Batten down the Hatches! Beinart Tells Us The Orthodox are Taking Over The American Jewish Establishment!

In “The New American Jewish Struggle over Israel: Hawks Versus Ultra-Hawks” (, 11/12/14), Peter Beinart claims that “J Street isn’t the only group challenging the American Jewish establishment. Sheldon Adelson is too.”

So in this installment of Beinart’s desperate plea for a two state solution or else, he begins by telling us that the center of the American Jewish political scene is not holding, and is being pulled apart from left and right.

But let’s talk about the right.

So Sheldon Adelson said he didn’t care if Israel remained a democratic state, citing the Bible as proof. 1. I have a feeling Adelson doesn’t truly believe this, and 2. If he does, it’s another example of his outspoken eccentricity. (He’s rich. Otherwise I’d call him a kook.)

It is a tribute to Peter Beinart’s abilities as a writer that he can turn any event into a screed against the Occupation.

You see Adelson’s comment – and had it not been for Peter I never would have heard about it – was rebutted by Abe Foxman’s support of Israel’s democratic and Jewish nature.

Aha! Exclaims Peter, with finger pointing in the air. But Israel is in fact pursuing a anti-democratic policy in the Occupied Territories!

Oh come on Peter. You know that in a nation-state, especially one with a sizable population identifying with a different nation, balancing democratic and Jewish values would be difficult if not paradoxical at certain points.  And you also know that Feiglin is a kook (not rich).

In the past, Peter tells us, “the American Jewish establishment has been laundering Israel’s behavior for American consumption: Justifying Israel’s undemocratic settlement policies in the soothing language of democratic values.” Ah, no it didn’t.  In the past the issue may have been swept under the rug, it may have been spun as Israel being as humane as possible against a hostile population, or it may have said that the Occupation is only a temporary situation. But no one said it was a model of democracy.  Peter, where did you get this from?

More from Beinart: “Claiming you cherish Israeli democracy, after all, requires claiming that the West Bank Palestinians who Israel currently controls should one day have a state of their own. Since the American Jewish right sees that as both dangerous to Israeli security and an affront to God, it is challenging the American Jewish establishment by bluntly advocating a one-state solution in which millions of Palestinians are permanently disenfranchised, democracy be damned. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), which Adelson helps bankroll, has partnered with conservative Christians to pass resolutions in the Florida and South Carolina legislatures declaring that they “consider Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem to be part of Israel.” The ZOA pushed a similar resolution at the Republican National Convention in 2012 but was stymied by AIPAC, which wanted both parties to go on record as supporting the two state solution.”

No it doesn’t. Or at least not necessarily. I, and most of Israel coincidentally, wish we could be free of the Palestinians.  Unfortunately they are so consumed by violent hatred toward Israel and Jews it would be suicidal to allow them a fully functioning state.

So a Palestinian state would certainly be dangerous to Israeli security.  An affront to God? Dunno about that.  And how do you know, Peter?  Because the ZOA somehow had some power over the state legislatures of Florida and South Carolina to declare that they see the Occupied Territories as part of Israel.  Is that the best you can do?! Two state legislatures in the say something?  And this is how you know the American Jewish politics is falling apart?

I mean really, Peter, how do you know there’s been a shift at all?  Maybe this was always the policy of the American Jewish establishment?

And why is this imagined shift in American Jewish politics taking place? Peter can tell us why: the younger generation of secular Jews are ashamed of Israel’s policies and so ignore Israel.  Filling the void are young Orthodox hordes (and Sheldon Adelson!) who cite God for every right-wing policy choice.

Could it be because secular Jews have largely failed at inculcating their children with a sense of Jewish pride and continuity, and so their youth is largely indifferent to Israel, as they are with all other things Jewish?

And where does Peter get the notion that young Orthodox Jews are filling the ranks of the American Jewish establishment, and citing the Bible as their final authority? Peter, do you just make this stuff up as you go along?

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