No holds barred: Please Peter, please don’t punish us

Last week in his worst anti-Israel rant to date, Peter Beinart demanded that Israel be punished for electing Benjamin Netanyahu.

March 23, 2015 21:42
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Last week in his worst anti-Israel rant to date, Peter Beinart demanded that Israel be punished for electing Benjamin Netanyahu. Those stubborn, stiffnecked Jews did it again, electing a candidate not approved by Peter Beinart.

The Jews must pay the price. How? “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. It means loving Israel more than ever, and opposing its government more than ever. It means accepting that, for now at least, the peace process is over and the pressure process must begin.”

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So much for Peter Beinart believing in democracy. Israel voted wrong. It’s time for the Jewish state to be slammed.

There is much I can write about Peter, whom I have known since my days as rabbi at Oxford. I could point out his double standards, demanding that all Israeli goods from Judea and Samaria be boycotted, while he still uses an iPhone even though China, where it was made, has occupied Tibet since 1950, a fact I pointed out in my debate with Peter at Columbia.

I could point out that in his Haaretz column Peter seems to have finally lost it, producing his worst piece of writing – sophomoric drivel – and sounding like he has taken leave of his senses as he fulminates against the dumb Israelis who were not smart enough to vote as Peter would. And I could point out the lunacy of Peter now demanding “denying visas to, and freezing the assets of, Naftali Bennett and other pro-settler leaders” as if they were terrorist leaders.

But I’d rather do something else.

I want to write a plea to my old friend Peter Beinart not to punish Israel.

Please Peter. Please, don’t punish the Jews.

We know we’ve been naughty. We know that we’re racist, apartheid practitioners who have “wielded brutal, undemocratic, unjust power over millions of human beings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” We know that we’re terrible people.

But is there any way you can find it in your heart not to punish us? Can we not beg of you to be long-suffering and have your mercy overcome your justice? Did you not write, Peter, how much you love us, even as you hate us? Don’t get me wrong, Peter. We know you’re right. We know that rather than Hamas being punished for using children as human shields and firing 10,000 rockets into Israeli cities, it’s the Jews who are wicked.

WE KNOW that rather than President Barack Obama carrying out his promise to punish Bashar Assad for gassing thousands of Arab children, it’s democratic Israel who ought to be disciplined. We know that rather than Saudi Arabia who beheads people and treats women like chattel, it is Israel, with its free and open society and complete equality for women, that deserves to be castigated.

But can’t you find it in your heart, Peter, to forgive us just this once, even if we don’t deserve it? I take your point. Rather than calling on Turkey to be punished for occupying Cyprus since 1974, or asking the United Nations to pass a single resolution condemning Russia for its occupation of Crimea, which it has yet to do, it’s we Jews who need to be shown who’s boss.

You’re the boss, Peter. You can hurt us.

We tremble and quake at your anger. So please spare us so that we Jews – brutal and racist as we are – can learn some of your empathy, love and compassion.

We want to be like you, Peter. You’re our hero. You are so fine, so excellent, so, er, special. So please give us a chance.

We regret voting for Netanyahu. We didn’t know it would upset you so. Had we known we wouldn’t have done it.

Promise. Next time, might I suggest that you please publish a column in Haaretz telling the Israelis for whom they should vote so we don’t get into this sticky mess again.

We live to please you.

As far as your threat, Peter, to have demonstrations against Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders when they visit the US, please, please don’t. It would be awful to see you standing in the rain outside the AIPAC conference with the Neturei Karta guys and Students for Justice in Palestine while 16,000 Jews are inside listening to Netanyahu. It would break my heart to see you in the cold, holding that sign with the other people, inflicting your punishment against Israel.

Look upon us Jews, Peter, the way you would look upon errant children.

We lack your level of education. We don’t have the broadness of your heart.

Indeed, just so that we don’t piss you off in the future, I move to abolish all elections in Israel, just in case we get it wrong.

We can make you emperor of the Jews, Peter, and my, how glorious it would be, to have someone so unafraid to stand up to racist Israel as you to rule over us.

For now, until you accept, we can only dream.

The author, “America’s rabbi,” whom Newsweek and The Washington Post call “the most famous rabbi in America,” is an award-winning columnist and the international best-selling author of 30 books, including his most recent, Kosher Lust.

Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

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