Peter Beinart

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Peter Beinart
Peter Beinart cropped.jpg
Beinart in June 2010
Peter Alexander Beinart

Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
EducationYale University (BA)
University College, Oxford (MPhil)
Spouse(s)Diana Robin Hartstein (m. 2003; 2 children)[1]
FamilyRobert Brustein (step-father)

Peter Alexander Beinart (/ˈbnərt/; born 1971) is an American columnist, journalist, and liberal political commentator. A former editor of The New Republic, he has written for Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books among other periodicals, and is the author of three books. He is associate professor of journalism and political science at City University of New York. He is a senior columnist at Haaretz. He also is a contributor to The Atlantic and National Journal, and programs on CNN.

Early life and education[edit]

Beinart was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1971. His parents were Jewish immigrants from South Africa (his maternal grandfather was from Russia, and his maternal grandmother, who was Sephardic, was from Egypt).[2][3][4] His father's parents were from Lithuania.[5] His mother, Doreen (née Pienaar), is a former director of the Harvard's Human Rights film series at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and his father, Julian Beinart, is a former professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[1] His stepfather is theatre critic and playwright Robert Brustein.[6] Beinart attended Buckingham Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge. He then studied history and political science at Yale University, where he was a member of the Yale Political Union, and graduated in 1993. He was a Rhodes Scholar at University College, Oxford University, where he earned an M.Phil. in international relations in 1995.[7]


Beinart worked at The New Republic as the managing editor from 1995 to 1997, then as senior editor till 1999, and as the magazine's editor from 1999 to 2006. For much of that time he also wrote The New Republic's signature "TRB" column, which was reprinted in the New York Post and other newspapers. From 2007 till 2009 he was a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Beinart is Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York and a Schwartz Senior Fellow at New America. He has written for Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and other periodicals. Occasionally Beinart has appeared on various TV news discussion programs.[7] His achievements at a very young age have earned him the accolade "wunderkind".[8][9] In March 2012 he launched a new blog, "Open Zion", at Newsweek/The Daily Beast.[10] He was also a senior political writer for The Daily Beast.

In 2012 Beinart was included on Foreign Policy magazine's list of 100 top global thinkers.[11]

Israeli liberal newspaper Haaretz announced on November 4, 2013, that Beinart would be hired as a columnist beginning January 1, 2014.[12] The same day, the Atlantic Media Company said he would join National Journal and write for The Atlantic's website beginning in January. Beinart would cease operating his blog at The Daily Beast.[13]

In August 2018, Beinart was detained by Shin Bet at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport and questioned about his presence at West Bank protests and outspoken criticism of the Israeli government's policies toward the Palestinians. Beinart called his experience "trivial" when compared to the experiences of others, particularly Palestinians and Palestinian Americans who travel through Israel's main airport.[14][15] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Israeli security forces and was told that Beinart's detention was an administrative mistake, and that the country "welcomes all—critics and supporters alike."[16]

Works and views[edit]

Beinart is the author of the book The Good Fight: Why Liberals—and Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again, published in 2006. Drawing upon the work of the mid-century American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, Beinart argues that, paradoxically, the only way for America to distinguish itself from the predatory imperial powers of the past is to acknowledge its own capacity for evil.

Beinart was a vocal supporter of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, but by 2006, as he published his first book, he "had concluded that it had been a tragic mistake". His second book, The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris, published in 2010, "look[ed] back at the past hundred years of U.S. foreign policy in the baleful light of recent events [and found] the ground littered with ... the remnants of large ideas and unearned confidence [as demonstrable in] a study of three needless wars", World War I, the Vietnam War, and the Iraq War.[8]

In his 2010 essay "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment" in the New York Review of Books,[17] Beinart argued that the tensions between liberalism and Zionism in the U.S. may tear the two historically linked concepts apart. He argued that by abetting Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, American Jewish leaders risk alienating generations of younger American Jews who find the occupation morally wrong and incompatible with their liberal politics.[2] He expanded on this argument in his 2012 book The Crisis of Zionism.

Beinart has warned that greater military engagement against ISIS could be detrimental to America.[18]

In a 2018 essay in The Atlantic, he wrote that Trump voters care more about murder by illegal immigrants than about the cover-up of the president's affairs.[19] He also wrote in 2018 that there is rising authoritarian nationalism in many countries with diverse situations. The conditions include both booming and poor economies, with only some concerned about immigration. He said the true common thread among right-wing autocrats is both a hostility to liberal democracy and the desire to subordinate women.[20][21] Beinart also attracted criticism for proposing that America secure peace in East Asia by allowing Mainland China to control Taiwan.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Since 2003, Beinart has been married to Diana Robin Hartstein, a lawyer. They live with their two children in New York City.[7] He keeps kosher,[2] regularly attends an Orthodox synagogue, and sends his children to a Jewish school.[23]


  • The Crisis of Zionism. New York, NY: Times Books. 2012. ISBN 978-0-8050-9412-1.
  • The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris. New York, NY: HarperCollins. 2010. ISBN 978-0-06-145646-6.
  • Peter Beinart (June 10, 2010). "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment". The New York Review of Books.
  • The Good Fight: Why Liberals—and Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror. New York, NY: HarperCollins. 2006. ISBN 978-0-06-084161-4.


  1. ^ a b "Weddings and Celebrations; Diana Hartstein, Peter Beinart". The New York Times. October 26, 2003. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Allison Hoffman (March 22, 2012). "Lightning Rod". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  3. ^ "Rebecca Goldberg, the Northeast Regional Director USD/Hagshama (University Student Division) of the World Zionist Organization".
  4. ^ Beinart, Peter (28 March 2012). "Rethinking Zionism".
  5. ^ Beinart, Peter (December 16, 2016). "The Day My Father Lost His Country". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  6. ^ "Weddings and Celebrations; Jean Beinart and Craig Stern". The New York Times. June 12, 2005. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c "Peter Beinart profile". The New America Foundation. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  8. ^ a b George Packer (June 28, 2010). "Air America: Peter Beinart's The Icarus Syndrome ..." The New Yorker. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  9. ^ Jane Eisner (March 28, 2012). "Peter Beinart's problematic 'Zionist BDS' proposal". The Guardian. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  10. ^ Marc Tracy (March 9, 2012). "Beinart Launches Daily Beast Blog. 'Zion Square' touts Israeli, Palestinian, U.S. perspectives on the Mideast". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  11. ^ "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. 28 November 2012. Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  12. ^ "Peter Beinart to join Haaretz as senior columnist". Haaretz. November 4, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  13. ^ Byers, Dylan (November 4, 2013). "Peter Beinart leaving Daily Beast for The Atlantic Media Company, Haaretz". Politico. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  14. ^ "Israel questions prominent Jewish-American critic at airport". Associated Press. August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  15. ^ Beinart, Peter (August 13, 2018). "Peter Beinart: I Was Detained At Ben Gurion Airport Because Of My Beliefs". The Forward. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  16. ^ Weber Rosen, Jonathan (August 14, 2018). "LEFT-WING COLUMNIST PETER BEINART DETAINED AT BEN-GURION AIRPORT". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  17. ^ Peter Beinart (June 10, 2010). "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  18. ^ Beinart, Peter. "Attacking ISIS Won't Make Americans Safer".
  19. ^ Beinart, Peter. "Why Trump Supporters Believe He Is Not Corrupt".
  20. ^ Beinart, Peter (2018-12-12). "The New Authoritarians Are Waging War on Women". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2018-12-24.
  21. ^ Palmer, Anna; Sherman, Jake; Lippman, Daniel. "POLITICO Playbook: Zinke is out, and Mulvaney will be the next chief". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-12-24.
  22. ^ "Let's Wake up the Left on Taiwan".
  23. ^ Peter Beinart (March 18, 2012). "To Save Israel, Boycott the Settlements". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2012.

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