Israel and Egypt Made Peace in 1979 because Their Leaders Wanted to

In the conventional telling of the origins of the 1979 Camp David accords, President Jimmy Carter and his foreign-policy team dragged a reluctant Anwar Sadat and an even more reluctant Menachem Begin to the negotiating table and coaxed them into coming to an agreement. This story primarily emerges, write Gerald Steinberg and Ziv Rubinovitz, from the memoirs of several American officials. But recently declassified Israeli documents paint a very different picture of events, showing among other things that Begin supported peace with Egypt as far back as 1967:

[During Begin’s] stint as a member of the national-unity government created just prior to the June 1967 war, . . . the cabinet, led by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, endorsed the land-for-peace formula for Egypt and Syria, and Begin . . . joined in approving this framework. He repeated this position on numerous occasions, emphasizing the importance of a full treaty, as distinct from partial agreements or non-belligerency, which, he argued, would not bring Israel the full legitimacy that was required. In 1970, Begin resigned from the cabinet and returned to lead the opposition, citing the government’s [abandonment of these condition].

[In the months leading up to Camp David], Carter’s effort to involve the Soviet Union [in negotiations between Egypt and Israel] alienated both leaders, who made common cause in going around Carter. Sadat had recently evicted the Soviet military from Egypt, and Begin’s experience as a prisoner in the Gulag left a lifelong hostility; both viewed Moscow’s potential role as entirely anathema. The two leaders were also concerned that the American effort to solve the entire Middle East conflict, which included bringing in the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Syria’s President Hafez al-Assad, . . . would fail and also prevent realization of a bilateral peace agreement.

Only after they had made progress in their own negotiations did Cairo and Jerusalem ask for Washington’s assistance in ironing out the details. To Steinberg and Rubinovitz, the lessons for future peacemaking are clear:

Success requires leaders who see peace as a national priority and are willing to take prudent risks in order to achieve this objective. Such leaders and the interests that they share cannot be produced artificially or through outside pressure, and in their absence, efforts to reach agreements have no chance. In Sadat, Begin had a partner who recognized this, and vice-versa, and on this basis they explored the possibilities for agreement.

Read more at Fathom

More about: Anwar Sadat, Camp David Accords, Egypt, Israeli history, Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University