February 10, 2011
It is an old adage that political opposites converge. But when it actually happens, it’s still a surprise. And in the last year or so, in Israel, it did: Extreme hawks on the right, and extreme anti-Zionists on the left, seem to have arrived at more or less the same plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The surprising change came from the right, which so far was vague on its vision of the future. What the moderate left wanted was clear for many years: a two-state solution.
How the Tea Party Is Wrecking Republican Foreign Policy
December 04, 2010
Now that the midterm elections are over and voices of the Tea Party will soon be established in Congress, the movement’s views on foreign policy will come under closer scrutiny, and the results may prove surprising, not least to the Tea Partiers themselves. Those views are far from Republican orthodoxy. On some issues, the Tea Partiers will predictably line up with the Republican leadership, but on others they may find they have more in common with Democrats. They may even provide Barack Obama with unexpected support.
Many Ways to be a Jewish State
November 15, 2010
When Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, spoke to some 60 influential Jewish-Americans in the Plaza’s Edwardian Room on September 21, the first question came from World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder, who pushed Abbas on whether he was prepared to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Mr. Lauder was echoing a demand repeatedly made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the last year and a half. Judging from Mr.
July 07, 2010
As a candidate for president, George W. Bush famously promised to pursue a “humble” foreign policy. The events of 9/11—for Bush akin to a conversion experience—swept humility by the board. The 43rd president found his true calling: Providence was summoning him to purge the world of evil. When it came to fulfilling this mission, Bush’s subsequent efforts yielded precious little. Recklessness compounded by profound incompetence became the hallmark of his administration.
What Went On Between Obama and Netanyahu?
July 06, 2010
Well, there was no divorce between the U.S. and Israel. And there was even some respect, if not affection. Affections, we know, is kept for the Arabs. But this was not quite the venue for showering kisses on the Palestinians. After they are still maintaining the distance of "proximity" talks which means Abbas in Ramallah with Netanyahu and his team in Jerusalem. That's six miles apart, very remote miles. And it's the Palestinians who are keeping the distance. Barry Rubin, a real expert and a true scholar, is not fooled by anyone. This is still the beginning of a long road.
June 09, 2010
Tel Aviv, Israel — There once was a very successful campaign in Israel for road safety. Its slogan was, “On the road, don’t be right, be smart." The day after the flotilla raid last week, more than one pundit in the Israeli press brought up the slogan. We’re right, they said, but why can’t we also be smart? The raid was by no means smart. Israel blindly stepped into a p.r. campaign orchestrated by Turkey and Hamas, doing enormous damage to its own international image and credibility. But the raid was not an isolated incident.
June 03, 2010
Eric Alterman uses his Nation column to rehash the debate between me and Peter Beinart. Alterman characterizes my argument in two ways. remarkably, both times he describes me as arguing the opposite of what I actually wrote. Here's Alterman: Chait thinks Beinart is naïve—an odd criticism, Beinart notes, coming from someone who contends that Benjamin Netanyahu is sincerely dedicated to the goal of a Palestinian state.
Operation Make the World Hate Us
June 03, 2010
Israel does not need enemies: it has itself. Or more precisely: it has its government. The Netanyahu-Barak government has somehow found a way to lose the moral high ground, the all-important war for symbols and meanings, to Hamas. That is quite an accomplishment. Operation Make the World Hate Us, it might have been called. I leave it to others to make the operational criticisms of the Israeli action, and will say only that even my amateurish understanding of the tactical challenge posed by the interdiction of the boats suffices to suggest that there were other ways to do this.
April 13, 2010
Since I have no reason to believe that Benjamin Netanyahu is bluffing about his readiness to attack the nuclear facilities of Iran, I find his recent behavior incomprehensible. In the wake of an Israeli attack, terrible things will almost certainly happen. There will be another war with Hezbollah, whose missiles will this time reach Tel Aviv. The Iranians may themselves respond directly with force. The price of oil will explode, afflicting ordinary people everywhere with the consequences of Israel’s strike, and provoking a new revulsion against Israel, and also against the United States.
The Party Line
April 07, 2010
Russia and the Arabs: Behind the Scenes in the Middle East from the Cold War to the Present By Yevgeny Primakov Translated by Paul Gould (Basic Books, 418 pp., $29.95) Over the decades, many people in the West, and certainly most Israelis, came to view the Soviet Union and then Russia as a force for ill, if not evil, in the Middle East, and perhaps farther afield as well.