web analytics
August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

US Mideast Policy: Looking in all the Wrong Places?

Kerry’s working with actors who have acted in this movie before, and the script is built around the same elements. But the theater is new.
street light

Hearing about Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the Middle East two weeks ago, I could not help but be reminded of a famous epistemological joke.

A man sees his friend bending under a streetlight looking for something. “What are you looking for?” he asks. “My keys,” his friend replies. “Well, where did you lose them?” he asks. After his friend responds that he lost them in the bushes, the man asks why, if that’s the case, he’s looking under the streetlight. His friend answers, “Because this is where the light is.”

The bizarre insistence of the Obama administration on finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at a time when stability, human rights, and American interests in the Middle East are being severely compromised and jeopardized is mystifying, to say the least.

Why is it that at a time of such severe grievances and international crises, the American government is devoting so much time and energy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? It’s a conflict, after all, that pales in the face of what’s happening in Syria, Egypt, Turkey, and perhaps more Arab states to follow.

Sadly, the answer to this question seems to be embarrassingly easy to articulate. It’s because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at least compared with the various other imbroglios in the region, is easier to deal with. The players are familiar and no one plays too rough – again, relatively speaking.

As Robert Blecher, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program of the International Crisis Group put it, “The moment for this kind of diplomacy has passed. [Kerry’s] working with actors who have acted in this movie before, and the script is built around the same elements. But the theater is new; the region is a completely different place today.”

The U.S. is taking the easy way out in the Middle East. No need to deal with insane dictators, bloodthirsty jihadists and unstable governments; all the White House needs to do is send someone to Tel Aviv’s comfortable airport and Jerusalem’s regal hotels, have him talk with English-speaking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — and the Americans have done their share in the Middle East.

This is what is going on and why it is going on. Dennis Ross – a former adviser on the Middle East to several presidents, including Obama – was recently quoted as saying, “You don’t have instability between the Israelis and Palestinians right now. But if you don’t act, there’s a risk that the Palestinian Authority will collapse, leaving a vacuum. And if we know one thing about vacuums in the Middle East, they are never filled with good things.”

This is not an expression of Ross’s tackling new and rapidly changing challenges, or brainstorming to find solutions to difficult situations. Rather, it is a way of sticking to the old and familiar Middle East – of preferring predictable patterns and systems.

It’s a comfortable approach that seemingly carries little risk. There is, however, one catch: Like the person looking for his keys under the streetlight because that’s where the light is, the U.S. will never find peace in the Middle East if it chooses to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict simply because it’s the least challenging option.

If in such a time of crisis – when the future of the Middle East is being determined for generations to come – the U.S. continues to avoid making difficult decisions and engaging with potential allies, we will wake up one day with a world we do not know and, worse yet, a world that does not know us.

It is time for the White House and the international community to acknowledge that Israel is not the problem in the Middle East, and that the cause of peace would be better served by diplomats doing their best to find solutions for the problems rather than trying to find problems for the solutions.

One way to do that is to unite behind a safe, strong, and uncompromised Israel – a state that is a wellspring of peace, stability, human rights and economic success in the Middle East.

About the Author: Rabbi Elchanan Poupko is a fellow at Yeshiva University’s Institute for Advanced Research in Jewish Law.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “US Mideast Policy: Looking in all the Wrong Places?”

  1. Ch Hoffman says:

    You daven with the people who show up at your shul; you can only daven with them, not with the Chofetz Chaim or the Gerrer Rebbe.

    Similarly, you can only negotiate with the other groups leaders; you can't chose their leaders, they have to. They're stuck with their choices.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObameDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Latest Indepth Stories
Silhouette of "hilltop settler."

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

Schwartz-073115

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

Rabbi YY Rubinstein

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

Tobin-073115

Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign

Hard to remember when Jewish youth were so hostile to their heritage as they are on campuses today.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

More Articles from Rabbi Elchanan Poupko
Poupko-050815

This Mother’s Day let’s recognize an astounding group of Jewish “Supermoms”: the Jewish Single Mom!

.

What’s lacking on all sides of the discussion is a frank consideration of what we might learn from each other.

The enemies of the Jewish people look longingly to the day when they will, God forbid, have the means to make good their threats to kill as many of us as possible.

Kerry’s working with actors who have acted in this movie before, and the script is built around the same elements. But the theater is new.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/us-mideast-policy-looking-in-all-the-wrong-places/2013/07/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: