In his article responding to the Har Nof massacre, Peter Beinart demonstrates why he is worthy of response (“After the Horror, a Test for Both Left and Right,” Haaretz.com, 11/19/14).
Peter Beinart has been perhaps the most consistent, frequent, and eloquent critic of Israel’s Palestinian policy. Hardly a week goes by when he does not call on the Netanyahu administration to gain some humility and just grant the PA statehood so that Israel can cease its cruel dominion over a foreign people, reclaiming its moral authority.
But in the context of the synagogue murders in Har Nof, Beinart writes of his need as Jew, and perhaps especially as a leftist Jew, to respond to the Har Nof killings with a sense of empathy and unity with the people of Israel. Because he is so critical of Israel, Beinart sees the need to join in mourning with its people in their time of grief. He recognizes that some in his camp may reject this approach to a terror attack lest they be perceived as complicit in any rightist response. But Peter understands that in times of national tragedy we must sit together, mourn, and draw comfort from each other: “Being part of a people means joining that people when they mourn… if left-leaning Jews want to be accepted by the organized Jewish community, we must show that while we disagree with that community’s views, we share its pain.”
There are any number of pundits critical of Israel on a regular basis. But many of them do not have a track record demonstrating unconditional support for fundamental right the Jewish people have to their state, or a sense of solidarity with the Jewish people. Some would prefer to see the Jewish State disappear. Friends and allies should be honest with each other, and even critical of each other when conditions call for it. But there should also be an overwhelming sense of general support and solidarity with each other.
Absent a sense of bedrock goodwill, there is reason to doubt that critics of Israeli policy are truly seeking out what is best for Israel.
But with his response to the Har Nof massacre, and other articles before it, Beinart has demonstrated a sense of solidarity with the destiny of the Jews of Israel.
And this is why he is worthy of response.