For how many decades will we pursue this diplomatic dead end? Mar 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 26 • By REUEL MARC GERECHT
To be outrageously iconoclastic among the Washington foreign-policy crowd is easy: Just suggest that the Israeli-Arab peace process is not merely pointless but actually damaging to America’s position in the Middle East and bad for both Israelis and Palestinians. Such a view is anathema not only to the liberal foreign-policy establishment, which instinctively does the peace process because Americans have been doing it for five decades (it’s what problem-solving, well-intentioned Americans do), but also to the establishment’s “realist” set, who usually view Israel as a strategic liability: Israel vs. 22 Arab countries; 6 million Jews vs. 425 million Arabs, with another billion Muslims howling from the bleachers.
Liberals and realists mix, of course, which is what we’ve got in Barack Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry. The president also gives off a whiff of a sentiment common on the left, especially in Europe and increasingly in Israel itself: The creation of Israel denationalized the Palestinians. America supported Israel’s birth, but failed, so the argument goes, to give equal justice to the Palestinians. And without justice for the Palestinians, the Middle East will not be stable. It’s a stunning tribute to the perdurability of this belief that even after the Great Arab Revolt—which has roiled the entire region, unleashing in Egypt the rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood and a new wave of fascism; in Syria, regime savagery and virulent Islamic militancy; and in the Gulf, Mesopotamia, and the Levant, a Sunni-Shiite rivalry that could well provoke the spread of nuclear weapons—serious people in Washington want to spend America’s capital on talks between West Bank Palestinians and the Israelis, neither of whom appear to care as much about these discussions as American officials.
Some do want to move beyond the peace process. In Europe, and in many academic quarters in the United States, Israel’s birth is akin to original sin, a naqba or calamity as the Arabs put it, which now can be relieved only by a “one-state solution”—the Jewish homeland ceases to exist—since the Israelis simply will not make the concessions necessary for a “two-state solution” to work. The one-state solution, like the two-state approach advanced by Westerners feeling guilty about the Palestinians’ plight, has a strong moral pull for its advocates since they see Palestinian claims as at least equal to Jewish ones. Israel’s founding generation mostly fled lethal anti-Semitism in Europe and the Middle East. But anti-Semitism wouldn’t have become so acute among Muslims, many suggest, if modern Israel had never been born. Therefore Jewishness ought to be the minority identity in the Holy Land. By their years in residence and their numbers, Arabs have the more compelling case.
It’s astonishing that thoughtful people can actually advocate this scenario. (See the former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent Hugh Pope’s memoir, Dining with Al-Qaeda, for a straightforward expression of a sophisticated Brit’s exasperation with Israeli “intransigence.”) Even the briefest trip to Israel, where rampant individualism and muscular capitalism have transformed a rather primitive socialist state into an economic, military, and cultural powerhouse, should suggest that the Jewish state isn’t going to self-immolate because of European distaste and Israeli angst. But bad ideas are sticky when fueled by Western guilt.
Although many anti-Zionists in America and especially abroad back the “peace process” as a way of righting a perceived wrong and, sometimes, camouflaging old-fashioned anti-Semitism, it is actually well-wishers of Israel who regard peace-processing as the eleventh commandment. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy both view the Middle East through an Israeli security lens, and both adamantly hope for a happy outcome through multilateral, American-guided diplomacy. Among members of the influential American Jewish Committee, which works hard to protect Jews worldwide, the peace process is almost as sacred as the determination to be politically bipartisan. American Jewry may not be overwhelmed by arguments about Palestinian rights, but it wants Israel to be secure, and the peace process is seen as the only path, however tortuous, to the permanent normalization of Israel’s existence.
6:44 AM, Feb 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
David Horovitz, writing for the Times of Israel:
US Secretary of State John Kerry may feel heartfelt concern about the growing campaign to delegitimize Israel and to boycott it. One of the least smart and least constructive ways to tackle the danger, however, is by issuing an anguished public prediction that this is what awaits Israel if his peace effort fails.
2:37 PM, Feb 3, 2014 • By ARYEH TEPPER
David Ignatius has been writing from Israel recently. His column from late last week included the following passage illustrating why Israeli-Palestinian peace might "still prove insoluble":
4:23 PM, Jan 13, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama talked briefly about the Iran nuclear deal and said "give peace a chance." Via the pool report:
Pres. Obama said the implementation agreement finalized over the weekend gives the parties "the time and space" to reach a comprehensive accord.
"It's going to be difficult, it's going to be challenging, but ultimately this is how diplomacy should work."
"If Iran is willing to walk through the door of opportunity that's presented to them" then the country and its people will benefit.
12:00 PM, Dec 16, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid Secretary of State John Kerry a backhanded compliment in a recent speech to the Union for Reform Judaism.
With the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Middle East diplomacy has entered its mannerist phase.3:10 PM, Jul 31, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
John Kerry says he can get an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement within nine months that would lead to an independent Palestinian state.
6:25 PM, Jul 30, 2013 • By NOAH POLLAK
Secretary of State John Kerry added to the already ample fanfare surrounding the launch of talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators by holding a press conference yesterday to introduce his new special envoy to the peace process, Martin Indyk.
12:21 PM, Jul 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama has released a statement calling for Israeli-Palestinians "talks in good faith and with sustained focus and determination."
10:01 AM, Jul 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Secretary of State John Kerry will host "an Iftar dinner for Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni," according to a copy of his schedule released by the State Department. The dinner will also be attended by "Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat."
The event will be closed to the press.
Kerry's schedule for today reads:
8:44 AM, Jul 20, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
John Kerry tried to get the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to buck-up and smile. But he wasn't successful as he tries to broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Apparently, the Palestinians believe Kerry is giving too much favor to the Israelis. As the Los Angeles Times reports:
9:04 AM, Jul 17, 2013 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
This week the EU took a stance that it heralded as pro-peace, pro-"peace process," and anti-settlement. Henceforth, new guidelines require all 28 member nations to refuse any grants, scholarships, prizes, or funding to entities in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Or any part of Jerusalem that was not part of Israel prior to the 1967 war. Or the Golan Heights.
3:30 PM, Apr 16, 2013 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
The effort to build a modern Palestinian state that will live in peace with Israel suffered a great setback last week when pressure from both Fatah and Hamas forced the resignation of the Palestinian Authority prime Minister, Salam Fayyad.
12:15 PM, Mar 21, 2013 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
President Obama spoke to the Israeli people today, at the Jerusalem Convention Center. His remarks moved his administration toward the pre-Obama consensus views of the Clinton and Bush administrations, indeed at several points echoing Bush’s 2008 speech to the Knesset. But he presented a view of the chances for peace with the Palestinians that was far rosier than reality permits—or than he may really believe.
Kurdistan prospers, even as pressure from Baghdad grows Mar 4, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 24 • By DAVID DEVOSS
Two years after the self-immolation of a street vendor protesting police corruption in Tunisia, the promise of the Arab Spring remains unrealized. Instead of ushering in an era of stable self-determination, much of the Middle East remains in disarray. Syria is in flames, Egypt almost ungovernable. Libyan terrorists responsible for the Benghazi massacre are still at large, and Tunisia soon could have its second government in as many years.