Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler
Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Thursday, January 17.
It’s wrong to say “Jewish lobby”—not all Israelis are Jewish, and not
all Jews support Israeli policy—but the basic idea is sound. Hagel sees
himself as responsible for the interests of the United States.
Sometimes those intersect with the interests of Israel, and sometimes
Of course, this isn't the only reason that Hagel's critics are concerned
with his views. But Bouie misses an important point. The "Jewish lobby"
comment wasn't offensive because it was technically wrong, but because
it echoed an offensive canard.
George Will suggests a number of questions that senators ought to ask Hagel in his confirmation hearings. Two related questions are:
Yet discussion around Israel is so narrow that this was enough to cause
problems for his nomination. Which is to say that if there’s anything
good about Hagel’s nomination, it’s that if he’s confirmed, he might be
able to widen the scope of our discussion around Israel. That doesn’t
seem like much, but given the nature of the opposition inspired by
Hagel’s mild dissent, it’s a bigger step than it looks.
Did you refuse to sign a 2006 letter urging the European Union to
declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization because you consider that
designation inaccurate? From your 2009 endorsement of U.S. negotiations
with Hamas, can we conclude that you oppose the policy of not
negotiating with terrorists?
This is the problem with the view that Hagel is correctly putting
American, not Israeli interests first. For example, those who believe
that Israel should negotiate with Hamas, ignore that Hamas opposes peace
between Israel and the Palestinians, something declared to be in
In fact there's a very strong confluence between American and Israeli
interests. Those favoring Hagel also oppose such a strong alliance
between Israel and the United States. Often those people are identified
as anti-Israel. If Bouie means that a wider discussion of Israel means
accepting anti-Israel forces as pro-Israel his position is illogical.
(As an aside: there is an odd phenomenon when dealing with Israel.
Rarely do we see "pro-choice" activists trying to assume a "pro-life"
identity. Nor do we see many "pro-gun control" advocates claiming to be
"pro-gun rights." Only in the case of Israel is there a strong effort to
characterize people who are clearly "anti-Israel" as being
For the most part, Americans aren't buying this distinction. Instapundit noted:
The Post-ABC polls show 42 percent of Americans approve of the Chuck
Hagel nomination. This is poor by any historical measure. At the time of
her nomination, Hillary Clinton got the support of 71 percent of
Americans in a CNN poll taken in December, 2008, while 83 percent
approved of Robert Gates continuing as secretary of defense.
It's impossible to know to what degree Hagel's views on Israel shape his
low approval ratings. However, given that Americans are strongly pro-Israel, it can be assumed that Hagel's image is suffering from his antagonistic views towards Israel.
2) The Faithless Guarantors
In Murdered Diplomacy: How the Israel-Palestinian Conflict Has Been Totally Transformed, Barry Rubin writes:
In addition, we pointed out that the management of this whole
enterprise was feeding the PA’s notion that the “international
community” was recognizing its claim to every inch of the West Bank, the
Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem. And since they were entitled to all of
this land, they didn’t have to compromise on anything and didn’t need to
reach any agreement with Israel. This assumption, of course, guarantees
there won’t be any negotiated peace agreement at all.
By admitting "Palestine" as provisional state, the UN effectively gutted
the peace process. In doing so it ignored nineteen years of material
Israel concessions that have been met by Palestinian rejection and
In a May 2011 New York Times op-ed piece, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas laid out precisely what he has now done:
“Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the
internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a
political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims
against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the
International Court of Justice.” Palestine was not admitted as a member
but the recognition of it as a state was the important part.
In other words, the UN General Assembly’s action was the single most
effective sabotage to a two-state solution since the Palestine Arab
leadership’s rejection of a two-state solution based on partition in
1947. Much of the media, “experts,” and Western politicians will no
doubt blame Israel and especially the Netanyahu government for the
absence of a diplomatic miracle. In fact, though, Israel’s stances have
now been rendered irrelevant in this regard.
Lee Smith asks if Israel has become A far right electorate?
The popular belief that Israeli public opinion is moving radically to
the right “is profoundly untrue,” said Dan Schueftan, a visiting
professor at Georgetown who advised Israeli prime ministers from Yitzhak
Rabin to Ariel Sharon. Instead, they’ve adopted the central paradigms
of both the left and the right. “Most Israelis are very pessimistic
about reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians, and the Arabs in
general. This is a core paradigm of the right,” Schueftan told me. “And
yet a majority is willing to reach a compromise that would partition the
land into two states for two people. This is a core paradigm of the
left. They’re not saying we don’t want peace, but that even if they make
concessions they don’t think it will lead to peace.”
In general the lack of credit that Israel gets with regard to the peace process is reflected in the treatment of Netanyahu.
Israelis haven’t abandoned the dream of peace; they’ve faced reality and
are refusing to continue to pay lip service to an illusion. “The last
20 years have seen a process of depolarization,” said David Hazony of
the Israel Project. “Go back 20 years, and you had a peace camp that
believed peace was just around the corner. The other camp believed that
there was no partner for peace, and since there was no one to talk to
and we have a right to land, we should just take anything. But a series
of events took the wind out of both camps, like the Rabin assassination,
disengagement, the Second Intifada,” he added.
If the second Lebanon war and two wars in Gaza marked disillusionment
with the peace process, then Netanyahu’s 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan
University promoting the two-state solution marked, at last, the
acceptance of the idea in the political mainstream. Netanyahu, for all
the criticism he gets in the international press, should get credit for
leading even the Israeli right into philosophical acceptance of the
two-state solution. And perhaps Bibi’s infamous bluster has had its
purpose. While his belligerent rhetoric unnerves his many critics,
including world leaders, it’s helped keep Israel out of armed conflict.
He has presided over more economic success and less war than almost any
other Israeli leader in history.
When the same people who predicted peace and promised normalization
dismiss Israel's efforts as insufficient and excuse serial Palestinian
violations, why should Israelis continue to accept the premises that led
them to support the peace process in the first place? As Barry Rubin
pointed out, it isn't just that the international community excused
Palestinian rejectionism but actively abetted it! The guarantors are faithless and Israelis have no reason to trust them.
Labels: Chuck Hagel, Middle East Media Sampler, Middle East peace process, Palestinian state RIGHT NOW syndrome, Soccer Dad, two-state solution