Rubin Reports: Betrayal Glorified – The Bizarre Jewish Movement to Destroy Israel by Pretending to Save It (JEWISH PRESS) By: Barry Rubin 04/01/12)
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I can only laugh at the idea of dilettante Peter Beinart and J Street
as leader of the anti-Israel (oops, I meant save-Israel-from-itself)
movement. After all, imagine people parading as self-defined heroes
while peddling ideas that have absolutely nothing to do with reality.
But behind the stupid ideas is a very poisonous hidden agenda.
We live in an age of intellectual absurdity in which a book by
someone who has no notion of Israeli reality and who is, at best,
decades (I’d say three) out of date is treated as if he could
possibly be of some relevance. Or an organization that has literally
never made a single pro-Israel initiative claims to be the country’s
Contrary to the title of Beinart’s book, there is no crisis of
Zionism, certainly not in the way he and similarly thinking American
Jews believe. The crisis is simply that Israel has become an actually
existing country that is defined by an Israel-Jewish patriotism based
on a historical Zionism. In fact, regarding Israel itself, Zionism
has been so successful that it simply isn’t needed in the same way as
it was in 1947.
Regarding American Jews, the problem is that of the left-wing —
almost always people who consciously know they are on the other side
and their tool of choice on Israel is a sledgehammer — and those
liberals they have fooled, not Zionism. This “new” approach is based
on the debate of the 1970s and 1980s, more specifically the 1974-1992
At that time, there were three points of contention that Beinart and
others try to revive in a totally different world:
Continuation of the occupation endangered Israel’s soul and society
through hubris, brutalization, fanatical religiosity, and ambitious
If Israel didn’t make peace and get rid of the territories as fast as
possible it would be destroyed by…well, it isn’t exactly clear by
whom, since its enemies had failed so continually and were weaker
than they’d been in the past. But this meant that Israel had to rush
to make peace at any price.
There was a wonderful opportunity to achieve a stable, just, and
lasting peace. Merely offer the Palestinians and Arabs a reasonable
settlement—particularly a Palestinian state—and a peace agreement
would quickly follow.
This way of thinking has long since been discredited by the
experiences of the failed peace process and radicalized regional
politics. First, Israel withdrew from large portions of the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip, putting virtually all Palestinians under self-
rule. Later, it pulled out of the Gaza Strip completely. There was no
more “occupation” as there had been in the 1967-1993 period.
Second, we discovered that the Palestinians and Syria weren’t eager
for peace. During the peace process era, the hardline propaganda,
hate, and intransigence continued virtually uninterrupted on the
other side. It became clear that Israel was not threatened by a
refusal to take big risks and make concessions, rather the threat
came from making deadly arrangements out of good intentions or even a
dangerously bad “peace” deal that would leave the country worse off.
Third, most Israelis concluded that they didn’t want most of the
territory captured in 1967. There was an Israeli consensus to keep
much of east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and some small areas of
the West Bank along the border. But in exchange for real peace, they
were ready to give up a lot, something like 100 percent of the Gaza
Strip and 95 plus percent of the West Bank.
The same new thinking applied to accepting a two-state solution. Let
the Palestinians have their state, even let Fatah or the PLO rule it
if they only left us alone and ended the conflict. But that wasn’t
going to happen. There was no intransigence or “Greater Israel”
ambition to poison Israel. The experience and these changes left
Israel with a clear conscience, not the “clear conscience” of those
so distant that these issues were a mere abstraction but that of
people who knew they sometimes made mistakes and had to take tough
decisions to survive.
Fourth, the West generally broke its promises to Israel, showing that
it was not dependable. The understanding was for Israel to make big
concessions and take big risks knowing that if that failed, the West
would acknowledge Israel as the good guys and back it fully. Yet
Israelis saw that the more risks Israel took, concessions it gave,
and casualties it suffered, the more it was slandered and
delegitimized in large parts of the West (including by the very
people who pretend to save it from itself). The supposed winning
formula — pull back, turn over, concede and you will be secure and
happy–didn’t work. The Obama administration fully proved this reality.
Fifth, the 2000-2005 terrorist-based intifada and the radical
response to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza reinforced these
lessons, as did the growing Islamism that openly advocated war,
terrorism, and genocide against Israel.
Sixth, the “Arab Spring” was a last straw, with revolutionary
Islamists seizing power, Turkey changing sides, Iran building a
sphere of influence and going full-speed-ahead on nuclear weapons, as
well as a U.S. leadership on which Israel couldn’t depend. If ever
there was a time for not making concessions and being starry-eyed
over peace, our present day is that time.
The majority of Israelis say: I don’t want the settlements. I want a
two-state solution. But unfortunately I know that the leadership and
majority of Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims want to destroy us, not
to get a Palestinian state. They are getting more radical, due to
their own thinking and social issues. We cannot get any reasonable
deal and any deal that might happen would be used by them as a more
advantageous springboard for continuing the conflict against us.
That is why the Israeli peacenik left collapsed and Benjamin
Netanyahu was elected prime minister. It wasn’t that Israel had moved
to the right but that reality had done so.
Thus, the problem of American liberal Jews is not to save Israel from
reactionary religious extremists and hardline rightists but to come
to terms with the views of the majority of Israelis, the centrists
and those left of center.
Yet these points that shape Israeli thinking, problems, and reality
have almost never been explained in the American mass media or
universities. Many Jews have never heard the above argument but
simply absorbed the anti-Israel message so prevalent in those two
The real story, then, is the crisis of a portion of American Jewry—
often a more publicly visible and powerful portion–who have forgotten
(or never knew) Jewish history. Some of them push the ignorance of
the real Israel and Israeli reality in the universities and media;
others merely believe what they are being told daily. They would go
to a rally about fighting “Islamophobia” but would be horrified by
the idea of going to a rally about fighting revolutionary Islamist
Along the lines of their thinking we would have to rewrite the
Haggadah along these lines:
For we have not merely projected our paranoiac thinking that just one
alone has risen against us to destroy us, but we’ve been so
overwhelmed with irrational fear that we think in every generation
they rise against us to destroy us; even though they are just
standing around doing nothing except occasional texting and
discussing the big game on television last night. But fortunately the
left-wing critics, blessed be They, verbally attack us, help our
enemies, and launch boycotts against us which save us from our own
Another part of their problem with Israel is that it is, in a sense,
too “Jewish” and at odds with their preferred ideology. They want
Israel to be what they want America and Europe to be. Yet instead it
is too religious; too traditional; too much of a nation-state; too
willing to defend itself; and too willing to recognize its enemies
even if they are non-white, non-Western, and non-Christian.
If your definition of proper Jewishness is to be like Berkeley and
Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Israel is not going to make the grade.
On the contrary, Israel seems too much like the South, Midwest, or
non-urban areas where people cling to their guns and religion and
don’t eagerly turn over large portions of their territory to armed
hostile forces that openly proclaim their goal of exterminating them.
I wrote the above paragraph in a style that (hopefully) would be
funny but I think it is absolutely true. By being so “primitive,” it
embarrasses them, like a Harvard professor whose relatives from the
Ozark show up in their pickup truck toting shotguns and going to
Yet beyond all of this there is one more point to be understood that
is of the greatest importance: the program of this ‘sacrifice (I
mean, “save”) Israel for its own good’. That is the very strange
program of calling for a boycott of the settlements.
Boycotting the settlements will not affect the settlements, or
Israel, or the policies of Israel’s Middle Eastern enemies, and it
won’t promote the cause of peace. True, this is an attractive
strategy because it sounds moderate and supportive of “mainstream”
Israel. But that’s only part of it.
No, the main reason is that it will promote the cause of
The goal is to change the narrative. Instead of blaming the
Palestinian leadership’s, Arab regimes’, and revolutionary Islamists’
rejection of Israel’s existence, refusal to make compromises,
glorification of terrorism, demonization of Israel, and even refusal
to negotiate, the fault lies with Israel. They don’t have to change
at all. It’s Israel that has to make more concessions and take even
According to this conception it is Israeli settlements that block
peace. They force the other side to reject a deal, neglecting the
fact that if they had made a deal the territory would have been
handed over to the Palestinians and the settlements dismantled. If
only the settlements went away, we are told, peace would quickly
arrive, rather than understanding that if only the Palestinians made
peace the settlements would go away.
The strategy signals that the way to get peace is to ignore the real
behavior and doctrines of Israel’s enemies and instead to punish
And suppose Israel doesn’t unilaterally dismantle the settlements?
What is this movement’s next step? To boycott the country that won’t
listen to them; to blame it for antisemitism, and to turn one’s face
away from it. This year we are in the land of boycott, sanction, and
divest from the settlements; next year in boycott-Jerusalem land!
Thus, the diagnosis being offered is false and slanderous toward
Israel and the solution being presented is false and dangerous to
Israel. The goal is to get American Jews to adopt the basic anti-
Israel narrative that paints Israel as the villain responsible for
the lack of peace and ultimately delegitimizes Israel’s survival.
Have no illusions. This Trojan Horse movement and its nonsensical
arguments should be exposed. Every North American and European Jew
should at least have the opportunity to hear the truth. (© 2012
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