Media Watch

Dissolve the Jewish State? Peter Beinart is Wrong

Note: This letter was published in The New York Times on July 10, 2020.

July 9, 2020

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State” (Op-Ed, July 9):

With all his soothing words about equality and blissful coexistence, Peter Beinart is calling for the elimination of the Jewish state itself. His contortions to argue that Zionism does not require an independent Jewish state are transparently false and a tactic to rationalize the dismantling of a sovereign Israel.

The fact that his notion of Palestinians and Israelis living in peace in one state is belied by the history of the Middle East is almost beside the point. Where else on earth would the idea of an independent sovereign state disappearing from the map be acceptable except in the case of Israel?

Alone among states in the United Nations, Israel’s existence is put in question without consequences, sometimes in blatant and obviously hostile ways, such as by Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, sometimes by those like Mr. Beinart who argue in softer terms, framing their position in terms of human rights.

There’s not much difference in the end. Both violate every norm regarding sovereignty of a nation. In the final analysis, such calls are themselves anti-Semitic, or at the very least, as in the case of Mr. Beinart, play into the hands of the anti-Semites.

It is time to focus on getting the parties back to negotiations. Israel needs to make clear it is open to a two-state solution that would bring security, justice and dignity to Israelis and Palestinians. And the Palestinians must move from their longstanding rejectionism that has hurt them so badly and has brought us to this day.

Ken Jacobson
New York, NY

The writer is deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League.