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Joe Klein Stands By His Story

6:24 PM, Dec 17, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Time's Joe Klein calls me "odious," but he can do better. I much preferred when he described me as a "Niagara of ignorance." In any case, he stands by his claim that "The Israelis have been difficult, as always: whenever [Middle East envoy George] Mitchell raises East Jerusalem in talks with the Israeli Foreign Minister, the Israeli stands up and walks out of the room." The only problem is that, contra Klein, it is not some odious, thuggish neocon with divided loyalties like myself who is calling his story a fiction. It is the Politico's Ben Smith, who quotes both the spokesman for the Israeli ambassador and an unnamed "senior U.S. official who has attended meetings with Lieberman and Mitchell." That official called Klein's claims "absurd" and "patently untrue." I'll take Smith's unnamed sources over Klein's any day of the week -- and so will the rest of Washington.

Klein also refuses to address, let alone retract, his now six month old claim that "the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is a triumph of diplomacy." Klein went on to say that "Releasing Shalit is a gesture by Hamas that clearly demands an Israeli response." Never mind that Hamas still holds Shalit hostage, Klein continues to demand an Israeli response anyway. But maybe Klein can bring up the conditions of Shalit's captivity in his next sit-down with Hamas terrorist in chief Khaled Meshall, for whom Klein never has an unkind word.

Update: Klein has since updated his post with this re Shalit:

Goldfarb is right that I was overly optimistic about Gidon Shalit's release last summer, taking a report in an Egyptian newspaper as fact. It is outrage that Shalit continues to be held by Hamas, a sign that Hamas--like the Likud party--really doesn't want to see a two-state solution. I hope he is released soon.

Overly optimistic about the intentions of Hamas -- you don't say.