Why the U.S., or Any Third Party, Will Fail at Solving the Israel–Palestinian Conflict

March 13 2018

In the coming days the Trump administration is reportedly poised to release its plan aimed at reviving the moribund peace process. Noting that, since 1948, Western leaders from Clement Atlee to John Kerry have attempted to negotiate a lasting agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and have failed every time, Amir Taheri suggests their experience should serve as a warning:

There are many reasons why so many prospective dealmakers have failed. The first is that peace is [almost] always imposed by the side that wins a war. There is scarcely an instance in history, which is primarily a narrative of countless wars, in which an outsider has imposed peace on unwilling belligerents. The second reason is that outside dealmakers have their own interests and agendas, which make an already tangled web even more complicated. . . . The third reason is that wannabe dealmakers do not fully appreciate the importance of the status quo, the reality on the ground.

Whenever a status quo is at least tolerable for both belligerents, the desire to risk it in the hope of an ill-defined peace is diminished. Many people in the world live with a status quo they don’t regard as ideal. . . .

Finally, and more importantly, there could be no deal and no peace unless and until those involved in a conflict desire it. . . . My bet is that, at this moment, . . . both [sides] are happier with the status quo than with the prolongation of a “peace process” that could never lead to peace and now is no longer even a process.

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Read more at Asharq Al-Awsat

More about: Donald Trump, Israel & Zionism, John Kerry, Peace Process

Zionists Can, and Do, Criticize Israel. Are Anti-Zionists Capable of Criticizing Anti-Semitism?

Dec. 12 2018

Last week, the New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg defended the newly elected anti-Israel congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, ostensibly arguing that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism aren’t identical. Abe Greenwald comments:

Tlaib . . . has tweeted and retweeted her enthusiasm for terrorists such as Rasmea Odeh, who murdered two American students in a Jerusalem supermarket in 1969. If Tlaib’s anti-Zionism is of the Jew-loving kind, she has a funny way of showing it.

Ilhan Omar, for her part, once tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” And wouldn’t you know it, just because she believes that Zionist hypnotists have cast global spells masking Israeli evil, some people think she’s anti-Semitic! Go figure! . . .

Goldberg spends the bulk of her column trying very hard to uncouple American Jewishness from Israel. To do that, she enumerates Israel’s sins, as she sees them. . . . [But] her basic premise is at odds with reality. Zionists aren’t afraid of finding fault with Israel and don’t need to embrace anti-Zionism in order to [do so]. A poll conducted in October by the Jewish Electorate Institute found that a majority of Americans Jews have no problem both supporting Israel and criticizing it. And unlike Goldberg, they have no problem criticizing anti-Semitism, either.

Goldberg gives the game away entirely when she discusses the discomfort that liberal American Jews have felt in “defending multi-ethnic pluralism here, where they’re in the minority, while treating it as unspeakable in Israel, where Jews are the majority.” She adds: “American white nationalists, some of whom liken their project to Zionism, love to poke at this contradiction.” Read that again. She thinks the white nationalists have a point. Because, really, what anti-Semite doesn’t?

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, New York Times