Ann Coulter’s Jewish Problem

During last week’s presidential debate, the right-wing journalist Ann Coulter made a vulgar comment about the candidates’ alleged pandering to Jewish voters. Ruthie Blum responds:

Enough has been said about whether Coulter is an anti-Semite. A sufficient amount of ink has [also] been spilled on the fact that anti-Semites, both on the right and on the left, came out of the woodwork to put in their two cents.

What I would like to know is how any intelligent person in America can imagine that championing Israel in general, and in the face of the Obama administration’s abominable nuclear deal with Iran in particular, constitutes “pandering” or “sucking up” to Jews.

As Coulter well knows, Jews overwhelmingly voted for Obama, not once but twice. She is also aware that the vast majority of Iran-deal opponents are Republican. Sheldon Adelson, whom she [also] made a point of mentioning in her [subsequent] Daily Beast interview, is an exception, not the rule. . . .

As for the evangelicals whom she brought up in the same breath [in the interview]: well, the U.S. has a lot of those. And it is the job of a candidate in an American campaign to persuade the electorate to vote for him. If that is “pandering,” so be it.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Anti-Semitism, Donald Trump, Evangelical Christianity, Politics & Current Affairs, Republicans, US-Israel relations

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood