Quote of the Day

Once you realize that Israel has no intention whatever of accepting a two-state solution, whatever the Israeli leadership says, the tensions between the US and Israel are much more explicable. — Andrew Sullivan, 3/30/10

And once you realize that Andrew Sullivan has no intention of not cherrypicking right-wingers to insinuate that most Israelis are revanchists — whatever the Israeli Labour Party would support — the tensions between The Daily Dish and pro-Israel Jews are much more explicable.

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while. Lot of stuff going on at the homefront. Plus, Andrew tried to surreptitiously eat crow on a couple of big things: dually-loyal Dennis Ross (“call it the neo-neo-neo-neo-con soft shoe”) and cold-eyed, anti-AIPAC Gen. David Petreaus (“Obama is Israel’s last chance to dial back this vicious fundamentalist cycle. And if israel doesn’t, the consequences for all of us are grave. Petraeus gets this. When will the neocons?”) … I figured there would many other people who would archive that nonsense.

Divide Nigeria into Christian and Muslim republics

So says the world’s leading proponent of the one-state solution for Israelis and Arabs:

Kadhafi, in a speech to African student leaders, some of them Nigerian, said “the only thing that could put an end to the bloodshed … is the appearance of another Mohammed Ali Jinnah (Pakistan’s founder) who established a state for the Muslims and another for the Christians.”

Quote of the day

Stop the settlements. Rename Dalal Mughrabi Square. Now let’s talk. — Richard Cohen, 3/16/10

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UPDATE: I have to contrast this approach to the peace process — that doesn’t determine each U.S. move by what “the moderate Arab states” will not condemn — with what one small-c conservative chastened by Realism wrote today:

Imagine if the US could help establish a genuine democracy on the West Bank. Not easy – but surely easier than Iraq! I believe we are at a pivotal moment – for the US to help save Israel and turn the Jihadist dynamic around. It probably won’t happen in Iraq … but in Palestine? Talk about transformational.

I’m for a Palestinian state ASAP, but the idea that it would shortly prove itself a genuine democracy, which is to say in contrast to Lebanon’s factional one, is a pipe dream to rival the more popular neoconservative pipe dreams. And would Andrew find it as encouraging for the “global war against Jihadist terrorism” if Palestine was somehow a more genuine democracy than Lebanon’s but did nothing when its jihadist political factions organized attacks on Israelis?

This is partly what Obama was elected for. It’s good for Israel, good for the US and good for the global war against Jihadist terrorism. And, yes, it’s also just.

… Somehow The Dish hasn’t discovered yet that tying a total settlement freeze to American pressure on the Palestinians to end antisemitic, anti-Israeli incitement, and the memorializing of terrorists, would be “good for Israel, good for the US and good for the global war against Jihadist terrorism. And, yes, it’s also just.”

In fact, he told readers that the problem with the Palestinian Authority’s naming a public square after Dalal Mughrabi was the timing of the event.

Quote of the day

I know this kind of position is a little intricate for the ideological mindset, but it is intellectually honest and deserves being treated seriously as an argument, rather than as a truncated rhetorical bludgeon.

Why can most neoconservatives never concede error? — Andrew Sullivan, 3/17/10

Some straw babies, 1

Foxman Calls Petraeus A Jew-Baiter

17 Mar 2010 10:09 am

The man with the fax machine has declared that Petraeus’ recent comments on Israel “[smack] of blaming the Jews for everything.” […]

Um, no. Said nothing about Petraeus blaming the Jews. Said the growing theme of U.S. troops being in more danger because of Israel instead of America was dangerous and “smacks of blaming the Jews for everything,” i.e., perhaps could assist such blaming. Foxman might often be guilty of overstatement; Sullivan is guilty of not checking statements, i.e., not giving a shit.

Speaking of the Dish’s not giving a shit, the other day, Sullivan wrote to Goldberg:

Now this: my simple publication of a map was apparently

meant to deny Jewish claims to virtually any of the land of Israel.

Seriously, this is absurd.

Um, yes, Andrew’s interpretation is seriously absurd. Goldberg said “[…] Andrew published an egregious and tendentious map meant to deny Jewish claims to virtually any of the land of Israel […]” Emphasis mine.

Is Andrew for real? Selectively quoting to smear Goldberg as making this personal accusation is very low. Goldberg didn’t even write “Andrew published a […] map meaning to deny.”

Here’s a straw baby argument I should have mentioned about a month ago, from his retort to Leon Wieselter’s piece in The New Republic:

And notice that Wieseltier, in a convoluted fashion, does not exactly disagree on Netanyahu’s intransigence. But all of this is always Obama’s failure because it can never be Israel’s fault because to say that anything is Israel’s fault is anti-Semitic. Lovely piece of circular logic there, innit?

Um, no. Wieseltier never argued that assigning blame, even all the blame, to Israel in this diplomatic dispute was antisemitic.

I suspect Sullivan was being dishonest here, but I guess something so obvious can escape the notice of a dogmatist who has found this (!) as an axiom:

And I strongly disagree that when a struggle between a foreign country’s government and the newly elected president of the United States cripples the peace process, it is somehow the president of the United States’ fault.

Andrew apparently has learned to love when people accuse him, or someone whose opinion he shares, of antisemitism, so much so, that he tries to misrepresent or misquote people to portray them making that accusation. It’s a crude “bludgeon,” which he found useful even before Wieseltier’s article.

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UPDATE, 3/18/10: “But it’s only a matter of time, I have learned, between anyone actually criticizing the policies of Israel and being deemed a you-know-what.”

An asshole?

No, this is Sullivan working his own antisemite smear.

Goldblog missed this part

Jeffrey Goldberg today:

So what explains this incredible series of [diplomatic] screw-ups? Is this merely an attempt by the Israeli government to disprove the theory, shared by anti- and philo-Semites alike, that Jews are smart?

No, it’s something very prosaic. Bibi Netanyahu is not in control of his government. He has brought into his coalition parties — Lieberman’s party, the Shas Party — that are narrow-focused, excessively-rightist, stubborn and prideful, and now he’s paying the price. The problem is that Israel is paying the price as well. America can afford stupid politicians. Israel can’t.

Yossi Klein Halevi, in a TNR article linked to by Jeffrey Goldberg today:

But not even the opposition accused Netanyahu of a deliberate provocation. These are not the days of Yitzhak Shamir, the former Israeli prime minister who used to greet a visit from Secretary of State James Baker with an announcement of the creation of another West Bank settlement. Netanyahu has placed the need for strategic cooperation with the U.S. on the Iranian threat ahead of the right-wing political agenda. That’s why he included the Labor Party into his coalition, and why he accepted a two-state solution—an historic achievement that set the Likud, however reluctantly, within the mainstream consensus supporting Palestinian statehood. The last thing Netanyahu wanted was to embarrass Biden during his goodwill visit and trigger a clash with Obama over an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood.

Nor is it likely that there was a deliberate provocation from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, which runs the interior ministry that oversees building procedures. Shas, which supports peace talks and territorial compromise, is not a nationalist party. Its interest is providing housing for its constituents, like the future residents of Ramat Shlomo; provoking international incidents is not its style.

Finally, the very ordinariness of the building procedure—the fact that construction in Jewish East Jerusalem is considered by Israelis routine—is perhaps the best proof that there was no intentional ambush of Biden.

Apparently no one in the interior ministry could imagine that a long-term plan over Ramat Shlomo would sabotage a state visit.

In turning an incident into a crisis, Obama has convinced many Israelis that he was merely seeking a pretext to pick a fight with Israel. Netanyahu was inadvertently shabby; Obama, deliberately so.

According to a banner headline in the newspaper Ma’ariv, senior Likud officials believe that Obama’s goal is to topple the Netanyahu government, by encouraging those in the Labor Party who want to quit the coalition.

Hockey Dad bait

Via, Goldblog, a quote from Yossi Klein Halevi’s new piece about the Israeli-Palestinian turmoil in Jerusalem and Israel’s diplomatic crisis with Washington:

Why, then, the outbreak of violence now? Why Hamas’s “day of rage” over Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority’s call to gather on the Temple Mount to “save” the Dome of the Rock from non-existent plans to build the Third Temple? Why the sudden outrage over rebuilding a synagogue, destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948, in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, when dozens of synagogues and yeshivas have been built in the quarter without incident?

The answer lies not in Jerusalem but in Washington. By placing the issue of building in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem at the center of the peace process, President Obama has inadvertently challenged the Palestinians to do no less.

Astonishingly, Obama is repeating the key tactical mistake of his failed efforts to restart Middle East peace talks over the last year. Though Obama’s insistence on a settlement freeze to help restart negotiations was legitimate, he went a step too far by including building in East Jerusalem. Every Israeli government over the last four decades has built in the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem; no government, let alone one headed by the Likud, could possibly agree to a freeze there. Obama made resumption of negotiations hostage to a demand that could not be met. The result was that Palestinian leaders were forced to adjust their demands accordingly.

Obama is directly responsible for one of the most absurd turns in the history of Middle East negotiations. Though Palestinian leaders negotiated with Israeli governments that built extensively in the West Bank, they now refused to sit down with the first Israeli government to actually agree to a suspension of building. Obama’s demand for a building freeze in Jerusalem led to a freeze in negotiations.

If Andrew doesn’t deliberately avoid addressing this column, I only expect a conniption.

Besides the mere suggestion that Obama is two degrees away from divine infallibility, instead of just one, Klein’s argument implicates the Dish in thoughtlessly praising an approach that might be encouraging actual violence. That will probably get under the skin of the man who thoughtlessly praised the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and has punished himself so much, he had to start a “neocon” witch hunt to feel better.