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U.S. Jews Fighting Wrong Battle

As rockets rain down on Israel, an Atlanta JCC bans Peter Beinart. When did we become so narrow-minded?

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A copy of a book by author Peter Beinart under the chair of an audience member as Beinart speaks at an event in Atlanta, apart from the book fair, on Nov. 14, 2012. (David Goldman/AP)

This has been a frightening and sad week in Israel. First, Hamas unleashed 160 rockets on Israeli towns. Then the IDF responded, and Israeli civilians were ordered—and many remain—in bomb shelters. And as was almost inevitable, some who did not heed the warnings were killed by rocket fire. At this writing, the end is nowhere in sight.

If there can be said to be a silver lining in this horrendous situation, it’s in the broad range of support for the prime minister’s decision to protect his citizens. “Labor, Kadima, Olmert, Livni back government’s air assault on Hamas,” reported the Times of Israel. But it shouldn’t take war for Jews to acknowledge that we’re utterly dependent on each other, no matter how deeply we may disagree.

Far from the fighting, the conversation among American Jews about Israel has become so toxic that it’s often impossible even for people who are allies to listen to each other. Not long ago, I was invited by a major national Jewish organization to give a lecture in the United States. Soon after, the person who’d invited me called me in Jerusalem to tell me that the major sponsors of the event had pulled their support and their funding because I’d signed a letter asking the Prime Minister Netanyahu to ignore a legal report claiming that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not technically an occupation.

“You’re not embarrassed?” I asked her. She couldn’t understand why she should possibly be embarrassed. She explained that her organization believed that the report was important for defending Israel’s international legitimacy. “That’s fine,” I said, “and I think that adopting it would do us great damage. But so what? Doesn’t the fact that we disagree make it all the more critical that we talk to each other? Or have we reached the point where your supporters will listen only to those with whom they agree completely? Your sponsors based their decision to invite me on a record of 15 years of writing and speaking. I do one thing that they don’t approve of, and they pull the plug?”

That’s precisely what they did. I ended up giving the lecture, but the sponsors never restored their support.

They represent, I believe, a scary anti-intellectual trend in the Jewish community. These people believe that an increasingly narrow tent will best protect the state of Israel, and so they continue to move the tent’s pegs. But they are doing just the opposite of bolstering the Jewish state: They weaken Israel and make it more vulnerable because they exclude enormous swaths of the community that we need—particularly on a week like this.

The latest example of this narrowing happened this week in Atlanta, where one of the country’s major Jewish book fairs canceled an appearance by the writer Peter Beinart. “As leaders of our agency, we want the center to always serve as a safe place for honest debate, but we want to balance that against the concerns of our patrons,” said Steven Cadranel, president of the Marcus Jewish Community Center. I have no unique knowledge of what actually transpired, but this has become an old story: Many Jewish organizations have been pushed into such corners by donors who refused to contribute to festivals or organizations who will host people whose views they find reprehensible. Jewish community professionals regularly find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

I disagree with Peter Beinart on more issues than I can count. I was appalled by his oped in the Times calling for a boycott on some Israelis, and I found his most recent book far too accommodating of Israel’s enemies and unfairly critical of Israel. I think he’s completely wrong when he asserts the occupation is the core cause of Israel’s marginality. But his views represent those of a not inconsiderable swath of American Jewry, so I agreed to debate him at Columbia University. Our debate was fun—and far more important, it was civil.

I don’t know how many minds were changed that night; Beinart’s wasn’t, and neither was mine. But we did model for the hundreds of people who were there and the many more who watched the debate online that the Jewish community doesn’t have the luxury of refusing to speak to those who disagree with us. Instead, Peter and I did what the Jews have always done: We engaged the ideas, assumptions, and moral positions of the other, and in the spirit of the brave marketplace of ideas that Judaism has always been, tried to make our most compelling case.

Are there no limits to who’s in the Zionist tent? Of course there are. For me, the litmus tests are Israel’s Jewishness, democracy, and security. Anyone publicly committed to those three—even if I believe that their policy ideas are wrong-minded—is in the tent. There are many Israeli politicians whose ideas I believe are naïve or dangerous. But should I say that they’re not Zionists? That would absurd. For the same reason, Beinart is in my tent.

Speaking with people who agree with me is no challenge. Engaging with those whose views seem to me dangerous is infinitely harder, but far more important. That sort of conversation is perhaps the most critical lesson that we inherit from centuries of Talmudic Judaism. The Talmud is essentially a 20-volume argument, in which even positions that “lost” the battle and were not codified into law are subjected to reverential examination. When Hillel and Shammai debate, Jewish law, or halakhah, almost always follows Hillel. But we still study Shammai with reverence. Even those views not codified, we believe, have insights to share and moral positions worth considering.

The American Jewish community is the most secure diaspora community the Jews have ever known. Economically, socially, politically, culturally—we have made it, and what we say and model is watched by countless others. Yet New York Times readers this week can only conclude that in the midst of that security and comfort, we’ve utterly abandoned the intellectual curiosity that has long been Judaism’s hallmark.

Are we not ashamed to have created a community so shrill that any semblance of that Talmudic curiosity has been banished? Has the People of the Book really become so uninterested in thinking?

***

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julis123 says:

I don’t get it. It’s OK for him to call for boycotting Israel but not OK to supporters of Israel to call for boycotting him? This isn’t some game, he and his ilk strengthen those who are trying to kill Israelis as this is being written.

    While I do not agree with his tactics, he is trying to jump-start a conversation about how to end the occupation. He is not “boycotting Israel” or “trying to kill Israelis,” but rather trying to encourage the non-intransigent to go to Israel proper. I do not think this is a good idea. But why would you not at least debate it and refute it when you have utter confidence in your own ways of bringing about elusive peace? By boycotting him, you have signaled that you have nothing.

      I do question Beinarts motives. He’s an articulate parrot of the left. If “only Israel this, if only Israel that.” There is no there there. All the Palestinians need to do is declare “peace”. Time will do the rest. Why after all the wars and blood, with Israel victorious, must it be them who compromise. Just ONCE, let the Arabs compromise! JUST ONCE!

        Abbas declared peace. Fatah declared peace and the Palestinians of the West Bank declared peace, and they haven’t allowed terror to come out of the West Bank. What has it done for them? Do they have a state? Has Israel ceased building settlements, has it pulled its military out of the West Bank? No, it’s done quite the opposite.

        Abbas has allowed himself to viewed as the pawn of Israel for years and what does he have to show for it? Nothing. Because Netanyahu has no interest in giving him anything. Time will do what exactly, besides for increasing the number of settlements and removing any hope the Palestinians have for self-determination?

          Faival44 says:

          What does Abbas have to show for it? Ummm — How about peace? No dead Arab children? No dead civilians? No interference in their daily lives? Isn’t peace a self-determination? Doesn’t that count?

          Shalom Faival44,

          PUT DOWN THE COMICS & READ THE FACTS:

          TAQIYAH: LYING IN ISLAM

          The “best” type of Taqiyah according to some authorities is Tawriah.
          In Tawriah, a kind of Delphic practice, the speaker makes the “mark”
          believe that they are agreeing with them through ambiguity, whereas in fact they may be saying the opposite. For example, the slogan “Islam is the religion of peace” has an ambiguous meaning, since for Muslims, the peace is to be found only through surrender to Allah.

          The English translation of Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri’s handbook, Reliance of the Traveler, quotes Ghazzali as follows:

          “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish it through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible…, and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory. …One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more
          damaging, one is entitled to lie…

          Therefore, it is possible to excuse lying on almost any ground that is consistent, for example, with obligatory spread of the Muslim faith.

          The practice of Taqiyah raises obvious political issues, in that it appears impossible to trust the word of a Muslim in a treaty if the practice is accepted. It is noteworthy in this regard that authorities consider Taqiyah to be allowed in war and in reconciliation.

          The Ayatollah Sistani, a Shi’a authority in Iraq, is quoted as follows:

          (1) Taqiyah is done for safety reasons. For example, a person
          fears that he might be killed or harmed, if he does not observe Taqiyah. In this case, it is obligatory to observe Taqiyah.

          (2) Reconciliatory Taqiyah. This type of Taqiyah is done when a person intends to reconcile with the other side or when he intends to soften their hearts. This kind of Taqiyah is permissible but not obligatory.

          (3)
          Sometimes, Taqiyah may cause a more important obligation to be lost or missed, if so it is forbidden. For example, when I know that silence would cause oppression and infidelity to spread and will make people go astray, in such a situation it is not permissible to be silent and to dissimulate.

          (4)
          Sometimes, Taqiyah may lead to the death of an innocent person. If so, it is not permissible. It is therefore haram (forbidden) to kill another person to save your own life.

          TAWRIYAH

          Tawriyah (Arabic) in Islam is supposedly the best form of Taqiyah. Taqiyah is the religiously sanctioned practice of deception, originally allowed to save one’s life from religious persecution, and later extended as an obligatory or permitted practice to war and other situations.

          Tawriyah is the formulation of Delphic, ambiguous statements that make the person to be deceived believe you are agreeing with them, when in fact you are not.

          fred capio says:

          you should pay more attention to the package of unrealistic pre-conditions the Palestinians bring along every time there is an attempt to negotiate. And they are playing this game now for 40 years with the only purpose to manipulate public/international opinion.

          Shalom fred,

          THEY WANT ALL JEWS DEAD!

          OK?

          LtcHoward says:

          Demand the PA

          1 Explicitly recognize Israel as Jewish state

          2. Explicitly renounce the absolute & nonnegotiable demand for “right of return of all refugees & their descendants {self identified} to the pre-67 boundaries of “Palestine”)

          Urge that Palestinians living in the camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, etc. be offered citizenship in their resident countries Also offer them the option of citizenship in a West Bank Palestinian state. ( PA position is that “refugees” in the camps, even on the West Bank will not be offered citizenship in a new Palestinian state)

          3. Abandon the demand that West Bank, East Jerusalem, and any other Palestinian territory be jew-free

          Shalom Rand,

          I will tell you what will happen to Israelis, if they listen to CLOWNS like you – South Africa TODAY!

          There is a GENOCIDE of Whites by BLACKS & NO ONE is telling the world about it!

          Stop the BS.

          ALL Israelis should study what is going on in South Africa TODAY, because that is the scenario they will have to live with in the future, IF they don’t get it right.

          Muhammad HATED Jews!

          Islam teaches HATE towards the Jews!

          The Quran is the Muslims Mein Kampf, for dealing with Jews.

          Muslims teach that the Quran is written in Heaven & CANNOT be changed!

          I KNOW WHAT I WOULD DO WITH SUCH PEOPLE, IF THEY WERE IN MY BACKYARD!

        avrumeleh says:

        Abbas has done what he did…sincerely or otherwise and for personal gain or otherwise…but, to ask the rhetorical question directly…So what? Pull out of the West Bank? That’s precisely what Israel did in Gaza only to have it turn into one huge launching pad for Iranian missles aimed at Israeli civilians. The Death-to-Israel psychology that has been nurtured and fostered relentlessly in the Palestinian mindset since the founding of the modern State of Israel has made whatever the collective “Palestinian People” are, so incoherent and so comprehensibly unreliable that whatever positive signs might come from it can not even any longer be relied upon as positive signs and amount to nothing. Until the Palestinians face reality and embrace decency as a national culture…which they collectively have not yet done…they can not be a nation. It has become thoroughly pointless to “reward” or even negotialte with Abbas and his cynical Fatah with talk of a “Palestinian State” so long as Abbas and his cadre are so weak as to be unable to nullify Hamas and that festering disease remains in the equation. Sadly, there is no chance of that given today’s reality. So Israel should, indeed, refuse to agree to a Palestinian State and Israel should continue to build settlements because life must go on if the Palestinians chose…as they have…to be present an unaccetable option to Israel with no real signs of change that makes a difference.

          Shalom avrumeleh,

          THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SINCERE MUSLIM, WHEN HE IS DEALING WITH NON MUSLIMS!

          TAWRIYAH

          Tawriyah (Arabic) in Islam is supposedly the best form of Taqiyah. Taqiyah is the religiously sanctioned practice of deception, originally allowed to save one’s life from religious persecution, and later extended as an obligatory or permitted practice to war and other situations.

          Tawriyah is the formulation of Delphic, ambiguous statements that make the person to be deceived believe you are agreeing with them, when in fact you are not.

        Shalom Ethan,

        The PEACE of Islam is either the GRAVE or SUBJUGATION!

        There can NEVER be PEACE with PSYCHOPATHIC Muslims.

        You are NOT dealing with SANE people!

        They are NEANDERTHAL in their thinking & in their dealings with non Muslims.

        Either a LOBOTOMY is done to ALL Palestinians or they REJECT their Religion of Hate.

        That is the ONLY way you will EVER have TRUE peace in Israel.

      Natan79 says:

      He wants to boycott Israel. As an Israeli citizen, whoever wants the boycott of my people should be boycotted. Peter Beinart, Tony Kushner, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Judith Butler – to those who want to boycott us, only boycott should be given back.

      Pam Green says:

      Jump-start a conversation about how to end the occupation? Your use of the word “occupation” speaks volumes about your bias. And who needs Beinart to ‘jump-start’ anything? Such futile conversations are ongoing, thanks to hypocrites like him and you, who act as if Israel’s enemies are reasonable. You are utterly disingenuous when you say, “why not at least debate it and refute it”? Israel’s defenders have done so already, time and time again. Bigots like you simply ignore that fact, and make preposterous, grandiose claims like “you have signaled that you have nothing”. No, you have signaled that you have nothing but lies and a credulous audience.

        Babaoz says:

        Hi Pam, just curious about terminology, what would you call the IDF presence in the judea, if not occupation ?

          Pam Green says:

          Don’t pretend to be reasonable. I’ve read your other comments, so I know that you’re a diehard supporter of terrorism. For instance, you wrote recently that Gaza under Hamas is “progressive” and has recognized the State of Israel’s right to exist!

          Rebecca says:

          Then I would like an answer to the question. What is it if not an occupation?

          Pam Green says:

          And why would I be more likely to respond to a terrorist-supporting troll calling itself ‘Rebecca’ than I would the terrorist-supporter Babaoz? I wouldn’t! I’ve read the disgusting anti-Semitic garbage you’ve posted, ‘Rebecca’.

          Rebecca says:

          Wow! Fascinating dialogue… Your arguments are just so convincing.

          Can we agree that Judea is located in the West Bank? Can we agree that Gaza and the West Bank for decades have been called the occupied territories? Can you add 2 and 2 and get to 4 now or do you need a calculator?

          Pam Green says:

          Your persona is just so convincing! Wow! Didn’t you read my earlier statement? I’m not interested in dialoguing with you, ‘Rebecca’.

          Rebecca says:

          Apparently you’re not interested in any kind of dialogue. Sad that you can’t even answer a simple question, but blaming it on the persons asking it, is just down right sad.

          Have a nice and unenlightened life.

          Pam Green says:

          So, you think that a person who doesn’t want a dialogue WITH YOU is going to have an unenlightened life? I suppose you must justify this egotism to yourself somehow but, as I see it, a person of even average intelligence and common sense would know to stay as far away from you as possible. And I see from this very thread that you have wisely been ignored by other Tablet readers to whom you posed similar questions. So, do stop stalking me, you bigot. You paid propagandist. You defender of terrorists.

          Rebecca says:

          Where did I write such a thing? You are making up your own truth…

          I wrote that you aparently weren’t interested in dialogue when you refuse to answer questions and when only talking to one self and those who agree it is hard to get enlightened. It has nothing to do with my person.

          And then you just go on and on with your slander. If you were interested in enlightenment and any kind of dialogue you sure have a funny way of showing it.

          Pam Green says:

          Five days ago, you wrote to me, “Can you add 2 and 2 and get to 4 now or do you need a calculator?” You sure have a funny way of showing how enlightened you are.

          Rebecca says:

          Yes, dear, indeed I did.

          And that doesn’t sound very nice, when taken out of context, but as a response to your very civlized (*cough*) comment, it’s actually not that bad.

          I asked you one very simple question, quote:

          “What is it if not an occupation?”

          and your answer was, quote:

          “And why would I be more likely to respond to a terrorist-supporting
          troll calling itself ‘Rebecca’ than I would the terrorist-supporter
          Babaoz? I wouldn’t! I’ve read the disgusting anti-Semitic garbage
          you’ve posted, ‘Rebecca’.”

          A question you btw still haven’t answered.

          Pam Green says:

          FOR THE BENEFIT OF OTHER TABLET READERS: If any of you are tempted to think ‘Rebecca’ makes sense, or that I am not answering her because I have no answer (which she would like you to think), just go read her comments to the Tablet article on the Czechs: http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/118112/on-why-the-czechs-voted-with-israel. You will be sickened by the anti-Semitic gang-bang she participates in. IF WORDS COULD RAPE, and yes they can, Rebecca is guilty of that crime. She, and a bunch of other non-Jewish thugs, essentially mug and rape a Holocaust survivor on the pages of Tablet. And Tablet stands by while its most vulnerable and knowledgeable readers are accosted by these trolls. Disgusting.

          Rebecca says:

          OMFG! ARE YOU KIDDING ME, LADY?!

          Why don’t you just answer my question in stead of throwing more slander?

          And I’m not anti-semitic, I had family killed in Auschwitz!

          I don’t participate in any gang bang, rape or mugging and your attempt to throw off the discussion with your ridiculous and selfrighteous ramblings is just pathetic. Just answer my freakin’ question!

          THERE CAN BE NO VOICE OF RATIONAL REASON WHEN YOU ARE DEALING WITH NEANDERTHAL “THINKING” THUGS!

          MUHAMMAD WAS A MURDERING, RAPING, CHILD MOLESTING THUG, WHO HAD NO RESPECT FOR ANYONE WHO DIDN’T AGREE WITH HIM!

          HIS FOLLOWERS, MOHAMMEDANS, HAVE THE SAME MINDSET.

          EVERY NON MUSLIM SHOULD BE BEHIND ISRAEL!

          MOHAMMEDANS ARE THE ENEMIES OF EVERYONE WHO WANTS TO BE FREE TO WORSHIP GOD, IN THEIR OWN WAY & NOT LIVE IN FEAR!

      Finally a voice of rational reason!

    We must never use as a justification, “well they do it”. Because they are small minded cowards, we must not emmulate them. We are better than that.

      fred capio says:

      this is political romanticism, useless poetry, it will not save the life of one Jew.

      Natan79 says:

      You should treat people well when they treat you well. But those who want you destroyed, you should make sure they get destroyed. If you are nice with those who want you dead, the only results are that they will kill you faster AND that they can go on to the next Jew. THAT is exactly what your position: not only tolerating destroyers, but helping them.

        There may be reasons they want you dead that you could change! Stand on my head long enough and I’ll hate you too. Prevent my children from having hope for a good life and I’ll want to kill you too. Allow me and my family to live in peace and I won’t hate you. I won’t even think about you because I’ll be too busy living life.

          Natan79 says:

          Excellent points. Bomb another bus with Jews and I’ll come after you. Wherever you are.

          Shalom Tim Welsh,

          Put down Harry Potter & pick up the Quran!

          61% of that Manual of Death teaches DEATH & DESTRUCTION to JEW, CHRISTIAN & OTHER NON MUSLIMS.

          Muslims will ALWAYS want to DOMINATE or KILL the non Muslim.

          TAWRIYAH

          Tawriyah (Arabic) in Islam is supposedly the best form of Taqiyah. Taqiyah is the religiously sanctioned practice of deception, originally allowed to save one’s life from religious persecution, and later extended as an obligatory or permitted practice to war and other situations.

          Tawriyah is the formulation of Delphic, ambiguous statements that make the person to be deceived believe you are agreeing with them, when in fact you are not.

        Shalom Natan79,

        The problem is ISLAM!

        Many get sidelined about this & that, but this problem has its roots in Arabia & its descendants of Islam & they continue to do what Muhammad did to Jews & Christians 1400 years ago.

        I think its time some Jewish film producer made a film about the Massacre of Jews by Muhammad & show that Islam teaches in its mosques, worldwide:

        “The Day of Resurrection will not arrive until the Moslems make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: ‘Oh Moslem, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!'” (Sahih Bukhari 004.52.176)

        And here are some more teachings:

        “They say, ‘Accept the Jewish or the Christian faith and you shall be rightly guided.’ Say, ‘By no means! We believe in the faith of Abraham, the upright one. He was no idolater.'”

        (Surah 2:135)”The only true faith in God’s sight is Islam.”

        (Surah 3:19)”Say, ‘Obey Allah and the apostle.’ If they give no heed, then truly, Allah does not love the unbelievers.”

        (Surah 3:29)”If you fear that you cannot treat orphans with fairness, then you may marry other women that seem good to you: two, three or four of them.”

        (Surah 4:1)”Try as you may, you cannot treat all your wives impartially.”

        (Surah 4:3)”Men take authority over women… As for those who are disobedient, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them.”

        (Surah 4:34)”Believers, do not approach your prayers when you are drunk, but wait till you can grasp the meaning of your words…”

        (Surah 4:43)”Will they not ponder on the Koran? if it had not come from God, they could have surely found in it many contradictions.”

        (Surah 4:82)”Seek out your enemies relentlessly.”

        (Surah 4:104)”They denied the truth and uttered a monstrous falsehood against Mary. they declared: ‘We have put to death the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the apostle of God.’ they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did…they did not slay him for certain. God lifted him up to him…”

        (Surah 4:157-158)”The Jews and Christians say: ‘We are the children of God and His loved ones.’ Say: ‘Why then does He punish you for your sins?”

        (Surah 5:18)”Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.”

        (Surah 5:51)”Unbelievers are those who say: ‘God is one of three.’ There is but one God. If they do not desist from so saying, those of them that disbelieve shall be sternly punished.”

        (Surah 5:73)”The God will say: ‘Jesus, son of Mary, did you ever say to mankind ‘Worship me and my mother as gods besides God?’ ‘Glory to You, ‘he will answer, ‘how could I ever say that to which I have no right?”

        (Surah 5:116)”If you fear treachery from any of your allies, you may fairly retaliate by breaking off your treaty with them.”

        (Surah 9:12)”Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]…until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.”

        (Surah 9:29)”The Christians say: The Christ is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them.”

        (Sura 9:30)”Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home.”

        (Surah 9:73)”And say: All praise is due to Allah, WHO HAS NOT TAKEN A SON and WHO HAS NOT A PARTNER in the kingdom.”

        (Sura 17.111)”‘How shall I bear a child,’ she [Mary] answered, ‘when I am a virgin…?’ ‘Such is the will of the Lord,’ he replied. ‘That is no difficult thing for Him…God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!…Those who say: ‘The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,’ preach a monstrous falsehood…”

        (Surah 19:20-21, 29, 88-89)”NEVER DID ALLAH TAKE TO HIMSELF A SON, and never was there with him any (other) god . . .”

        (Sura 23:91)”Muhammad is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.” (Surah 48:29)

        TAQIYAH: LYING IN ISLAM

        The “best” type of Taqiyah according to some authorities is Tawriah.
        In Tawriah, a kind of Delphic practice, the speaker makes the “mark”
        believe that they are agreeing with them through ambiguity, whereas in fact they may be saying the opposite. For example, the slogan “Islam is the religion of peace” has an ambiguous meaning, since for Muslims, the peace is to be found only through surrender to Allah.

        The English translation of Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri’s handbook, Reliance of the Traveler, quotes Ghazzali as follows:

        “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish it through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible…, and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory. …One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more damaging, one is entitled to lie…

        Therefore, it is possible to excuse lying on almost any ground that is consistent, for example, with obligatory spread of the Muslim faith.

        The practice of Taqiyah raises obvious political issues, in that it appears impossible to trust the word of a Muslim in a treaty if the practice is accepted. It is noteworthy in this regard that authorities consider Taqiyah to be allowed in war and in reconciliation.

        The Ayatollah Sistani, a Shi’a authority in Iraq, is quoted as follows:

        (1) Taqiyah is done for safety reasons. For example, a person fears that he might be killed or harmed, if he does not observe Taqiyah. In this case, it is obligatory to observe Taqiyah.

        (2)
        Reconciliatory Taqiyah. This type of Taqiyah is done when a person intends to reconcile with the other side or when he intends to soften their hearts. This kind of Taqiyah is permissible but not obligatory.

        (3) Sometimes, Taqiyah may cause a more important obligation to be lost or missed, if so it is forbidden. For example, when I know that silence would cause oppression and infidelity to spread and will make people go astray, in such a situation it is not permissible to be silent and to dissimulate.

        (4) Sometimes, Taqiyah may lead to the death of an innocent person. If so, it is not permissible. It is therefore haram (forbidden) to kill another person to save your own life.

        TAWRIYAH

        Tawriyah (Arabic) in Islam is supposedly the best form of Taqiyah. Taqiyah is the religiously sanctioned practice of deception, originally allowed to save one’s life from religious persecution, and later extended as an obligatory or permitted practice to war and other situations.

        Tawriyah is the formulation of Delphic, ambiguous statements that make the person to be deceived believe you are agreeing with them, when in fact you are not.

        A Muslim fable relates of a believer (follower of Moses) a cousin of Pharoah who was brought to trial by enemies:

        Pharaoh was naturally furious, and asked
        his cousin to explain it. The court was full. “The believer from the
        family of Pharaoh” asked them:

        The Believer: Tell me who is your Lord?

        Courtiers: Pharaoh.

        The Believer: Who is your Creator?

        Courtiers: Pharaoh.

        The Believer: Who is your sustainer, who guarantees your livelihood and removes your troubles?

        Courtiers: Pharaoh.

        Then the Believer declared: “O King! I keep you and all these present as my witness that their Lord is my Lord, and their Sustainer is my Sustainer; and the One , who looks after their lives and
        livelihood is the One who looks after my life and livelihood. I have no Lord or Creator except their Lord, Creator and Sustainer…”

        Pharaoh’s anxiety vanished and the backbiters were severely tortured and put to death.(Source: at-Tabrasi, al-Ihtijaj,.
        Beirut, 1403/1983, vol. 2, pp. 3711‑371.)

        It is noteworthy that the lie caused dissension in the ranks of the enemy.

        ISRAEL HAS A TREACHEROUS ENEMY TO CONTEND WITH & THERE SHOULD BE NO HALF MEASURES IN DEALING WITH HIM.

      Yisrael Medad says:

      Ethan, who said “nice guys finish last”?

    judahdan says:

    I hope you do not mean Daniel Gordis. He never called for a boycott of Israel-

      StanleyT says:

      Follow the thread. Beinart has called for a boycott of parts of Israel.

        Yeah, the occupied parts…the ones occupied by bullying Uzi toting settlers…do you live in a bubble by any chance?

          StanleyT says:

          And when last did you visit Judea and Samaria? Do you know any “settlers”, let alone “Uzi-toting” ones? And exactly how can they be “occupying” land that belongs to the Jewish people under international law? (Google Dr. Jacques Gauthier before you respond to this.)

          Hershl says:

          Yevka is a troll who has nothing better to do with its life than post anti-Israel comments here.Ignore it like you would a pesky fly.

          StanleyT says:

          Thanks Hershl, I will take your advice.

          Rebecca says:

          Isn’t Samaria and Judea on the West Bank? Isn’t the West Bank Palestinian territory? Aren’t you an ignorant… (I’ve googled it for you: http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/israel.pdf )

          WILL SOMEONE BUY A TICKET FOR REBECCA, ONE WAY, TO IRAN OR PAKISTAN?

          I MUST AGREE WITH MUHAMMAD ON THIS ISSUE OF WOMEN – THEY ARE STUPID & HELL IS FULL OF THEM!

          ESPECIALLY WESTERN WOMEN WHO CONVERT TO MOHAMMEDANISM!

“.. far too accommodating of Israel’s enemies ..”? What level of accomodating Israel’s enemiesis not too far? This phrase undescrores the mushiness of the author’s thinking and failure to recognize that Beinart, whatever his intentions, has become like Tony Kushner and Michael Chabon, an enemy of Israel.

Poupic says:

Yuck!

    Atlantan says:

    Why do you all get to debate this here? But we can’t debate it in Atlanta, where I live, where I pay to belong to the MJCCA?

    Why do some supporters of OUR Jewish community center get more consideration than others in this argument? Because, obviously– they donate more money. Does this mean I am less of a member because I’m not as deep-pocketed? Does this translate to the lessons OUR Jewish community center is teaching my child? Will they teach her that some Jews are better than others? Or some people are better than others?

    You can all debate this all you want here on the pages of a website, far from my city, far from my home, far from my community. But here, in Atlanta, it’s not okay to have the discussion.

    This is simply a form of censorship, plain and simple, in a country that preaches freedom of ideas and thinking. Shall we burn Beinart’s book next? Or someone else who has a differing opinion?

    Nobody should be proud of what Steve Cadranel and Gail Luxenberg has done and if you lived here where it happened, you’d realize that.

      Poupic says:

      Should we burn the book of sone Israel Beinart? No, of course not. Why even mention the name os this piece of shit in public? Israel has more than enough enemies as it is.

      fred capio says:

      you ask if some people are better than others? yes, of course, some people are better than others!!!

fred capio says:

not every idiot must be given a voice (or a venue) especially not to those who are “accommodating the enemy”, and that includes you too…

    Why do venues exist? For people like you, who have no interest in taking in knowledge, who see the world in black and white and think they can perfectly distinguish the black from the white?

    I’m glad Tablet is giving Gordis a platform rather than yourself. There enough people saying “Jew – good, Arab – bad” out there. We need intelligence and new thoughts. We need ideas. Beinart is a man with ideas, who truly has a vision for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as few do (barring the genocidal). Gordis has some ideas, though not in my opinion as well thought out as Beinart’s. What do you have?

      Poupic says:

      There are so many idiots who have an idea how to solve the what did you call it? “The Palestinian/ Israeli conflict.“ Right in those four words there is an explanation that you and all those idiots with a solution have not a single inkling of the realities Israel is in. The truth is so simple. Arabs do not want The Jewish state to exist and would like to kill all the Jews. You do not believe me? OK read the PLO and Hamas Charters. This is clearly the reason for their existence. As for the Palestinians. A nation invented in the 60’s in order to destroy Israel. Until then they were simply called The Arab refugees. In fact a whole UN agency exist specifically for them it is called UNWRA. If ever the Arabs accept the existence of the Jewish state there will be peace. Until then Israel must remain strong to defend itself as it is doing right now. Tablet is such a piece of garbage! Why waste a minute reading it?

      neils60 says:

      Rand, Just because an, at best, average researcher/writer, with classic “beautiful people” credentials, has some “ideas” and a “vision”, it doesn’t mean that those ideas and vision are credible. What I don’t understand is why every Jewish “moonbat”, and some very important members of the Obama administration, treat him as a rock star? What’s his appeal?
      The same question for others like Chomsky, Kushner, Butler, Finklestein, etc.? What’s the left’s automatic requisite appeal for any of them?

        Pam Green says:

        I so agree with you! As for ‘why’, my guess is that the ‘Left’ is being funded by the Islamists. Pro-Islamist propaganda is very big business. It would be great if the financial records of intellectuals and journalists were subpoenaed. I bet that would solve the mystery.

      Pam Green says:

      To the contrary, there are not enough people saying Jew-good, Arab-bad. Far from it. And we can thank Beinart and his ilk for that. Beinart casts Israel in the same light as apartheid South Africa, and would like nothing more than for the international community to step in and rule. He is no better than the internet trolls on the payrolls of Islamist terrorists, posting anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist filth on liberal websites. The Jewish community should be suing him for slander, not paying him to speak.

      StanleyT says:

      And what are Beinart’s ideas? Simply give up? Unilaterally, because the Palestinians refuse to talk? Hey, we tried that in Gaza, and you can see the result right now, being enacted on every news broadcast and in the lives of every Israeli.

      What really gets me is that people like Beinart claim to know better than Israelis WHO LIVE THERE!!!!! What gives him the right to make decisions for the people who live in the shadow of rockets, and then to trumpet those decisions to the world?

      Perhaps the another question you should be asking yourself. In 1993, there was a huge “peace camp” in Israel. In 2005, there was large (although not majority) support for the withdrawal from Gaza. The peace camp in Israel is now all but dead, and I challenge you to find me one Israeli who believes now that the withdrawal was a good idea.

      Why does Beinart have the right to spout his murderous ideas? What gives him the right to call for solutions that have proved deadly to his fellow Jews? What makes him better than the average Israeli?

        What makes him “better” than the average Israeli “who lives there” is that he is far more knowledgeable than them, and has better ideas. Beinart would like to see settlement expansion stop, and an increased push for negotiation with the PA. Why? Because for the last few years, Mahmoud Abbas has been doing everything we asked of him and what does he have to show for it? Nothing. Only more settlements, and less hope of their being a Palestine with every day.

        Why wouldn’t Hamas be empowered? They can look at Fatah, which has done everything Israel wanted and they get nothing. And the day will come when Abbas and Fatah are murdered as traitors, for doing nothing and letting Israel take over the West Bank. And then we’ll have Hamas their as well.

        Now, imagine we had responded to Abbas actions, that we had ceased the settlement enterprise, that we’d given the Palestinians in the West Bank recognition, maybe even cut a deal with them? How would the poor people of Hamastan feel, looking at the thriving Palestine mere miles away. Pretty jealous, and pretty disgusted with their terrorist rulers.

        But instead it’s the opposite. Abbas, sitting quietly gets nothing. You know what the greatest success for the Palestinians was in recent years? The Mavi Mamara, the terrorist-sponsored flotilla, that brought enough pressure on to Israel, that it lifted most of the draconian blockade on Gaza. Terrorism: 1, Peace: 0.

        And you wonder why people support Hamas.

Beinart makes me sick in his naivety. His recent newsweek column was very close to Kushner et al. But excluding him from that festival was an embarrassment. It drummed up more anti-Israel press than any speech or book he could write. and predictably so. As usual Danny, you are right on the money. There is a line… Beinart may be close to it for those of us with views such as yours.. but he isn’t over it.

As much as I despise Beinart, we should never stoop to “their” (the lefts) tactic of banning speech. I have always believed the truth is on “our” (Jews/Israel) side. Let’s never be affraid of debate.

    StanleyT says:

    I agree, and nobody is calling for his books to be banned. However, that does not mean he must be given a venue to spread his garbage wherever he pleases.

Discussion about the future if Israel has always been controversial. However, as Jews, we remain like the story of the four Rabbis who were asked to give an opinion on a given topic. When they were done, they delivered five opinions.
When we, as Jews, stop talking between ourselves, our enemies win. Yes, I support Israel. Yes, there are some things I don’t agree with that the Government has done. But at the end of the day, the history of Israel remains clear: Every time Israel has offered a cease fire/peace settlement/whatever, the radical Arabists, who cannot accept the presence of Israel, attack. Just remember, today Israel offered a three hour cease fire for the visit of the Egyptian leader. Hamas responded by launching rockets and hitting Tel Aviv at the beginning of the three hour hold.

    fred capio says:

    When we, as Jews, talk between ourselves, our enemies will NOT win. When we, as Jews, continue talking in public, our enemies WILL win.

    genelevit says:

    Calling for a boycott and “expressing” opinion are not the same things – are they?

    Shalom Carl,

    IT NEEDS TO BE REPEATED AGAIN & AGAIN:

    TAQIYAH: LYING IN ISLAM

    The “best” type of Taqiyah according to some authorities is Tawriah.
    In Tawriah, a kind of Delphic practice, the speaker makes the “mark”
    believe that they are agreeing with them through ambiguity, whereas in fact they may be saying the opposite. For example, the slogan “Islam is the religion of peace” has an ambiguous meaning, since for Muslims, the peace is to be found only through surrender to Allah.

    The English translation of Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri’s handbook, Reliance of the Traveler, quotes Ghazzali as follows:

    “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish it through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible…, and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory. …One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more
    damaging, one is entitled to lie…

    Therefore, it is possible to excuse lying on almost any ground that is consistent, for example, with obligatory spread of the Muslim faith.

    The practice of Taqiyah raises obvious political issues, in that it appears impossible to trust the word of a Muslim in a treaty if the practice is accepted. It is noteworthy in this regard that authorities consider Taqiyah to be allowed in war and in reconciliation.

    The Ayatollah Sistani, a Shi’a authority in Iraq, is quoted as follows:

    (1) Taqiyah is done for safety reasons. For example, a person fears that he might be killed or harmed, if he does not observe Taqiyah. In this case, it is obligatory to observe Taqiyah.

    (2) Reconciliatory Taqiyah. This type of Taqiyah is done when a person intends to reconcile with the other side or when he intends to soften their hearts. This kind of Taqiyah is permissible but not obligatory.

    (3)
    Sometimes, Taqiyah may cause a more important obligation to be lost or missed, if so it is forbidden. For example, when I know that silence would cause oppression and infidelity to spread and will make people go astray, in such a situation it is not permissible to be silent and to dissimulate.

    (4)
    Sometimes, Taqiyah may lead to the death of an innocent person. If so, it is not permissible. It is therefore haram (forbidden) to kill another person to save your own life.

    TAWRIYAH

    Tawriyah (Arabic) in Islam is supposedly the best form of Taqiyah. Taqiyah is the religiously sanctioned practice of deception, originally allowed to save one’s life from religious persecution, and later extended as an obligatory or permitted practice to war and other situations.

    Tawriyah is the formulation of Delphic, ambiguous statements that make the person to be deceived believe you are agreeing with them, when in fact you are not.

bartmartin says:

But the bottom lin..,even if the “occupation” was ended,there would still be millions of Arabs and Muslims that would want the destruction of Israel proper that was recognized in 1948 as the Jewish homeland for the Jews that want to live there.The Arabs rejected partition and set out for a one state solution with Israel destroyed and I suppose all the Jews there killed. Has that position of the Arabs and Muslims significantly changed ? .Doesn´t seem so!.Egypt made peace with Israel and Sadat was murdered.And now with the Muslim Brotherhood!….Jordan too is having problems with rising Islamic terrorist groups that could even shake the monarchy.Israel must defend itself and all Jews must realize we are all in the same boat. I think the settlements ,the lines of a Palestine state and the status of so called “East Jerusalem” can be resolved. .BUT Israel can´t roll over and play dead with the genocidal nazis and mostly Muslim terrorists who want to finish off Israel and another final solution .at least for all Israeli Jews and very probably all Jews in the world…If U.S Jews and others don´t recognize this, they are living in a denial fantasy world .After Hitler,no Jew can afford that luxury…..

I agree the polarization is problematic but would go even farther and say we need to engage in a real way with the views of those Jews who do not consider themselves Zionists.

People
(who haven’t been there) are generally more likely to support the
Palestinians…that is for several reasons….one is, they spend a lot of time
on their pr spin machine. While allegedly dead PA toddlers are carried on
stretchers, fall off, climb back up for their funerals, Israelis are too busy
for “nice PR World Spin” fighting for its very survival.

The other reason is the whole Palestinian early spin was created by Yassir Arafat’s
uncle was the Grand Mufti; also a close associate of Hitler who was also a
close associate of Joseph Goebbels. The current Palestinians have broadcast and
print Goebbels-style PR since their beginning with Arafat. It’s evil but
it does prove just how effective it is. Even though Hamas is backed and
supported by Iran, the former Iraq. Syria, Al Qaeda, etc.

A plethora of Americans and/or the rest
of the world still look at them as the saintly victims no matter what. No
matter that its in their charter to push Israel into the sea, no matter that
they only aim their rockets at Israeli civilians, not the IDF, no matter that
they build their own bases behind (and in) nursing homes and kindergartend and
have learned to fire rockets from windows and know Israel will not fire back
(from Israel) but HAVE to invade to find the actual terrorists to do minimal
civilian damage (making Israel look like the bad guys).

Which brings us back to Hitler, Goebbels and
The Grand Mufti who started this whole Palestinian thing vs Israel. I think if
more westerners understood whose “Truth” into which they were/are
buying, they might think twice.

    Shalom LT,

    The final decades of the 20th century witnessed another Holocaust – an
    Islamic one, in which millions have been and continue to be shot,
    decapitated and stoned to death; in which people have been slaughtered
    and displaced by Islamic states, political Islamic movements and
    Islamic terrorists in Iran, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt,
    Nigeria, Central Asia, and now in America. The robe, turban and Quran
    continue to victimize people. Any voice of dissent or freedom has been
    silenced on the spot. The oppression maintained by Islamic movements
    primarily takes the form of opposition to the freedom of women, by
    crushing women’s civil liberties, by curtailing freedom of expression
    in the cultural and personal domains, by enforcing brutal laws and
    traditions, and by the mass killing of people from young children to
    the elderly.

    Essentially, Islam is a set of beliefs and rules that militate against human
    prosperity, happiness, welfare, freedom, equality and knowledge. Islam
    and a full human life are contradictory concepts, opposed to each
    other. Islam under any kind of interpretation is and always has been a
    strong force against secularism, modernism, egalitarianism and women’s
    rights. Political Islam, however, is a political movement that has come
    to the fore against secular and progressive movements for liberation,
    and against cultural and intellectual advances. Violence and disregard
    for human dignity are inherent in the manifestos of political Islamic
    groups.

Every jerk, even a self-serving narcissist like Beinart, is entitled to his own opinion regardless of how stupid and offensive it is. That’s the ‘American’ credo. But, there is no obligation, even in a politically correct environment, to provide a hostile jerk with a platform to disseminate his misinformation and distortions. If Beinart wants to vent his bile, so be it, but let him do it without the support of the Jewish Community.

    fred capio says:

    I would give you 20 approval points if I could!!!

    brynababy says:

    I absolutely agree and I am an American liberal!

    Papa493 says:

    “Narcissist” seems to be the new favorite term of denunciation among rightists. It was used countless times against Obama in wingnut blogs. Lots of good it did them; lots of good it will do them going forward.

    StanleyT says:

    The best response to this article of all. Well said!

Jeffrey Sheff says:

The moral of this story is not that wealthy donors should be persuaded to support speakers whose views they detest, but that Jewish organizations should be prepared to host such speakers, if their views are intelligent, and that speakers, if they believe that their views are important enough to disseminate, should find other sources of financing, or even speak without remuneration.

Pam Green says:

Is this not the second article about Beinart that Tablet has published in the past week? I question the motives of Tablet’s editors. Why are they providing Beinart with more free publicity? Why are they dignifying his attitudes and painting him as a victim? Tablet pretends to be neutral, but it is clearly supporting the most anti-Israel elements of the American Jewish community.

it’s good to hear a voice of sanity in the midst of so much fear, ignorance– intended or not. Thanks for the article

First, Beinart is a proponent of boycotting Israel. And frankly a spoiled brat who never had a tough day in his life. Secondly, I like Gordis, heard him talk one time. But we, the Jewish people, are really in trouble, both in Israel and the United States with Obama back in. Beinart is totally insignificant right now, totally.

First, Beinart is a proponent of boycotting Israel. And frankly a spoiled brat who never had a tough day in his life. Secondly, I like Gordis, heard him talk one time. But we, the Jewish people, are really in trouble, both in Israel and the United States with Obama back in. Beinart is totally insignificant right now, totally.

And as Rockets rain down on Israel… now is not the time to divert attention to marginal internecine bickering amongst the Jewish intellectual elite. My goodness.

PhillipNagle says:

I was written off as a Jew over 45 years by the Reform movement. They deemed any Jew going into the US armed forces was unworthy of their ministrations. The Orthodox movement view was that young Jewish men going off to war needed chaplains and offered to fill as many Jewish chaplain spots as were available. I bring this up because it is the Reform and left wing Jews such Mr. Gordis who are constantly complaining about exclusion, but when they don’t like how things are they are very quick to exclude.

    AriShavit says:

    Nonsense. The Reform Jews have never had a problem with military service.

    I think they didn’t like you around because you make stuff up.

      PhillipNagle says:

      You’re an ignoramus. Before you question what other people at least make some effort to verify the nonsense you spout. It is a fact that Reform movement refused to send chaplains to the US armed forces during the Viet Nam war.

        AriShavit says:

        how long was the vietnam war?

        Hershl says:

        Actually, PN, as Ari Shavit points out, you have not done your homework. The Reform movement has a long history of ordaining chaplains.But you are so filled with hate that you wouldn’t be able to admit that, would you?

          PhillipNagle says:

          You’re both wrong. However the Reform movement wants to paint it, when young Jewish men needed them most they refused their needs. It is really disgusting when people are so full of their prejudices that they can’t admit the truth.

          AriShavit says:

          Liar. [But really, the retired Colonel who wrote the article appreciates you calling into question his integrity.]

          Out of curiosity, what are my prejudices that prevent me from going along with your made up history?

wishnitz says:

No one is banning speech, for goodness sake! But no one has the right to speak wherever they want! and certainly, no one has the right to ask people to give money for a debate they don’t approve of. beinart- and gordis- have plenty of platforms they can occupy for their views. Not everyone must give them access.

normbnm says:

How can we connect with each other and form Unity with all the people of the World if we exclude other people’s view? Arvut , Mutual Guarantee, Love Thy friend as you Love yourself, do good for others, all are the message of the Torah and Bible. The American Jewish community for now is the safest group of Jewish People in the World, yet today many see themselves as American, Jewish (many in name only) and finally connected to Israel. The crisis in the World, the current Gaza/Israel conflict are all a sign that we have turned away from Love Thy Friend, Thus how can we Love the Creator. The Torah contains the Light of the Creator if we desire to have Bestowal to Friend and Creator, the Wisdom of Kaballah (authentic Kaballah) if we truly desire in our hearts leads us to the meaning of Creation.

    fred capio says:

    the Torah and Kaballah have nothing in common. Not by content nor by chronology. The Torah says : remove the enemy from your midst and do not warship their idols. + Beinhart is not a friend

LtcHoward says:

When the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles and American Jewish University truely embrace the idea of a balanced approach, then and only then should Dan Gordis champion a robust conversation and a productive clash of ideas.

Pam Geller has been barred and I hear no outcry from Dan (who I respect).

Currently, Israel is being bombarded. You, Dan, are partially responsible since the Islamic world detected your petition as a sign of a divided Jewish opinion. The Levy report was a useful card in the international and Arabic negotiations. Unfortunately, you were premature and arrogant in seeking to publicly reject it. Israel has a democratically elected government. You attempted to undercut Israel on the world stage. While personally I respect your motivation and your sincerity ,from the inside of the Islamic world I can only say that you were a tool of those who seek to destroy Israel.

Read the many intelligent comments to your article and please take them to heart.

    Howard, there are many things that contributed to this outbreak in violence. Internal Hamas politics (Haniyeh vs. Meshaal vs. Jabari), recent back and forths that struck nerves on both sides, Hamas’ hope that Egypts new government would provide them with cover to be more aggressive, frayed Israeli nerves that were unwilling to resume the inconsistent truce of recent months, and probably more that we will never know of.

    But one thing I’m confident wasn’t involved: Hamas’ realization that there are non-Likudnik Jews. Those Jews have been around for a long time and will hopefully be around, in Israel and the US for the foreseeable future. Hamas is kind of aware of the situation. Daniel Gordis “undercutting” Israel did not play a role. Hamas has more pressing concerns than “how are the liberal Jews doing?” To suggest otherwise is the height of silliness.

      fred capio says:

      Hamas is running a successful PR campaign to bend international opinion in its favor. They will gladly take advantage of divided Jewish opinion. This makes Gordis, Beinhard and the likes collaborators of the enemy

      LtcHoward says:

      Read their communications with Robert Malley.

      LtcHoward says:

      Read their communications with Robert Malley.

      Pam Green says:

      Rand, I used to read “progressive” pundits until I realized how ubiquitous the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist propaganda is on so-called progressive and liberal websites, and how the progressives not only tolerate it but accept it as true! These are websites with hundreds of thousands of readers, if not millions. And there is little to no objection when the most vicious, false, hateful tirades appear on their pages daily, particularly in readers’ commentary. Do you really think this isn’t paid for by Islamist propagandists? And do you really think that American liberals do not have an ethical obligation to hunt down the source of this propaganda and bar it from their websites? Beinart, Gordis and others like them are, willfully or not, aiding and abetting this propaganda campaign – the same kind of propaganda that was used throughout Europe for decades to gain broad public acceptance of the Holocaust.

    Pam Green says:

    Great points! How can the American Jewish community claim to be fair and balanced when they haven’t protected Pamela Geller? And, as you say, Jews who undercut Israel on the world stage embolden the Islamist terrorists.

Robert Starkand says:

Its one thing to have different views, its another to have different facts. If territories are disputed, there is no occupation. Both you and Beinart give in to the narrative of the people who would destroy us by talking about occupation. It is no surprise that we don’t want to hear about occupation. The only solution to Israel’s problem, is to convince the Arab world that they can’t win, there is going to be a Jewish state. Once that is established, we’ll see if there is interest in a separate Palestinian state. There was no call for a Palestinian state when the Arabs of Palestine were part of Jordon and Egypt.

AriShavit says:

excellent article …

I think Beinhart is fairly superficial in his analysis and research, but he shouldn’t be excluded simply because he disagrees.

    jonitin says:

    Is Ari the first person who disagrees with the disagreers? That’s surprising. Daniel doesn’t even agree with Beinart. And yet there’s this overwhelming finger pointing within the comments. I’d like to attribute it to the potential of war going on, but it’s precisely at this moment… before it explodes that discussion – even hard debate – to happen. But debate is starting here. Good. I wish there were more. Because things can explode far more for Israel than what’s gone on so far.

    For those I disagree with… it’s specifically because Beinart believes in two states that he moves forward with such conviction. He’s not just living as a practicing Jew, he has been fearless in engaging passionately to protect Zionism. His version. It doesn’t look like mine, but he is as much a member of the tribe as any of us. And may care even more actively than most.

Beinart isn’t worth thinking about right now. You know who has problems. IDF soldiers who are going to be in combat soon. Beinart is a pimple on the ass of these true heros.

It’s not open minded to betray your country. Israel will never gain “international legitimacy” from the nations by abandoning our claim on our heartland. Your fawning attempts to get a friendly slap on the back from Eisav won’t work, while undermining Israel’s right to our own land does in fact harm all Jews. I’m sometimes astounded by how thick these self-proclaimed intellectual are.

herbcaen says:

Im proud of the Atlanta JCC for disinviting Beinrat. He shouldnt have been invited in the first place.. If we include Beinrat in the dialog, why not include Holocaust deniers and Iranian apologists. Lets compare Beinrat with Chaim Rumkowsky, Nazi appointed leader of the Lodz Judenrat. Rumkowsky did morally questionable deeds under Nazi duress. Beinrat is undermining Israel for fame and fortune. Who is/was the better person, Beinrat of Rumkowsky?

I think those of us who believe in tolerance should set the standards for the rest.
We should ignore calls for boycotts and (other types of) violence and set our own behavioral standards based on confidence in our values.
Being ignored is sometimes the biggest insult.

    fred capio says:

    you may ignore the calls for boycotts but our enemies will not, and they will be very glad to quote a (treacherous) Jew

      I don’t think we should let the other side set our standards.

        fred capio says:

        We must not feed the hostility of the goyim. What matters is what the goyim DO. You will realize that when, at 3 am, you hear a knocking on your door and they pick you up for extermination. Or if missiles are raining down on Jerusalem because the goyim THINK they have a right to do so. What you do is intellectual masturbation.

          You spend more time attacking Jews then defending them, and I can only assume that you are masquerading as a supporter of Israel.
          If you were genuine you would know that I was quoting David Ben Gurion.

          fred capio says:

          If you would know anything about Ben Gurion YOU would certainly not quote him. Be careful that you don’t fall by your own shibboleth

          Babaoz says:

          Fred, do you really believe that you are in danger of extermination ?, who exactly do you think has the means and motive to do such a thing now , not in the 40’s , now. Agreed that Iran with a bomb would be a worry, but if we limit ourselves to the present day threats. Isn’t your “3am” analogy , a little alarmist ?

          fred capio says:

          Do I feel I am in danger of extermination? No, neither did my parents “but dead they are”. Do you think the American people are more civilized than the Europeans in the 1940es? Certainly not. Do you think there is less latent anti-semitism in America and Europe than in the 1940es? Absolutely not. I study the distribution of positive and negative reader’s comments concerning Jews and Israel in American and European online news media. Close to 80% is hostile or negative. There are millions of willing executioners ready. A classic precondition for Genozid. Of course it will not start over night. First a few broken windows, a few Jews beaten up on the street followed by what is called “normalization trough repetition” and escalation facilitated by passive bystanders, indifferent law enforcement and tacit approval. The Jews who “control everything in the United States” will be labeled as “enemy of the state”, responsible and a scapegoat for everything that is wrong in society and economy and a convenient target for aggression. There will be only Israel left as a sanctuary. And this is why I defend Israel against all deleterious critique, from the inside or outside. You should do a little research into the dynamic of mob violence to appreciate my concerns. homo homini lupus

      What matters is not what the goyim say, but what the Jews do.

fieldinski says:

the way i see it, the leaders of Israel are leading it down the path to destruction. does that make me an enemy of Israel or does it link me to its enemies?

    fred capio says:

    YES, under the present circumstances and your unfounded opinion, supported by nothing, makes you a traitor.

gwhepner says:

BEING AS INCLUSIVE AS THE TALMUD,
ONLY CONNECTING

Wefind positions that have lost

recorded in the Talmud. Here’s the moral

we learn from this. We may accost

all those with whom we wish to quarrel,

but not behave as if they don’t

exist. They may not be correct,

butwe’ll not learn this if we won’t,

as we must always do, connect.

gwhepner@yahoo.com

ajweberman says:

Upper West Side phony liberal dreck. The same ones who pushed for school integration when their kids went to $$$ private schools.

Boychic says:

Here is the bottom line given of all this argument. Hamas, Hezbollah, the Moslem Brortherhood and especially Iran and those states and entities that support them want to destroy not just Israel but the Jewish people. They affirm this in their media, their mosques and in the case of Hamas in their founding documents. If this is not obvious to every Jew in Israel and the diaspora then those who don’t agree are either deaf or blind. To emphasize Jewish survival is reality based on history not paranoia. Israel was settled as the last possible refuge for the Jewish people. Israel is not only defending its own fate but the fate of every Jew on the planet. It is futile to argue with Jews who think otherwise. The fact is that their fate is tied to the fate of every Jew everywhere. It is sad to say this but they are the dangerous enemy within and allies of our potential killers.

Faival44 says:

If Beinart, or Gordis, or Tablet Magazine were ever seen to object when Netanyahu was denied a venue on American campus, or when Pastor John Hagee was disinvited from speaking at the Denver Federation’s Men’s Event, or any number of other speech suppressing events directed at the right, I could cut Gordis some slack. But the left never complains at attacks on the right. Principle doesn’t matter. They only whine when their ox gets gored.

Metatrona says:

At this very crucial time, we must speak with one voice. We will have plenty of time for varying opinions later…when the bombs stop flying.

What an excellent article!

Bravo Rabbi Gordis: this may be one of the most important pieces you have ever written. The knee-jerkers who are quick to go into character assassination mode with people who don’t share their opinion are destroying civil debate. Do all of you who left comments below suggesting that liberal progressive Zionists are giving aid and comfort to Israel’s enemies understand that YOU are the problem?

PilgrimSoul says:

The author laments the fact that people in his community are afraid of ideas. But if you think, you’ll be curious. And if you’re curious, you’ll find out that the Israelis ethnically cleansed the Palestinians, and have been torturing and killing them ever since. It’s better not to think at all. That’s where religious nationalism has taken religion in our time.

    StanleyT says:

    Says someone who is either a “Palestinian” or has swallowed their propaganda hook, line and sinker and has never bothered to do what s/he recommends, which is take a careful look at both sides and THINK.

Jerusalem is NOT the eternal capital of Israel it is recognized as “disputed territory” by the government of the United Sates which is the nation of my birth and to which I belong.

    StanleyT says:

    And to which you are welcome to pledge your troth. But that still does not give you the right (or the privilege) to rewrite history.

he is anti-Israel anti-American Marxists dog and I do believe in boycotts.So boycott him

Yisrael Medad says:

Daniel is upset over what he perceives as “a scary anti-intellectual trend in the Jewish community”. I am not sure that is the correct definition. I think most of the criticism that Daniel received over his signing a letter of an extreme left-wing anti-Netanyahu group was not due to his stand on the Levy Report but more his aligning himself with the group – and he did admit he didn’t give that aspect much thought. He could have made his own point independently. I also think the criticism that at least I directed at him was, with all due humility, intellectual and dealt with his grasp of the issues and the logic he attempted to present as persuasive.

As for the Beinart instance, I do think it the right of a community institution to democratically override the decision of lay persons and to insist on preferring community plurality rather than providing a platform for the continuing campaign of misinformation and misreading not only of the present but of how Beinart views the past century’s Zionist history as he sets out in his book. He can sell his book as much as he wants – or perhaps cannot – but there is no obligation for a Jewish community body funded by the community to be dilettantish (that’s my own creation) just so someone who undermines Jewish support for Israel can get away with his sleight-of-word handwork. If the invitation was deemed in error, it is quite democratic to recall it if that is the will of the executive body supervising the council’s activities.

If anything is scary, it is the onslaught of extreme radicals who disguise well their anti-Israel feelings, creating a Zionism, they call it “liberal’, which never existed, narrowly dovetailing with the anti-Semites and for all practical purposes, undermine the Jewish community.

    StanleyT says:

    Thank you. Outstanding post.

    fred capio says:

    masterful, what could be said , and has been said, in one short sentence, stretched into thousand words. good strategy, confuse the arabs..

“If there can be said to be a silver lining in this horrendous situation, it’s in the broad range of support for the prime minister’s decision to protect his citizens.”

Is it election season in Israel?

BethesdaDog says:

Actually, Mr. Gordis, you’re looking in the wrong direction. It’s the considerable number of Jewish charities and synagogues, especially like those in south Florida, who won’t tolerate any view other than that of the liberal and leftist persuasion. There’s been no counterbalance in the synagogues and the Jewish museum which have hosted the intensely partisan Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and her pseudo-pro-Israel line. She is, in fact, a supporter of the seditious J-Street, an organization which always looks to undermine the security of Israel and the safety of our Jewish brethren there. These entities tolerate no criticism of questioning of their activity in support of partisan politics. The deep southern Jewish communities (Atlanta, not south Florida) appear to be more conservative politically and in values, and are perhaps, along with the Orthodox, the last best hope of American Jewry. Please direct your ire and concern where it really should be directed–at the corrupt and compromised segment which has abandoned Jewish values in the pursuit of their new religion, secular liberalism. They are also the New Intolerants.

I’ve been aware of Peter Beinart before he went off the deep end–when he was a reasonable and sane national security liberal (his New Republic days). I suspect, based on some things I have read, his conversion is just some opportunism. No one who cares about Israel–and has had any contact with Arabs–can really believe that there is anything like a realistic opportunity for peace with the Palestinians any time soon. In fact, it is likely to get worse, as the Arabs react to the stresses of modernity around them with refuge into medieval religious extremism. That, after all, is the Arab Spring.

Hershl says:

Gordis, if you want to listen to this creature, this self-hating Jew, then by all means, go right ahead.

The rest of us have just had enough of him and will not allow him to speak at our functions. We will treat him exactly as he treats Israel and the Jewish people.

With absolute contempt.

Would you invite a Nazi to address you and your ilk?

Traitors are no better if not worse.

    I like to hear opposing views so I know what they are thinking. Beinart is a bit more mainstream than, say, Noam Chomsky. In a free and fair marketplace of ideas people who wish to address groups should do so. You don’t have to attend if you don’t wan’t to. Just like TV, you are welcome to change the channel. I don’t think it is appropriate for a few at the JCC to make a decision as they did. This supports my argument that some American Jews are becoming intolerant.

      herbcaen says:

      Why not invite Ahmadinejad to the JCC as well? He is professor of the year at Columbia University and is arguably more mainstream than either Gordis or Beinart

Peter Beinhart is a fine example of Americans of all religions who are sick and tired of the occupation. We have many excellent Jews in the US who are embarrassed by Israelis.

“And as was almost inevitable, some who did not heed the warnings were killed by rocket fire. At this writing, the end is nowhere in sight”–this is so akin to saying that rape victims were asking for it that Im surprised there hasn’t been an outcry. Do you have any indication from the article that the 3 victims were a) warned b) heard the warning c) had sufficient time to get to a proper bomb shelter d) Had access to a proper bomb shelter? This sentence, which was incredibly not the purpose of your article, makes everything else you say in the article seem absurd. Rethink your point in that sentence and offer an apology–the surviving children of Miriam Scharf deserve not to have some uninformed journalist blame their mother for dying in a rocket attack

JoyceSch says:

TabletMag: Please repost the original interview between Gordis and Beinart in an easily accessible format. This is a Must Hear encounter. The civility and respect with which the debate unfolded is a model we don’t often see. Some folks commenting here would find the dialogue instructive…as much for style as content.

Habbgun says:

I would be more impressed if Meir Kahane’s views were considered by Beinart’s side but I know they would want to ban them. Like it or not Kahane was prescient when it came to America’s attitudes towards Israel. People would have been called crazy if they described someone like Obama as President and a possible sec’t of state like Susan Rice. Just because liberal Jews consciously model themselves after Euro-socialists doesn’t mean they have views of immediate importance. As a matter of fact neither do European socialists.

Attempted ban of JPR (Jewish Public Radio) fails! First ever release: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS3gqvcGRRA&feature=youtu.be

The author is right. Although I disagree with Beinart and agree with only the one and only 2 state solution: the one of 1920 that divided the Arabs and Jews by creating Jordan and am against a 2nd (and third, and fourth with the Jewish remainder…) it is important that people like Beinart are not anti-Zionist. Many good Jews simply disagree on the methods needed to provide for the security of Israel. Let them speak and disagree.

Daniel, you’re for sure right about what a great guy Beinert is now that he’s slamming Israel and blaming them for the war in Gaza. Yup, those poor misunderstood Hamas-niks. I wonder if, when Beinert’s older and wiser, and the lure of cheap fame and notoriety fade with his ego, will he ever step back and ponder what a chillul HaShem he’s been, and a what a danger to his people.

How can you call others narrow minded when your mean-spirited, condescending defaming of Rabbi Sharon Brous is just that? http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/lowering-the-bar/

Yes, Jews can argue among themselves. The problem is not that a Jew may or not listen to another Jew with different opinions about the Nation of Israel. The problem is that this conversation does not take place in a vacuum. The arguments raised will reached anti-Semitic ears and will eventually be used, quite effectively, to grease the rails to more efficient ovens.

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U.S. Jews Fighting Wrong Battle

As rockets rain down on Israel, an Atlanta JCC bans Peter Beinart. When did we become so narrow-minded?

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