the problem my essay tries to describe: an American Jewish leadership that publicly defends the Israeli government, any Israeli government, rather than defending Israeli democracy, even when the former menaces the latter.
There is another problem: is there a point when, theoretically, democracy (or what Beinart, et al.) define as 'democracy' (or is it radical progressive liberalism), can and will meance Israel?
He goes on:
the growing authoritarian, even racist, tendencies in Israeli politics is to don a moral blindfold, a blindfold that most young American Jews, to their credit, will not wear.
Firstly, Palestinian rejectionism cannot explain Avigdor Lieberman’s crusade to humiliate, disenfranchise, and perhaps even eventually expel Arab Israelis, the vast majority of whom want nothing more than to be accepted as equal citizens in the country of their birth.
...Secondly, Palestinian rejectionism does not explain Netanyahu’s deep-seated hostility to a Palestinian state.
Such a characterization can only be culled from the Ha-Ha-Haaretz web site (*). The formal, official institutions of Arab civic representation seek a Palestinian non-Israeli identification, champion ethnic autonomy, reject Zionism and more and more, are taking an active role in operations of resistance, aka killing Jews.
Moreover, Netanyahu's opposition to a Palestinian state, despite his avowed support for the same which Beinart somehow missed, is predicated on solid, cogent security aspects of Israel's future existence, the historical, legal, religious and cultural rights as well as the obvious: the Pals. hate us, kill us (for the past 90 years) and reject every Jewish move of compromise.
To illustrate Beinart's wisdom, rationality and democratic moral standards, read his words:
...the same sort of settler fanatics who burn Palestinian olive groves also assassinated an Israeli prime minister... the same Israeli government that demonizes Israeli Arabs also demonizes Israeli human rights groups...Besides the fact that Yigal Amir was not a "settler", by his logic, the same radical liberals who delegitimize Israel are they same as those who publish antizionist articles in the NYRB, like Beinart, actually.
I would suggest that the hostility of which Beinart suffers, due to mental, psychological or personal ill-will, is his real problem, leading him into an ever weird and dangerous position.
But, being Jewish for Beinart, I might suggest, is a problem in and of itself.
Like this, from Gideon Levy's poison pen:-
Unlike the settlers, the Haredim are an easy target. There is no greater consensus in secular Israeli society than hatred for them. Criticizing the settlers is controversial, it has a price and it takes courage. Populist politicians build careers on spreading hatred of Haredim, but it is the courts rather than the country's leaders that are taking the lead in changing the norms regarding them.
Without having made any previous attempt to draw closer to them, the courts laying down one ruling after another. The Supreme Court ruled that state-funded stipends for yeshiva students are unfair; it ruled there is intolerable racism in Immanuel; and the army wants to conscript thousands more yeshiva students. All these decisions were right and they were inevitable, but what in tarnation about that other recalcitrant group?
Racism? The settlers are more racist. Violence? The settlers are far more violent. Blatant disregard for the law of the land and maintenance of a separate legal system? More so among the settlers. Enormous budgets? The settlers cost us more, and the Haredim are poorer. Damage to society and state? That caused by the settlers is much more catastrophic, a weeping for generations to quote the Talmud and Ben-Gurion.
The self-isolation of the Haredim within their own world at the state's expense is indeed something in need of change, and manifestations of racism among them must be eradicated. But where are public opinion and the state and its courts, when it comes to the settlers? The Haredim milk the budget, as we so often complain, and the settlers don't?
According to Peace Now, the settlers cost us NIS 2.5 billion per year. For what? For their efforts at thwarting all prospects of peace. That's not more harmful than a yeshiva boy? That's not more dangerous than a Torah student?
The Ashkenazi Haredim treat the Mizrahim abominably. It is racism. But at least it is not violent, like the racism of the settlers toward Palestinians. The Haredim put their women at the back of the bus; the settlers not only bar Palestinians from their buses, but from the entire road at times. The Haredim erect barriers between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim in their schools; the settlers carry out ethnic cleansing under the state's aegis, like that of 25,000 residents of Hebron.
So who's the real racist here?