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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Martin Sherman eviscerates Peter Beinart

Martin Sherman counts some of the lies and half truths espoused by Peter Beinart in his debate with Daniel Gordis in New York two weeks ago.
In the opening minutes of his address, Beinart berated the government for assisting in the construction of a cultural center in Kiryat Arba, which he dubbed “one of the most radical and remote settlements in the West Bank.”

Radical? But wasn’t it endorsed by a revered Labor leader, the author of the policy of “territorial concessions,” as a “place to which we have returned never to leave”?

Indeed, wasn’t it David Ben- Gurion who in 1970 declared, “We will make a great and awful mistake if we fail to settle Hebron, neighbor and predecessor of Jerusalem, with a large Jewish settlement, constantly growing and expanding, very soon.”?

So what makes Kiryat Arba “radical” – established as it was in the era of Labor-hegemony, years before a Likud-led government was conceivable, in an era when Zionism was presumably still true to its liberal-humanistic principles, allegedly so dear to Beinart’s heart?

Moreover, what makes it “remote”– barely 24 km. from the Malha shopping mall in Jerusalem, roughly the same distance from London’s Whitechapel to Heathrow Airport – and considerably less than the distance from the US Capitol to Dulles International Airport in Washington? How “remote” is that?


Nowhere could the unfortunate audience get the sense that “radical, remote” Kiryat Arba was created under the Labor Party, and situated so close to Israel’s capital that both could easily fit within the confines of many Western cities. Nowhere could they get the sense that the development of the Jewish presence in Hebron was not some deranged initiative of renegade right-wing religious radicals, but a reflection of the vision of the founders of state – even those who embraced the “land-for-peace” formula.

It is thus a great pity that Gordis did not seize the opportunity to rectify this – along with many other contextual lacunae and factual lapses in Beinart’s presentation. After all, as one of participants remarked, she came because “as a Jew invested in Israel, I thought it’d be an opportunity to educate myself.”

And there was much need to “educate” the attendees in light of Beinart’s cavalier attitude toward the truth – with regard to both what he said and what he didn’t.
Read the whole thing.

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