Israel

A Question for Hillary Mann Leverett
November 02, 2009

Last week, I wrote about a panel at the inaugural convention of the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" organization J Street, in which former Bush NSC staffer Hillary Mann Leverett said the following: Too often, Iran's security concerns are dismissed in the U.S. and in Israel as false or manufactured, reinforcing the stereotype of Iranians as chronically duplicitous and unprepared to keep any commitment they enter into. ...  Those stereotypes are simply not supported by the historical record. ...

Dear Rahm: Barack Obama and Yitzhak Rabin, The Link That Will Not Help
November 02, 2009

This coming Wednesday will be the 14th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin at a Tel Aviv rally for the Oslo peace accords. Like the initial rally itself, the memorial--scheduled for Saturday, October 31, but postponed due to what turned out to be only light rains--was to be a highly charged political event. Except that in 1995, Israel was still stirred by hopes of bringing the decades of war with the Arabs to an end. Yet, at the same time, foreboding grew that these hopes themselves constituted a trap, a mortal trap.

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.

Welcome, Matthew Yglesias, to the Zionist Fold. A Correction and an Apology
October 28, 2009

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.

Go Ahead and Admit It. Say You're "Pro-Palestinian." Just See Where It Gets You.
October 27, 2009

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.

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