The Hubris of Peter Beinart

When Peter Beinart published his now notorious New York Review of Books article in June, I knew that a big book contract would be in the offing, making him into next year’s version of Walt and Mearsheimer. There is nothing the official liberal establishment likes better than an American Jew who, speaking in the name of all good American Jews, blasts the current Israeli government, its defenders in the United States, and anyone who does not agree with him. I wrote about his article in this blog, and provided links to articles critical of Beinart by Noah Pollak and Jamie Kirchick.

Since his article and the publication of his book The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris, Beinart has revealed his own hubris in column after column written for The Daily Beast. But today he outdid himself, weighing in on the Ground Zero mosque controversy. And as anyone familiar with Beinart would know, he would support the building of the mosque and condemn anyone opposed to building it close to the site of the destroyed World Trade Center.

Pretending that he misses W., a man for whom he had nothing but disdain when he was president, Beinart now argues that at least Bush and the Republicans used to argue that most Muslims were “decent folks who wanted nothing more than to live free like you and me.” Bush administration spokesmen told the world that in America, Muslims were free to practice their religion. So Beinart declares, “I pine for George W. Bush,” a man who “respected religion, all religion.”

Beinart’s implication is that if one opposes the mosque being built on the proposed site near the World Trade Center, they are opposed to freedom of religion. He ignores the obvious point that Democrats like Sen. Harry Reid and other politicians of both parties are making. While freedom of religion is a right enjoyed by all Americans, that right does not mean that it must be exercised at all times and in all circumstances.  If the goal of the mosque is to bring people together, which its Imam says it is, then they have certainly failed.  But Beinart claims those opposed are all declaring “war on Islam.”