Is Hillary More Gaffe-Prone Than Biden?
November 02, 2009
It's certainly starting to seem that way. Last week, in Pakistan she talked tough about the Pakistani government tolerating Al Qaeda and then immediately backpedaled. Then, this past weekend in Israel she seemed to indicate that the Obama administration was no longer demanding an immediate settlement freeze from the Israeli government before, a day later, walking back that statement during a luncheon in Morocco.
The Fork in J Street
October 31, 2009
The self-declared mission of J Street, the dovish "pro-Israel, pro-Peace" lobby that just concluded its first national conference this week, includes redefining the meaning of the term "pro-Israel." For too long, the organization's founders and supporters argue, right-wing elements in the Jewish community have abused the term to hijack the debate and tarnish mainstream, sensible advocates of a two-state solution. J Street's "pro-Israel" bona fides were questioned almost immediately after its launch, and with good reason.
The famous blogger Matthew Yglesias was mentioned twice in the last few days on TNR online, once by Jon Chait on the Plank, another time by me on the Spine. Both were occasioned by Yglesias' involvement with J Street. Chait's mention was perfectly straightforward.
J Street's Choice
October 28, 2009
Yesterday I appeared on a panel at J Street, where I debated Matthew Yglesias on what it means to be pro-Israel, as well as J Street's role in this debate.
J Street is having an identity crisis right in front of the cameras. For a year and a half it's been trumpeting that it's both "pro-Israel" and "pro-peace." Actually, that's how I would characterize myself. I am for a two-state solution and always have been. I was for a "Jewish state" and an "Arab state" ever since I was a kid. That's ultimately what nearly every Israeli prime minister has been for, too. And that's what Israel has been trying in different ways and in different circumstances to negotiate.
Trouble on J Street
October 27, 2009
This week I've been attending the first national conference of J Street, the "pro-Israel, pro-Peace" group which I first wrote about last year. I'm working on a longer piece about the organization's identity crisis that should appear sometime soon, but there have been two events thus far worthy of special note. First was the speech delivered by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism and one of the most prominent liberal Jews in the country.
If I Were Barack Obama, The People I’d Be Most Tee’d Off About Would Be J Street. And Maybe He is.
October 26, 2009
Now, everybody who reads me knows that I am not a big supporter of administration policy on the Middle East. But, then, I am not a big supporter of its foreign policy almost anywhere. No, let me correct that. Not "almost anywhere." But "anywhere." That said, I don't believe that President Obama is trying to weaken the United States or its allies.
The Moral Authority of Accusers: 1. The Fall of Human Rights Watch 2. The J Street Circle Jerk
October 21, 2009
Ours is an age when the moral authority of accusers is at its height. Also the moral authority of accusations. There was a time when accusations had to be proven. That requirement has long since passed. After all, why would anyone bear false witness? So everybody is a witness, especially those with phantasmagoric tales to tell, especially those who yearn to testify against liberal societies which have established and proven processes to alert their own demos about evil. There are many of these foul witnesses: some ideologues, some ideological liars, some resentful, some haters.
More On Human Rights Watch
October 20, 2009
To follow up on my item on Human Rights Watch, I slightly mischarcaterized HRW's reply. The organization didn't say that the vast majority of its reports were on othe countries, it said that about the vast majority of its Middle East/North Africa reports. That certainly narrows it down. But it still doesn't respond to the complaint, which is that the attention to Israel is disproportionate.
Former Human Rights Watch Prez: Enough With the Israel Obsession
October 20, 2009
I don't know how I missed this, and I really don't know how Marty missed this, but it seems pretty significant that Robert Bernstein, the former president of Human Rights Watch, had an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times accusing his former organization of anti-Israel bias: When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency, casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies. Nowhere is this more evident than in its work in the Middle East.