And I don’t mean that in a cute way. Why is he continuously allowed to voice his fatuous, pseudo-racist opinions in the pages of an otherwise respectable magazine like The New Republic?
Case in point, Peretz talking about recent diplomacy on Syria (more on that in another post):
Frankly, I don’t trust Damascus one inch. And, yes, I believe that countries that relentlessly attack others (as Syria did Israel for two decades) should be deprived of the territory from which they launched their weapons. The Golan has very good wines and very beautiful people, peaceful people, both Jews and Druze.
The man is entitled to be a right-wing Zionist, but why the arrogance, the condescension, the subtle racism? Druze are the peaceful people, according to Peretz, as opposed to their belligerent Arab cousins, the Muslims of Syria.
And then there’s this from a previous Peretz post:Nearly sixty-two years ago the Arab states–acting for themselves but speaking with forked tongues for the Arabs of Palestine–rejected the Partition Plan that emerged circuitously: 1. from the 1917 Balfour Declaration and 2. from the League of Nations mandate, intended to establish the Jewish national home. Oh, you forgot? The Arabs would get Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq etc; the Jews would get Palestine. Pretty fair, it seems to me. Actually, the Zionists were lucky to have had Transjordan cut off in 1921 from Palestine by the great Christian Zionist Winston Churchill, about whom Michael Makovsky has written an incandescent piece of scholarship, Churchill’s Promised Land, published as a New Republic Book by Yale University Press.
I don’t really care for his argument that it would be “pretty fair” for the Arabs to get the rest of the Arab world, but have to evacuate Palestine. (That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in the Jewish state.) Peretz is entitled to his expansionist view of Zionism, but his invocation of “forked tongues” offends me. (And yes I know that it’s an idiom.)
Peretz sounds like somebody’s slightly embarrassing grandfather. In fact, his tenor reminds me of the old guys at my synagogue who always want to sing Hatikva as the closing song. I listen to these people talk about the Middle East and it makes me shudder–not because I hate Israel or don’t respect the opinions of people who are more conservative than I am, but because they sound old and stodgy and poorly informed and insensitive.