Now the terrorists and their fellow travelers can all go bankrupt together:


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yep, this is an achievement indeed. Hit their pockets.

peterthehungarian said...

Snoopy you don't have the required imagination and stopped at Hamas and Hezbollah. Why not send these fine Jewish boys and girls to ISIS? All of the world would see the clips showing the friendly acceptance of the boys by these fine poor oppressed freedom fighters on Youtube , and the girls would tell their experiences of the core message...
And if anything goo wrong? What is the problem? Beinart wouldn't be there personally...

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Believe you me, I have thought of ISIS but decided to stop at Mussolini... fair is fair. We don't want to cause Peter B. a heartburn, do we now?

Dick Stanley said...

Indeed, it would be evolution in action, draining the shallow end of the gene pool.

SnoopyTheGoon said...


Sennacherib said...

I don't know, perhaps Isis could give these intrepid young people an excellent example of "Direct Action" and what it really means.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

That will be educational, certainly.