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Hoisted from Comments: Robert Waldmann on Peter Beinart, Formerly of The New Republic

Hoisted from Comments: Robert Waldmann writes:

links for 2010-05-16:Beinart's essay is eccelent and moving. However, I was particularly struck by the fact that it was written by a former TNR editor and sometimes hawk on Iraq. I'd say that Beinart has utterly abjured the false prophet Martin Peretz. I'd say he is truly repentent and may be welcomed back into the liberal church and that his self-criticism was adequate and he may be readmitted into the Party.

However, given his tone, he earned only an honorary membership in the order of the shrill.

The main point is that his essay might actually achieve something. I'm not even Jewish[*] and I almost decided to join Beinart's effort, until I remembered that I think it is hopeless.

[*]I was Zionist in 1967 when I was 6 years old.

I, by contrast, reject Peter Beinart's self-criticism as insufficient. His [essay] lacks one key component: the answer to the question "And where were you when all this was going on?" What was Peter Beinart doing while as he writes in his [essay]((http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment/?pagination=false), the American Jewish establishment (it's his phrase! not mine!!) and the organizations they bossed:

the leading institutions of American Jewry... refused to foster—indeed... actively opposed—a Zionism that challenges Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and toward its own Arab citizens. For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door.... Morally, American Zionism is in a downward spiral. If the leaders of groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations do not change course, they will wake up one day to find a younger, Orthodox-dominated, Zionist leadership whose naked hostility to Arabs and Palestinians scares even them, and a mass of secular American Jews who range from apathetic to appalled. Saving liberal Zionism in the United States—so that American Jews can help save liberal Zionism in Israel—is the great American Jewish challenge of our age. And it starts... by talking frankly about Israel’s current government, by no longer averting our eyes...

The answer is that Peter Beinart was being a good little apparatchik, practicing to suceed the chiefs of the American Jewish establishment, and averting his eyes with the best of them.

Self-criticism does recall criticism of self, after all. It doesn't entail going out for a drink, and then coming back and pretending to view the situation for the first time with fresh eyes...