Sunday, May 22, 2011

Of the Halevi-Beinart Debate

Picked this up at one of the most anti-Israel, anti-Zionist sites around (you needn't go there but I have to link the source)

It seems that the American Jewish Committee held its annual Global Forum in Washington, April 27-29, and hosted a debate on Friday, April 29, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm entitled "The Great Debate II: Is Liberal Zionism an Oxymoron?": Do young, liberally-oriented American Jews feel politically estranged from Israel or are these concerns overblown? More fundamentally, at a time when many left and liberal constituencies are condemning Israel, can Zionism be reclaimed as a progressive cause? between Peter Beinart, Senior Political Writer, The Daily Beast; Senior Fellow, New America Foundation; author and Yossi Klein Halevi, Senior fellow, Shalem Center; contributing editor, The New Republic; author.  The video is here.

Mondo's notes, in part:-

Beinart: "The settlement of Ariel makes functional Palestinian contiguity extremely difficult..." And failing to give it up with [sic. will] "move the Palestinians to demand a one state solution, in which case we will all be in worse shape than we are today."

Halevi says that settlements are not an issue.
Beinart insists on a recognition of "my right of return to greater Israel in exchange for Palestinian right of return to greater Palestine.. this is the goal and this is the vision." And in order to achieve that goal, Israel must "declare an open and unequivocal settlement freeze.... to take the issue of settlements off the table..." and thereby deal with "the real obstacle to peace... the continued Paletinian insistence on refugee return to greater Palestine, which means the state of Israel." 100,000 refugees returning to Israel over 10 years is "a price worth paying. When the alternative is either apartheid or a non-Jewish state."

"I would absolutely oppose any refugee return that I believe would threaten Israel's character as a Jewish state. I believe that history shows that we have a right to a Jewish and a democratic state."

Halevi: "[In the Palestine papers, you will see a] deep Palestinian commitment to right of return." It must be made clear to them: "Not one refugee to return to Israel, not one descendant of a refugee to return to Israel, as a matter of principle.... even as we pull our settlers out from our right to greater Israel." And diminish "the right of Jewish people to sovereignty" in their own land.

...Halevi challenges Beinart to be more fearful:  "I wish we could hear from you some sense of the anxieties and fears that we're going through in Israel [over the prospect of a Palestinian state]."

...Beinart says that "in the marrow of their soul," Palestinians "need a recognition of the horror of what happened to them in 1948. And for them it was a horror, even though for us it was an enormous enormous blessing" leading to an "extraordinary accomplishment, I would say miracle that is the creation of Israeli democracy."

Halevi refers to the 1948 "trauma" then later the "Nakba." "One of the crucial psychological barriers to peace is the Arab world's refusal to accept even partial responsibility for what happened in 1948... They led what Azzam Pasha [head of the Arab League] declared as a war of extermination....

"I agree there is partial Jewish responsibility. we need to own up to it, but by no means to take exclusive blame..."

...Halevi says that the two state solution is regarded by Palestinians as a "preliminary agreement, the first step toward an eventual beautiful one state solution." This is "very much the thinking of the Palestinian leadership." If you leave Salam Fayyad out of it, and Sari Nusseibeh. "It is the normative thinking within the Palestinian national movement... [two states is an] interim agreement, and then as we say in the Middle East, god is great."

It is so obvious watching the debate that Beinart has adopted classic Arab propaganda methods including lying, presenting facts not as they are, twistiong reality, leaving out background, etc.

Yossi was, well, inadequate. You cannot pit a "liberal" against a Beinart liberal.

Oh well.


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