An Open Letter to Peter Beinart

An Open Letter to Peter Beinart

Rafael Castro

The one-state solution in your new book is as plausible as a democratic state shared by Upper West Side Jews and KKK members. Op-ed.

Peter Beinart

Your defense of a one-state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict is touching – not due to its intelligence and insight, but because it reminds me of the naïve words of Anne Frank claiming that “people are really good at heart”.

In other words, you project your pet ideas and aspirations on people with very different values to those you – and Anne Frank – were raised with.

In “Yavne: A Jewish Case for Equality in Israel-Palestine“, you make a seemingly erudite argument for a one-state solution in Eretz Israel. The argument is flawed because it fails to recognize that the current inequality between Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land does not just reflect IDF coercion or the power of Jewish wealth. This inequality reflects a pre-existing cultural, religious and ethical chasm.

This chasm would not be mitigated by a one-state solution. A one-state solution would exacerbate it. The reason is simple: Palestinians have always aspired to more than what they can realistically achieve. When the yishuv and the United Nations offered them independence and equality, they fought for the destruction of the Jewish state; when the state of Israel conquered Judea and Samaria, the PLO only recognized Israel’s existence in order to expiate its support for Saddam Hussein.

Now that a full return to 1967 borders is no longer on the table, Mahmoud Abbas finally qualified the so-called “right of return” of Palestinian refugees. All this suggests that if Palestinians were granted equality, they would use this equality to achieve their 1948 goal of expelling all Jews from their homeland.

Can you imagine Jews choosing bloodshed over compromise at every turn of history? Can you imagine Jews siphoning $350 million every year from healthcare and education to pay off the relatives of stabbers and suicide bombers? Can you imagine Jews launching rockets from hospitals and schools in the hope that retaliatory attacks provide them with valuable PR images of butchered children?

It is obvious to me that the basic ingredients for Jewish-Palestinian equality are sorely missing. I write these lines not as a conceited Jew, but as an Italian Gentile acquainted with both sides of the conflict. To be acquainted with both sides of the conflict, a Yale degree or a Rhodes scholarship are superfluous. It is however essential to know Arabic in order to understand what most Palestinian Arabs really think and aspire to.

After having understood these thoughts and aspirations, your Yavne moment appears as plausible as a democratic state shared by Upper West Side Jews and Ku Klux Klan members. The analogy appears far-fetched simply because the media and academia insist that Palestinian Arab grievances are legitimate whereas those of white supremacists are not. I can easily imagine a hypothetical reality in which white supremacists are treated with the extreme indulgence that drove you to pen your case for a one-state solution in the Holy Land.

Your case for a one-state solution concludes with a stirring vision:

“Imagine a country in which, at sundown on the 27th of Nissan, the beginning of Yom HaShoah—Holocaust Remembrance Day—Jewish and Arab Palestinian co-presidents lower a flag in Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem as an imam delivers the Islamic du‘a’ for the dead. Imagine those same leaders, on the 15th of May, gathering at a restored cemetery in the village of Deir Yassin, the site of a future Museum of the Nakba, which commemorates the roughly 750,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled during Israel’s founding, as a rabbi recites El Malei Rachamim, our prayer for the dead.”

If you had studied Islam in some depth you would know that imams are forbidden from praying for the souls of deceased non-Muslims. Since you are not knowledgeable about Islam, I wonder whether you are qualified to understand the Israeli-Arab conflict, let alone to solve it.

Yavne, the place where The Romans allowed Torah to be studied after the Second Temple’s destruction, was a successful model because Yochanan ben Zakkai was a deep thinker immersed in and shaped by the reality he sought to affect.

Peter, as long as you do not live this reality, but prefer to spend time on panels with Rashida Tlaib and Marc Lamont Hill, you will never be another Yochanan ben Zakkai. At most you will be an accomplice in attempting to bury the marvelous Jewish state that millions of Jews and non-Jews build every day in Eretz Israel.

Rafael Castro is a Noahide Yale and Hebrew University educated business and political analyst based in Europe. Rafael specializes in ghostwriting quality texts for entrepreneurs and politicians. Rafael can be reached at

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