September 2011 Archives

Not a "settlement"

This statement, by Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev, bears repeating as often as is necessary (and that's a lot), so please copy, paste and disseminate:

Gilo is not a settlement nor an outpost. It is a neighborhood in the very heart of Jerusalem about five minutes from the center of town.
As he goes on to point out, there has been no peace proposal made or discussed since Oslo in which Gilo does not end up on the Israeli side of whatever border may finally be drawn.  This is not going to change.  Not if they build 1100 more housing units, not if they build 11,000 more housing units.

The Arab outrage over building in Gilo, as well as the nauseating echo coming from the US State Department and the EU, betrays an agenda that has nothing to do with peace and everything to do with making absurd and impossible demands to which no sovereign nation could possibly be expected to acquiesce.  In a word (or two), it's the essence of bad faith.
Via David Bernstein at Volokh:

Lots of folks couldn't believe that John Mearsheimer, distinguished international relations professor at the University of Chicago, would endorse an anti-Semitic book by fringe kook anti-Semite Gilad Atzmon. Perhaps he was misquoted, or simply blurbed the book without realizing what he was doing? Surely he would retract once a public controversy erupted?

Nope. Blogger Adam Holland: ...
Mearsheimer (infamous co-author of this screed) is clearly proud of this endorsement.  I'm sending you to the links for the details.  Credit where it's due.

See also, Jeffrey Goldberg (who provides a lot of background on Atzmon).

Update (9/27):  More from Bernstein here (via DG's Mideast Media Sampler)

Mearsheimer actually defends Atzmon from the charge of anti-Semitism. So here's my challenge to Prof. Mearsheimer: I will give you space on the Volokh Conspiracy to explain how you can absolve Atzmon from anti-Semitism after reading this excerpt from an interview with Atzmon, not coincidentally hosted on the website of notorious anti-Semite "Israel Shamir".
Here are a few brief samples Bernstein did not quote (there's just too much there):

"They try to call me an anti-Semite, I'm not an anti-Semite. I've got nothing against the Semite people, I don't have anything against people - I'm anti-Jewish, not anti-Jews.

"I think Jewish ideology is driving our planet into a catastrophe and we must stop."
And then there's this.

"The Nazis were indeed . . . evil. They did things that were disastrously inhuman and unacceptable. But this doesn't mean the Jewish ideology is correct, because in fact Jewish ideology and Nazi ideology were very similar."
Atzmon is a sad, sick little man whose main claim to fame is the extreme nature of his delusions.  Which is why there's understandably some surprise that an academic of Mearsheimer's stature would chose that particular wagon to hitch to. 

Bernstein's thoughts, and a challenge.

1947, 1967, redux

Well, not exactly, but the stage is set.

Israel responded positively Saturday, and the Palestinians negatively, to a formula for restarting negotiations issued by the Quartet that would place a December 2012 deadline on reaching an agreement.
Though who knows? Violence is, again, threatened.

The IDF is gearing up for an escalation in violent demonstrations in the West Bank this week amid concern that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's speech at the United Nations on Friday will motivate the public to increase their "resistance."

"We see calls for escalation on the Palestinian street and expect more stone throwing over the coming days," a senior IDF officer said. On Sunday, the Central Command will review its current deployment and depending on developments, consider the possible release of several units from active duty in the West Bank to return to training.
It's a familiar pattern, or should be, to anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention to that part of the world for the past 85 years.  International bodies propose a solution involving compromise on all sides, Israel says 'yes,' the Arabs say 'no.'


On Friday afternoon, Abbas said he was adamant about not recognizing Israel as the Jewish state.

"They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state," Abbas said in a meeting with some 200 senior representatives of the Palestinian community in the US, shortly before taking the podium and delivering a speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

And today, he wants to walk back Oslo.  Good idea.

So ... is it peace yet?

// Note: the title of this post has been corrected //

Brutal but accurate

"Peace is hard?"  Obama said that four times during his 36 minute speech at the UN this morning.  Is that an excuse?

Marty Peretz laid the President's miserable record on the line yesterday at TNR, predictably eliciting much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the comment section.  Rather than try to pick parts to excerpt, I'll jump to the conclusion because it's a pretty concise summary of the whole essay.

Poor Barack Obama. His adoring view of Erdogan has stimulated the Turkish regime to be a force not for stability in Cairo or reason in Ramallah. What's more, Obama's Palestinian initiatives have all collapsed. But the most striking collapse of his Arab politics has been in Syria where he posited that there were sensible and dependable men with whom Israel could make peace. Of course, that would entail giving up the Golan Heights (which are not the Great Plains) to Dr. Assad. The administration courted the family tyranny and its epigones. Responsible, reasonable, reserved. Two smart-assed Jewish boys were dispatched to play computer games with the Damascus elite. They were also enthused by the possibilities. I know that none of these people pulled the triggers on any of the thousands who are now dead. They just encouraged the clan to think they will get away with murder forever.

The fact that Obama so thoroughly misunderstands the Middle East, so thoroughly also misunderstands militant Islam, has blotted out for both the Arabs and the Israelis the bona fides of the official American intermediaries. It is not simply that some of them are biased, a bit to Israel, a much larger cohort to the victim mentality of the Palestinians and to the oil deposits of other Arabs. It is that this administration has been stupid about the whole region and entranced with the Palestinian narrative which is, to be utterly brash but candid, nearly wholly false.
Talk about your inconvenient truth.  Nobody, certainly not Peretz (who was a big supporter of Obama in 2008), is happy that it's come to this.  But saying it ain't so won't make it go away.

Obamanomics exposed, at ... Reuters?

Pinch me.

No wonder many Democratic strategists predicted their party's 2008 landslide win would usher in a generation of political dominance. Obamanomics, essentially, would divert taxpayer dollars to the Green Lobby - and then into the campaign coffers of the Democratic Party. This is what crony capitalism is really all about: politicians enriching favored businesses, who then return the favor. Or maybe it's the other way around, Who cares, really. It's an endless, profitable loop for both.

And Obama almost pulled it off. ...
It's all about Solyndra and politics.  And one of the last things I'd have expected to see at Reuters.  Hey, is it possible ... ?

"Ungrateful ally?"

You may already have seen this story by Jeffrey Goldberg at Bloomberg.  As summarized in the Jerusalem Post,

Freshly retired US defense secretary Robert Gates was highly critical of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, calling him an ungrateful ally and blaming him for diplomatically isolating Israel and hurting American interests, a Bloomberg column revealed Tuesday.
Carl at Israel Matzav lays out a penetrating analysis of this development and raises some interesting questions about both Goldberg's approach and the timing of this leak report.

But there are two things that bother me greatly about Gates' comments and the way in which Goldberg presented them. First, assuming that his words were accurately portrayed, Gates presupposes that Israel is a client or vassal state to the United States.

[ ... ]

Second, I have to wonder about the timing of Goldberg's article. This happened in July. It's now September. Why is this coming out now? (And clearly someone among Gates' confidantes' decided that it should come out now, and called Goldberg and offered him a story). I think when you put it together with Stanley Greenberg's orchestration of the #J14 social protesters, one cannot help but wonder whether the Obama administration has decided to try to undermine Netanyahu's position and his government.

We've seen this before.
Indeed we have.  Read Carl's full post here.

Kudos to Barry Rubin

This is good news.

Pajamas Media today named Barry Rubin as its Middle East editor. In addition to being a featured Xpress blogger, he will edit articles on the region stretching from Morocco through Bangladesh, recruit correspondents, and work on special projects.
When it comes to the Middle East, Rubin is one of the most cogent and reliable sources around.  And there aren't all that many of either.

"I believe we are at a turning point in media history in which Internet publications take over from newspapers, and in my view, Pajamas Media is the  best-quality source for news, analysis, and good writing," said Rubin. "Given the Middle East's importance and the poor quality coverage of that area, I hope to help make Pajamas Media the best source explaining events to hundreds of thousands of people around the world."
Best of luck to Barry in his new position.  Meanwhile, we can continue to read his regular column here.

Shabbat Shalom.

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