Obama Made The Construction Moratorium The Issue That It Is. Now the Palestinians Are Stuck With It. And So Is He.
October 01, 2010
Every so often I sit down with a Palestinian contact of mine, and he unburdens himself. About the “blind to opportunity” Palestinian leadership, about the “incorrigible” Israelis and about the “knows from nothing” president of the United States. The “blind to opportunity” phenomenon is an old story. The most egregious instance of it was the Palestinian rejection of Ehud Barak’s initiative, coached and coaxed by Bill Clinton, at Camp David in 2000.
Preparing for a Showdown in the Middle East This Fall
July 08, 2010
In his session with the press after an Oval Office discussion with Prime Minister Netanyahu. President Obama said, “We expect ... proximity talks to lead to direct talks, and I believe that the government of Israel is prepared to engage in such ... talks.” Indeed it is, without further ado and without preconditions. But it takes two to tango, and the Palestinians have steadfastly refused to initiate such talks unless Israel agrees to a complete settlement freeze in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
I’ve Never Seen Israel Like This
June 27, 2010
Jerusalem—I visit Israel at least once a year, so I have an opportunity to observe changes in the country's concerns. Never before have I sensed such a mood of foreboding, which has been triggered by two issues above all—the looming impasse in relations with the United States and a possible military confrontation with Iran. In response to American pressure that began shortly after President Obama took office, the Netanyahu government agree last November to a temporary and partial freeze on construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which averted an immediate crisis.
Andrew Sullivan's Binary Thinking
June 14, 2010
Last week I expressed some frustration that so many critics on my left insist upon mischaracterizing my beliefs on the Middle East. Andrew Sullivan replies by... mischaracterizing my beliefs on the Middle East. He concludes that my "bottom line is still that of a neocon Likudnik." He reaches that conclusion through a series of erroneous inferences. I'll go through his points one by one: 1.
May 21, 2010
Embarrassment is an important element in the pedagogy of experience. There are mistakes I will never make again because I made them once and was usefully shamed. In the winter of 1974, when I was a bright and callow student, and did not yet grasp the difference between knowledge and knowingness, I endured such a lucky education at the hands of Diana Trilling. The subject was the danger of simplification in the intellectual engagement with politics.
I Know I Am Harping On The President’s Israel Policy. But That’s Exactly What I Should Be Doing And What I Aim To Do.
March 19, 2010
Frankly, it’s a little bit embarrassing to be citing the Commentary crowd so often. But the fact is that the other powerful venues which seem to understand that the Palestinians do not really want peace--or act as if they don’t--are few and far between. Yes, there is the Washington Post, where Jackson Diehl, Charles Krauthammer, and Chuck Lane analyze what everyone can (but most refuse to) see or describe. Then, of course, there are the editorials, the collective voice of the Post, which strike an independent voice free of Arabisant cant and America bashing.
Juan Cole's Mania
March 18, 2010
One of the odd things about people with very left-wing views on the Middle East is that they're obsessed with the political influence of American Jews yet almost completely unfamiliar with the actual beliefs of the subject of their obsession.
What's Obama Up To In Israel?
March 16, 2010
Jeff Goldberg has the analytic scoop: I've been on the phone with many of the usual suspects (White House and otherwise), and I think it's fair to say that Obama is not trying to destroy America's relations with Israel; he's trying to organize Tzipi Livni's campaign for prime minister, or at least for her inclusion in a broad-based centrist government. I'm not actually suggesting that the White House is directly meddling in internal Israeli politics, but it's clear to everyone -- at the White House, at the State Department, at Goldblog -- that no progress will be made on any front if
Goldfarb Vs. J Street
February 17, 2010
P.R. flack Michael Goldfarb, writing in the Weekly Standard, has an item entitled "Israel to J Street: We Know You're Not Pro-Israel." The basis for this turns out to be a comment from Danny Ayalon, to wit: "The thing that troubles me is that they don't present themselves as to what they really are. They should not call themselves pro-Israeli." Who is Danny Ayalon? He's the deputy to the disgraceful racist Avigdor Lieberman. Ayalon himself took it upon himself to bizarrely humiliate the Turkish ambassador on Israeli television. In short, he's a total buffoon.
Islamists Claim Russian Bomb
December 04, 2009
The Financial Times reported yesterday that a group loyal to Doku Umarov, a leading Chechen Islamist, confessed to an Islamist website that it was behind the bomb that killed 26 people on the Moscow-St.Petersburg railroad a week ago. Of course, the FT did not label Umarov a terrorist. I don't know how many innocents you have to murder to actually be labeled what you are. Russia inferentially confirmed the Islamists’ boast. According to The Jerusalem Post, it has asked Israel to help in its investigation.