MELTDOWN: Beinart Goes Ballistic When Lowry Schools Him on Palestinians, Terrorism

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On Monday’s The Lead, Atlantic writer, CNN political analyst, and Hamas apologist Peter Beinart suffered a meltdown for the ages, losing it while desperately trying to defend Palestinian terrorists and anti-Semitic groups like Miftah against a calm, sober evisceration of his worldview by National Review editor-in-chief Rich Lowry.

The child-like meltdown grew so hysterical that Beinart screeched about how National Review supports apartheid, segregation, and Israeli terror on Palestinians while denying that Miftah has issues with Jews.

 

 

The whole affair began with Beinart reacting to a fact-free press conference from Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and offering quite the understatement (click “expand”):

Palestinians don't have to be saints in order to have the basic rights that all of us take for granted, right? Miftah has said things that I disagree with. They made an anti-Semitic statement that they apologized for. The point is when you go there, I say this as an American Jew. My children go to Jewish day school. I lead services in an orthodox synagogue. Judaism is the center of my life. The first time I went to spend time with Palestinians in the West Bank, it was a shattering experience. The only thing I could imagine would be similar for an American would be going to visit the Jim Crow South. When you see people living under the control of the state with no rights, they can not become citizens. They cannot vote for the control for the state that controls their lives. They do not have free movement. They need a pass to move from city to city. They live under a military legal system and the consequences are more brutal than we could imagine sitting here. So do I agree with Miftah? Of course not. I had a close friend who was killed in a suicide bombing but Palestinians — you could have made the same argument if you went to visit SNCC and said they were connected with communists and made anti-white statements. The point is what Ilhan Omar said is the most important, people need to go and see for themselves. I've never seen anyone whose gone and seen for themselves and not be transformed by the experience.

Thankfully, there was an actual conservative on CNN to respond. After fill-in host John Berman alluded to the Israeli law banning entry for those who support BDS, Lowry stated that it was used before banning Omar and Tlaib to block entry by E.U. and French officials.

He then made the important point about how BDS supporters “are not honest brokers” and correctly stated that “[w]e wouldn't afford a white nationalist organization the leeway that Peter is giving” Miftah. Over at National Review, David French penned a comprehensive and masterful piece about the ugliness that emanates from Miftah, ranging from anti-Semitism to support of neo-Nazis.

Lowry continued before Beinart responded by fiercely defending Miftah leader Hanan Ashrawi (click “expand”):

LOWRY: Oh, they’re not saints. This is an anti-Semitic group that supported terrorism or blowing up innocent civilians and children and no matter what you think of the dispute between Palestinians and Israel, that is an illegitimate tactic that no one should associate with at Miftah. 

BERMAN: Want a quick response to that, Peter and I’ll bring you in.

BEINART: Sure, Hanan Ashrawi is actually very known as a nonviolent active, has been a critic of the Palestinian Authority, one of the most important Palestinian feminists. There are many Palestinians who believe that Palestinians have the right to use violence because of the daily violent oppression they feel. I disagree with them. I believe in only nonviolent protest but the point is every time any Palestinian leader or any Palestinian organization tries to expose what happens, this is exactly what happens. People try to — try to discredit them because they don't want to talk about the real issue. The real issue is an absolutely indefensible denial of basic human rights.

Lowry countered by again asking what all the platitudes “have to do with supporting terrorism” and “blowing up innocent people” when “no one has any problem with harshly criticizing Israel.” But it was here, however, that any notion of a calm, civil debate flew out the window.

Beinart hit back that Lowry was willfully “distracting attention from the reality” that “American tax dollars” essentially fund terror by “blow[ing] up the homes of [Palestinians] who cannot get permits to build because they’re non-citizens under military law.”

Lowry asked again whether he’d apply the same “standard for white nationalist organizations,” which incensed Beinart and caused him to start shouting (click “expand”):

BEINART: These — this is not — Hanan Ashrawi — 

LOWRY: Oh, they just say some racist things!?

BEINART: — I know Hanan. I’m sorry — sorry, Rich.

LOWRY: They support some terrorism, but that’s okay.

BEINART: With all due respect, you have not been there and seen this on the ground. I know Hanan Ashrawi. She is not even close to a white nationalist. She is someone seeking freedom for her people. 

LOWRY: Then why does the organization publish things supporting terrorism? 

BEINART: Rich, I disagree with violent resistance —

LOWRY: Yeah, but why do they —

BEINART: — because a lot of Palestinians believe that because they are subject to daily violence of a system which denies them basic rights, they have the right to respond violently. I disagree with them —

LOWRY: By killing innocent people.

BEINART: But if an African-American who supported violence against the United States under slavery or Jim Crow, that did not excuse their denial of basic rights because I disagree the tactic they were using to resist it. 

Lowry pointed out that “no one is forcing” Miftah to publish vile content, but Beinart falsely dismissed it because they were “many, many years ago.”

Beinart went on and on about how Ashrawi had the best of intentions and upholds values that Americans are failing to follow with regards to the Palestinians and, after being challenged by Lowry, attacked National Review as supporting some of the foulest ideologies (click “expand”):

BEINART: Rich, why don’t you try spending a little bit of time focusing on the fact that almost $4 billion of U.S. aid is used to put children in detention. 

LOWRY: You're the one — you’re the one distracting from the issue. I’m asking you — 

BEINART: No, no, this is the issue.

LOWRY: I’m asking you a couple questions, but you’re shouting and —

BEINART: You're distracting from the issue because National Review

LOWRY: — you’re shouting and interrupting me.

BEINART: — just because National Review

JOHN BERMAN: One at a time.

BEINART: — supported apartheid and just as you defended segregation, you now defend Israel's oppression of Palestinian basic rights. 

LOWRY: I —

BEINART: It’s a tradition for you guys. 

The shoutfest concluded when Lowry stated that an organization “should be beyond the pale” if it “supports terrorism,” but Beinart stated while he’s not for violence, he justified it against Israelis because of their supposed state solely imposed on them and not their own actions (which would include the lionizing of suicide bombers who murder innocent Jews).

Hopefully, Hamas and all the other terrorist supporters in the Middle East were watching as The Lead was simulcast around the world on CNN International.

For a man who’s been lampooned for his liberal hot takes, anti-Israel streaks, rants against National Review, and supporting Marc Lamont Hill’s anti-Semitism, one would hope they send thanks! Because as Ben Shapiro famously told him, “Hamas celebrates every moment you’re on television.”

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s The Lead on August 19, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Lead
August 19, 2019
4:34 p.m. Eastern

PETER BEINART: Palestinians don't have to be saints in order to have the basic rights that all of us take for granted, right? Miftah has said things that I disagree with. They made an anti-Semitic statement that they apologized for. The point is when you go there, I say this as an American Jew. My children go to Jewish day school. I lead services in an orthodox synagogue. Judaism is the center of my life. The first time I went to spend time with Palestinians in the West Bank, it was a shattering experience. The only thing I could imagine would be similar for an American would be going to visit the Jim Crow South. When you see people living under the control of the state with no rights, they can not become citizens. They cannot vote for the control for the state that controls their lives. They do not have free movement. They need a pass to move from city to city. They live under a military legal system and the consequences are more brutal than we could imagine sitting here. So do I agree with Miftah? Of course not. I had a close friend who was killed in a suicide bombing but Palestinians — you could have made the same argument if you went to visit SNCC and said they were connected with communists and made anti-white statements. The point is what Ilhan Omar said is the most important, people need to go and see for themselves. I've never seen anyone whose gone and seen for themselves and not be transformed by the experience.

JOHN BERMAN: That, I think, is true and apolitical, that it is worth going to Israel, worth going to the West Bank so you can see for yourself. You get a real sense of the situation on the ground. Rich Lowry, on the subject of Miftah, the other side of that is that there has been a congressional trip that was led by Miftah before and the Israeli government let it happen. Now, it was before the law was passed but they didn't need a law to keep people out if they didn’t want to but they allowed it to happen before and now they are not and claiming it is because of the organization. 

RICH LOWRY: Well, obviously the proximate cause here was the Trump tweet, which highlighted this and made it a major issue but there is a law that allows Israel to ban foreigners who support the BDS movement to isolate and delegitimize Israel. It is not applied against members of congress before. It’s been applied against French politicians and against E.U. politicians but these are strong supporters of the BDS movement. They are not honest brokers. We wouldn't afford a white nationalist organization the leeway that Peter is giving this organization. Oh, they’re not saints. This is an anti-Semitic group that supported terrorism or blowing up innocent civilians and children and no matter what you think of the dispute between Palestinians and Israel, that is an illegitimate tactic that no one should associate with at Miftah. 

BERMAN: Want a quick response to that, Peter and I’ll bring you in.

BEINART: Sure, Hanan Ashrawi is actually very known as a nonviolent active, has been a critic of the Palestinian Authority, one of the most important Palestinian feminists. There are many Palestinians who believe that Palestinians have the right to use violence because of the daily violent oppression they feel. I disagree with them. I believe in only nonviolent protest but the point is every time any Palestinian leader or any Palestinian organization tries to expose what happens, this is exactly what happens. People try to — 

LOWRY: Well, what is —

BEINART: — try to discredit them because they don't want to talk about the real issue. The real issue is an absolutely indefensible denial of basic human rights.

LOWRY: — what’s that have to do with supporting terrorism? I mean, no one has any problem with harshly criticizing Israel. That’s fine, but you don't support blowing up innocent people. That’s just a bottom line —

BEINART: No —

LOWRY: — something we should all agree on.

BEINART: Of — of course not. The purpose behind focusing on this is distracting attention from the reality which is funded by American tax dollars. Our tax dollars blow up the homes of people who cannot get permits to build because they’re non-citizens under military law. 

LOWRY: Would this your standard for white nationalist organizations? 

BEINART: These — this is not — Hanan Ashrawi — 

LOWRY: Oh, they just say some racist things!?

BEINART: — I know Hanan. I’m sorry — sorry, Rich.

LOWRY: They support some terrorism, but that’s okay.

BEINART: With all due respect, you have not been there and seen this on the ground. I know Hanan Ashrawi. She is not even close to a white nationalist. She is someone seeking freedom for her people. 

LOWRY: Then why does the organization publish things supporting terrorism? 

BEINART: Rich, I disagree with violent resistance —

LOWRY: Yeah, but why do they —

BEINART: — because a lot of Palestinians believe that because they are subject to daily violence of a system which denies them basic rights, they have the right to respond violently. I disagree with them —

LOWRY: By killing innocent people.

BEINART: But if an African-American who supported violence against the United States under slavery or Jim Crow, that did not excuse their denial of basic rights because I disagree the tactic they were using to resist it. 

LOWRY: I mean, again, it is fine to harshly criticize Israel and the occupation, but I don't think anyone associated with the group that supports terrorism and this is in black and white. I mean, they publish this stuff. No one is forming them to publish this stuff.

BEINART: Many, many years ago there were certain things on her website.

LOWRY: And again, you not —

BEINART: Hanan Ashrawi has devoted her life as a nonviolent activist to opposing an oppression which none of us does not accord with the values that any of us believe in as Americans. 

LOWRY: So she doesn't control her own organization and what it publishes? 

BEINART: Rich, why don’t you try spending a little bit of time focusing on the fact that almost $4 billion of U.S. aid is used to put children in detention. 

LOWRY: You're the one — you’re the one distracting from the issue. I’m asking you — 

BEINART: No, no, this is the issue.

LOWRY: I’m asking you a couple questions, but you’re shouting and —

BEINART: You're distracting from the issue because National Review

LOWRY: — you’re shouting and interrupting me.

BEINART: — just because National Review

JOHN BERMAN: One at a time.

BEINART: — supported apartheid and just as you defended segregation, you now defend Israel's oppression of Palestinian basic rights. 

LOWRY: I —

BEINART: It’s a tradition for you guys. 

LOWRY: — look. If an organization supports terrorism, that organization should be beyond the pale and I don’t see why it’s even an argument.

BEINART: And when Palestinians protest nonviolently — when they protest nonviolently —

LOWRY: So — so you’re saying —

BEINART: — you discredit them as well. 

LOWRY: — so you’re saying that, in some sense, that justifies terrorism?

BEINART: Of course —

LOWRY: Because they’re not getting what they want nonviolently?

BEINART: — it doesn't justify terrorism. I've said again and again I disagree with terrorism. What I’m saying is you’re trying to distract from the real issue. The real issue is American complicity in the denial of basic Palestinian rights.

BERMAN: And we're going to leave this — guys —

LOWRY: Well then, what’s the content of your opposition mean if you won’t condemn this organization?

BEINART: Rich, release go there yourself. 

BERMAN: — we’re going to leave that there.

NB Daily Middle East Israel/Palestine Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CNN The Lead National Review Video Peter Beinart John Berman Rich Lowry Rashida Tlaib Ilhan Omar
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