web analytics
December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A message from an ambassador of the Palestinian Authority, Israel's "peace partner."
Palestinian Authority Envoy to Tehran Says Israel will be Destroyed
Latest Indepth Stories
Ben-Tsvi-122614

“Farming still allows some unique opportunities for mitzvah fulfillment that a city dweller never meets.”

Bill Cosby

It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.

Knesset Logo

The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.

The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.

Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.

A revolution is taking place between good and evil; light and darkness. Make the light activism!

More Articles from Rabbi Elchanan Poupko
.

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

The 400 Rabbis’ march on Washington, 1943.

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: