THE PLANK JUNE 3, 2007
Readers of The Plank might be interested to compare the Nation editorial that James Kirchick excoriates with the positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that The New Republic has taken over the years. The two magazines have often disagreed on particulars, but like The Nation, The New Republic has long been on record supporting a two-state solution to the conflict. While harshly criticizing PLO leader Yasir Arafat and the current leadership of Hamas, the magazine has also recognized that the mainstream of Palestinian as well as Israeli opinion backs a two-state solution. That includes the leadership of Fatah. Even Uzi Arad, former foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyhu, wrote in these pages in 2005 that "by now, even most Palestinians--who, in previous decades, rejected a two-state solution--have recently come to accept the formula."
Kirchick also cites Christopher Hitchens's opinion about The Nation. I would suggest that readers treat with care and circumspection Hitchens's claims about what people have privately told him while looking instead at the actual public statements that Hitchens and the editors of The Nation made about the invasion and occupation of Iraq. What one find is Htichens applauding and The Nation criticizing a foreign policy that has turned into an unmitigated disaster.
A final word: Writers at The New Republic have consistently criticized left-wing blogs for taking a sectarian take-no-prisoners attitude toward publications and organizations on the center-left or center with whom they disagree, including The New Republic and the Democratic Leadership Council. This statement by Kirchick exemplifies the same kind of behavior, although from the right toward the left.
--John B. Judis