Peter Beinart Is Wrong to Reject Zionism | Opinion

Since its January debut, one unintended consequence of President Trump's plan for peace in the Middle East is that it has forced Israel's detractors to shed their veneer of support for Israeli and Palestinian self-determination. The Trump proposal is realistic, ensures Israel has defensible borders and offers the Palestinians a chance to determine their own future. Such a proposal is incredibly damaging to those who have hid their opposition to Israel's existence behind "support" for the Palestinian people.

Anti-Zionists tend to follow an identical public relations path. As a case in point, consider Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and recent statements made by Jewish Currents Editor-at-Large Peter Beinart.

They initially claim to seek peace in the region, condemning Israel's justifiable reaction to terrorism, forgiving (and in Abbas's case, financing) every Palestinian act of terrorism and exclusively blaming Israel for all the region's ills. They do all this, they claim, in pursuit of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. But as soon as a realistic or concrete peace proposal is presented, these "peaceniks" balk—and their true aim, the end of the modern Zionist endeavor, is laid bare.

Abbas' dismissal of the Trump peace proposal is consistent with decades of Palestinian rejectionism. Likewise, Beinart's recent New York Times op-ed declaring support for a binational Palestinian-Israeli state should come as no surprise to anyone—especially those who have watched his antagonistic view of Israel put increasingly on display. There is no great leap from advocating for a "two-state solution," which puts the entire burden of sacrifice on Israel and leaves the Jewish state with indefensible borders, to advocating for the complete elimination of Israel. In fact, often those who denigrate Israel, while claiming to be pro-peace and pro-Palestinian, end up nakedly advocating for Israel's destruction when an end to hostilities is actually on the table.

The cornerstone of Beinart's argument is that by creating one binational state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, Palestinians will abandon terrorism. And he treats it as newsworthy that a majority of Palestinians would support such an outcome. The PA's end goal has always been the destruction of Israel. Demands of a Palestinian so-called "right of return" have always been an effort to achieve through demographics what the Palestinians have thus far failed to achieve through violence: the destruction of the Jewish state.

Portrait of Theodor Herzl in
Portrait of Theodor Herzl in Israel's Independence Hall Museum JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Beinart hopes that after ending Israel's existence, Palestinians who have spent decades being indoctrinated into anti-Semitism will lay down their arms. He's not likely correct, but it's not a question that will ever be definitively answered. Because the people of Israel will not put their future in the hands of any other people group—especially one that has spent generations seeking to wipe them out.

And Mr. Beinart would do well to recall that both the Jewish and Palestinian people have an unalienable right to self-determination—which is precisely what the Trump peace proposal acknowledges.

Beinart, and many other allegedly liberal individuals concerned with Middle Eastern peace, have long claimed to support a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The fine print associated with this bumper sticker diplomacy reveals that this approach would not be two peoples living side-by-side in peace and harmony, but rather, a Palestinian entity that would cleanse—either by violence or demographics—the Middle East of a Jewish state.

Those who seek a sustainable end to Palestinian-Israeli hostilities should welcome President Trump's proposal, if for no other reason than it has shown that Israel's right-leaning government and America's Republican president broadly agree with the Israeli and American liberals on the overarching formula for achieving an end to hostilities.

No, not all those who dislike President Trump's peace proposal seek the Jewish state's destruction. But the trouble for Beinart, and others who overtly or covertly oppose the existence of a Jewish state, is that the Trump peace proposal leaves everyone—Israelis and Palestinians alike—in their homes, enables the Palestinians to choose a peaceful, prosperous and demilitarized future, and ensures Israel will continue to exist as a Jewish state.

If one's goal is the destruction of the Jewish state, then the Trump peace proposal's realistic approach, and Israel's immediate embrace of the plan, is as bad—if not worse—as every other Israeli effort to offer the Palestinians their own independent and peaceful future because it, yet again, exposes the Palestinians' sole motive: Israel's elimination.

The lesson of both Beinart and Abbas' reaction to the Trump peace proposal is clear and needs to be remembered. Now that a realistic goal is in sight, Palestinian leaders and alleged intellectuals aren't just moving the goalposts—they're walking off the field. And they're doing so not because they support the Palestinian people, but because they reject the right and necessity of a Jewish state to exist in the Jewish people's ancestral homeland.

Pastor John Hagee is the founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.