Daily Beast's Beinart Blames Israel for No Peace with Palestinians, Promotes Boycott of Settlements
Plugging his new book, The Crisis of Zionism, on Thursday's The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, the Daily Beast's Peter Beinart - formerly of Time magazine - advanced the irrational view that it is the Israeli government and those who support the existence of Jewish settlements in the West Bank who are the obstacles to peace with the Palestinians. (Video below)
The liberal political pundit, who has come out in favor of boycotting Israeli settlements in the West Bank, ignored the history of Israeli withdrawals from places like Lebanon and the Gaza Strip which led to rocket attacks and the seizure of more power by anti-Israel terrorist groups, rather than warmer relations.
After host Stephen Colbert's faux-conservative persona argued - presumably for comic effect - that Israel has a right to control the West Bank simply because they "won" it, Beinart complained:
But winning land doesn't make you stronger when you can't give the right to vote and citizenship to the people on that land and they hate you-
When the Comedy Central host jumped in to note that Palestinians who live outside Israel's borders in the West Bank are not Israeli citizens, Beinart continued:
That's right. That's the problem. That's the problem. They don't have the basic rights that are enshrined in Israel's declaration of independence, which is why they need their own state where they have dignity in their own country. Otherwise, they will hate Israel and make Israel less safe.
As if West Bank residents would have more rights in a Palestinian state which would likely endure an authoritarian rule from the terrorist group Hamas, or the allegedly more moderate Fatah, the liberal political analyst tried to rationalize his call for a boycott of Jewish settlements - settlements which only take up about one percent of the West Bank:
The difference is that in one part of Israel, Israel's original boundaries, all people have the right to citizenship and a right to vote. That's what makes Israel precious to me. That's why I love Israel. But in the West Bank, that's not true. And so we have to draw a distinction between the way we treat that part of Israel that lives up to Israel's founding ideals - or tries at least - and that part which threatens Israel's founding ideals.
While Colbert took a few shots at conservatives - like making a crack about evangelical Christians wanting Jews to control Israel to fulfill biblical prophecy and bring about the Rapture - he did end up making one insightful point from the rightward point of view as he noted that Palestinians refuse to recognize the right of Israel to remain a Jewish nation state. Colbert:
Do you think this whole problem could get better if the Palestinians would give some sort of goodwill gesture, something small like recognizing the right of Israel to exist?
After laughter from the audience, Beinart conceded the point but still tried to gloss over the reality of Palestinian public opinion that opposes such an acceptance of Israel's Jewish identity, and predicted that the existence of a Palestinian state would improve relations between the two peoples. Beinart:
Absolutely. Some Palestinians have done exactly that. Not enough. More should. But the question is, how do we strengthen those who have? And the only way we strengthen them is by giving them the possibility of their own state.
But unaddressed was the Israeli government's history of repeatedly offering to recognize a Palestinian state - with the most recent plans generously offering nearly all of the West Bank in addition to the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem - but with all offers rejected by the Palestinian Authority.
A poll released last summer found that only one-third of Palestinians support a two-state solution consisting of a Palestinian state next to a Jewish state. Two-thirds believed that the creation of a Palestinian state should just be a stepping stone to taking over all of Israel.
Another poll found that "89.5 percent refuse to waive the right of return and to accept in exchange for that monetary compensation" to obtain an agreement, instead expecting that the Israelis should allow Palestinian refugees and their descendants - numbering in the millions - to move into Israel.
Additionally, less terrorism emanates from the West Bank where there is still an Israeli military presence, while a staggering number of rockets and mortars have been fired from the Gaza Strip since the Israeli withdrawal in 2005.