NY Democrat Drops Scathing Rebuttal On ‘Holier-Than-Thou’ Peter Beinart In Brutal Debate on Israel and Hamas

Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., questions witnesses during a hearing of a special House committee dedicated to countering China, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in Washington.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Democratic Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY) pulled no punches during a debate with progressive columnist Peter Beinart this week regarding Israel and the Palestinians.

The debate kicked off after Torres shared a widely condemned clip of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “The so-called “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas denies the antisemitism of Adolf Hitler, falsely claiming that Hitler “fought the Jews because they were dealing with usury and money.” With “moderates” like these, who needs extremists?” wrote Torres on Twitter, adding:

There is and has long been a deep rot of antisemitism at the core of Mahmoud Abbas, whose Jew-hatred and corruption have only served to perpetuate the suffering of his own people while lining his own pockets. Abbas is a moral disgrace.

Abbas’s comments were condemned by the European Union and Deborah Lipstadt, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, who dubbed them “hateful, antisemitic remarks.”

Beinart replied to Torres’s tweet, adding, “Yes, @RitchieTorres, the comments are antisemitic + Abbas is a corrupt autocrat. Do you support elections so Palestinians can choose leaders who enjoy democratic legitimacy? Or do you think Israelis can choose their leaders (including reprehensible ones) but Palestinians can’t?”

Torres replied and accused Beinart of being an “ivory-towered intellectual” who harbors “dangerous delusions” regarding Hamas:

Most Americans see Hamas and see a terrorist organization. Peter Beinart sees Hamas and sees “democratic legitimacy.”

Does it matter to you, Peter, that Hamas openly calls for the destruction of Israel?

Does it matter to you that Hamas indiscriminately fires thousands of rockets against civilian populations in Israel? Terrorist organizations that govern their people at gunpoint have no democratic legitimacy.

But Peter, if you’re so convinced of the “democratic legitimacy” of Hamas, try living under its “democracy.” Or are you nothing more than an ivory-towered intellectual who would prefer to have others, with far less power and privilege, live with the consequences of your dangerous delusions?

Beinart, a former editor of The New Republic, quickly responded, “Richie-No lectures please: Hamas murdered a friend of mine. Fatah has killed innocents too. In the W Bank, the IDF enforces apartheid. But you’re evading my question: If Palestinians don’t have the right to vote for Hamas, why do Israelis have the right to vote for Ben-Gvir?”

Torres dropped the hammer and replied:

Peter: No lectures? You are quick to lecture others, so I find it striking that the pot is suddenly calling the kettle black.

The fact that you are ascribing “democratic legitimacy” to the very terrorist organization, Hamas, that murdered your friend makes your comments more shameful, not less.

As for your question about the odious Ben Gvir: Do I think Ben Gvir is the moral equivalent of Hamas, which fires thousands of rockets against civilians in Israel, uses Palestinians as human shields, and throws gay people off of roofs?
No. Do I think Ben Gvir is a despicable disgusting dangerous demagogue who has no business being anywhere near public office? Yes.

Ben Gvir is a racist who despises people who look like me (not like you), so I do not need a holier-than-thou lecture on racism from the sainted Peter Beinart.

Itamar Ben-Gvir is currently Israel’s minister for national security and the leader of the far-right Jewish Party power. Ben-Gvir, known for his bombastic anti-Arab language, is a deeply polarizing figure in Israeli society, but a key ally propping up Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition.

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Alex Griffing is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Send tips via email: alexanderg@mediaite.com. Follow him on Twitter: @alexgriffing