Peter Beinart has had it with us. Until now he’s blamed Israel’s leadership for what he sees as its stubborn refusal to “make peace,” but the victory of PM Netanyahu in this week’s election has changed his mind. Now it’s our fault, the ordinary Israelis that voted for Netanyahu:
For almost half a century, Israel has wielded brutal, undemocratic, unjust power over millions of human beings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And as this election makes clear, Israel will concede nothing on its own. This isn’t because Jewish Israelis are different than anyone else. It’s because they are the same.
“Israelis have made their choice,” he writes. “Now it’s time to make ours,” and that means coercive tactics (“nonviolent,” of course, although the Arab ‘nonviolent’ protest that he supports is anything but):
Support any pressure that is nonviolent and consistent with Israel’s right to exist. That means backing Palestinian bids at the United Nations. It means labeling and boycotting settlement goods. It means joining and amplifying nonviolent Palestinian protest in the West Bank. It means denying visas to, and freezing the assets of, Naftali Bennett and other pro-settler leaders. It means pushing the Obama administration to present out its own peace plan, and to punish — yes, punish — the Israeli government for rejecting it. It means making sure that every time Benjamin Netanyahu and the members of his cabinet walk into a Jewish event outside Israel, they see Diaspora Jews protesting outside.
Let me tell Beinart something about the election result: it should not have been a surprise. Israelis did not suddenly vote for ‘occupation’. A majority of Israelis have realized, since the Second Intifada, that they are stuck with it — the alternative is Hamas next door to Tel Aviv — and that the delusional thinking of the Left only brings war, terrorism and death.
This was confirmed when Hamas took over Gaza and began to rain rockets on southern Israel. There hasn’t been a majority for the left-wing bloc since 1999 because of this reality. All Netanyahu did with his “nakedly racist appeal” was to shift some votes to the Likud from parties to the right of it, in order to improve his position in the coalition negotiations to follow.
It is fascinating to watch Beinart, who talks so much about democracy, quickly adopt coercion when the democratic process produces a result he dislikes. Like many of the reactions of the Left to the election results, Beinart quickly slipped into his true, Stalinist persona. You want to annex Area C, Bennett? We’ll freeze your assets! Never mind that there are no possible legal grounds to do so.
I expect that Beinart and Obama are of the same mind about this, so I won’t be surprised when the US votes against Israel at the UN, and does who knows what else to “punish” us. But keep in mind that no Israeli government — not Bibi, but not Buji/Tzipi either — could possibly make the kind of concessions needed to satisfy Obama or the Arabs. The problem isn’t Bibi, it’s reality.
I am pleased, though to take some of the responsibility from the government. As an Israeli voter (who proudly voted for Bibi), Beinart can blame me all he likes. Go ahead, make my day!