Peter Beinart is at his wit’s end defending liberal Zionism.A serious, thoughtful American Jew of Conscience he has written extensively on the failure of the American Jewish establishment woefully out of touch with the rapidly growing disenchantment with Israel.Today in Haaretz Beinart wrote a particularly food column on the the obtuseness of benyamin Netanyahu, the ultimate inciter-in-chief in Israel today.
His column was called The Moral Responsibility That Rivlin Accepts and Netanyahu Denies. Yesterday I praised Rivlin’s perceptive remarks on his countrty’s racism. Today it is Beinart’s turn.
After a Palestinian baby is burned, Netanyahu lies about Israeli incitement – including his own. See yesterday’s post. He asks: Will the Israeli right finally come to its senses?He then quotes Rivlin: “What is it in the public atmosphere which allows extremism and extremists to walk in confidence, in broad daylight?”
In other words, Rivlin acknowledged that he is implicated in Dawabsheh’s death, that in Rabbi Heschel’s famous words, “Few are guilty, but all are responsible.” Netanyahu did almost exactly the opposite. Yes, he called the murders “terrorism.” But in the very next sentence, he boasted that, “The State of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are.” That’s a lie. When Palestinians murdered members of the Jewish Fogel family in 2011, the Israel Defense Forces quarantined the entire city of Nablus and reportedly interrogated every man in the nearby village of Awarta. When Israel caught the murderers, it approved the demolition of their homes. Israel never responds to Jewish terrorism that way.
In the past, in fact, it has barely responded at all. According to the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, Palestinians filed 150 complaints against settlers with the Judea and Samaria (West Bank) police between 2013 and 2014. Only two even resulted in indictments. After that first self-congratulatory lie, Netanyahu soon told another. “What distinguishes us from our neighbors,” he declared, “is that we denounce and condemn murderers in our midst and pursue them until the end, while they name public squares after child murderers.”
Evidently Netanyahu is unfamiliar with David Raziel, a member of the Irgun who in 1938 placed a bomb in Haifa’s Arab market, killing 21 and injuring more than 50. There are streets named for Raziel in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Ramat Hasharon, Tirat Karmel, Tiberias, Ramla, Beersheva, Kefar Sava and Haifa itself. Raziel’s face also adorns an Israeli postage stamp. In the same year Raziel committed his act of terrorism, another Irgun member, Shlomo Ben-Yosef, threw a hand grenade at an Arab bus travelling between Tiberias and Rosh Pina, hoping to make it crash. There are streets named for Ben-Yosef in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bnai Brak, Be’er Yaakov and Ramat Gan.He’s on a postage stamp too. I’m not saying this to excuse Palestinians who celebrate murder. Venerating terrorists who intentionally kill Israelis, as Palestinian leaders too often do, is always wrong.
Promoting hatred of Jews, as Palestinian leaders too often do, is always wrong. But there’s something sickening about Netanyahu applauding his government for not inciting acts of violence when Israelis have just burned a Palestinian baby to death. Not only sickening, but factually wrong. According to a poll of Jewish Israeli teenagers in June, forty-five percent said they would not study in class with an Arab. Forty-eight percent of those who identified as “right-wing” expressed sympathy for “price tag” attacks against Palestinians.