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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey Goldberg’

Why The Palestinians Can’t Say Two Simple Words

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

As we learned from his recent interview with journalist Jeffery Goldberg, President Obama is obsessed with the idea that Israeli intransigence is the reason there is no peace in the Middle East.

But Israel has already shown its willingness to accept a U.S. framework for continued talks despite justified misgivings about the direction of the negotiations. Meanwhile, the Palestinians have given every indication they won’t buy into the framework because they fear it will commit them to the one thing they have repeatedly shown no interest in accepting: peace.

Further proof of that came earlier this month from The New York Times in the form of an op-ed from a leading Palestinian academic explaining why his people could never agree to one of the key points in the framework: recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. Ali Jarbawi of Bir Zeit University gave a number of reasons why the Jewish state demand is a non-starter.

Not entirely by coincidence, the Times editorial page has endorsed the Palestinian position on the Jewish state. The Times’s dismissal of the Jewish state demand is one more indication that the paper’s supposed concern for Israel’s future is less than sincere.

Let’s first dismiss the claim made by both the Times and Jarbawi that this demand by Israel is an innovation on Netanyahu’s part whose purpose is to derail the peace process. In fact, there’s nothing new about it. The original 1947 United Nations partition resolution stated that the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River was to be divided between an Arab state and one it designated as a “Jewish state.”

If the Palestinians are now reversing their adamant rejection of partition by saying they will be satisfied by an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, there should be no problem accepting this term.

But they can’t, and Jarbawi doesn’t shy away from explaining why. The Palestinians can’t say the words “Jewish state” because to do so would force them to give up their historical narrative in which they see themselves as victims of history who can only be made whole by annulling the results of Israel’s War of Independence.

The key principle of Palestinian nationalism is rejection of Zionism and the existence of Israel no matter where its borders are drawn. If Palestinians agree that a Jewish state has a right to exist, that means they are forever giving up their dreams of extinguishing it. That seems unfair to Jarbawi because it means the 1948 refugees and their descendants would be deprived of their dream of “return,” which means the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Jarbawi makes the specious point that agreeing to Israel’s being a Jewish state would compromise the rights of Israel’s Arab minority. He knows very well this is a red herring since Israel’s basic laws hold that it is both a Jewish state and one in which ethnic and religious minorities have full rights. Israeli Arabs are equal before the law in Israel; they serve in its Knesset, government and judiciary. There is no conceivable scenario under which those rights will be annulled even in the event of war, let alone the outbreak of peace.

But his real objection to this point comes in the next paragraph when he says that even if those conditions are confirmed, Palestinians fear a peace treaty might mean that Jews in the West Bank who wish to remain in their homes in the event of peace, would be given the same rights that Arabs have in Israel.

A savvy Palestinian propagandist might have been willing to concede the right of Jews to live in a future Palestinian State as a protected minority, but not Jarbawi. Speaking for what is mainstream – indeed, the virtually unanimous – opinion of Palestinians, the academic says Jews have no right to be there and therefore cannot be accorded the equal rights Arabs have inside Israel. Their vision of peace is apparently one in which a Jew-free Palestinian state exists alongside an Israel flooded by Palestinian refugees who would vote the Jewish state out of existence.

Netanyahu’s Meeting with Obama Will Be Neither Friendly Nor Productive

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

In his Sunday interview with Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, President Barack Obama said two different things to the two sides currently keeping up the appearance of negotiations.

Obama urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “seize the moment” to make peace, saying time is running out to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

And Obama said he believes Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas “is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist.”

See, I would have wanted my president (I voted for him in 2008) to say something along the lines of: Netanyahu and Abbas are both sincere and willing to recognize each other’s right to exist.

Alternatively, I would have accepted my president’s urging both Netanyahu and Abbas to seize the moment because time is running out—I don’t think time is running anywhere, but at least it should be running an equal distance for both sides.

I haven’t seen two consecutive American administrations—Bush 2 and Obama—bring so much violence and suffering to a region since the Johnson and Nixon administrations collaborated to decimate South East Asia. I’ve learned to always expect the worst possible reaction from my current president: he has botched Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Iran. He will now reek havoc on both Israel and the Palestinians. It’s his default setting. Because he is a new breed of American politician: the intellectual non-thinker.

Permit me an aside: I heard Secretary of State John Kerry rebuking Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading another country based on made up allegations, and I was thinking, wait a minute, name Iraq and name WMD don’t sound familiar to you?

But enough about self righteous politicians—except, of course, that watching how America is defending the Ukraine from being molested by the bear next door does make one think about American security guarantees and in what anatomic context they could fit best.

I spent my morning reading through the interview transcript which Goldberg generously deposited online for the rest of us to dig into. I’ll try to quote lavishly without breaking copyright rules and Internet etiquette. Do go online to read the full thing—it’ll serve us all as a baseline in examining the coming Obama-Bibi matches.

GOLDBERG: Let me read you something that John Kerry told the American Jewish Committee not long ago: “We’re running out of time. We’re running out of possibilities. And let’s be clear: If we do not succeed now – and I know I’m raising those stakes – but if we do not succeed now, we may not get another chance.” He has also suggested strongly that there might be a third intifada down the road and that if this peace process doesn’t work, Israel itself could be facing international isolation and boycott. Do you agree with this assessment? Is this the last chance?

OBAMA: Well, look, I’m a congenital optimist. And, obviously, this is a conflict that has gone on for decades. And humanity has a way of muddling through, even in difficult circumstances. So you never know how things play themselves out.

But John Kerry, somebody who has been a fierce advocate and defender on behalf of Israel for decades now, I think he has been simply stating what observers inside of Israel and outside of Israel recognize, which is that with each successive year, the window is closing for a peace deal that both the Israelis can accept and the Palestinians can accept – in part because of changes in demographics; in part because of what’s been happening with settlements; in part because Abbas is getting older, and I think nobody would dispute that whatever disagreements you may have with him, he has proven himself to be somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue. We do not know what a successor to Abbas will look like.

Kerry’s quote represents the fundamental evil of all the peace deals between Israel and the Arabs, possibly with the exception of Jordan. Israel has always been coaxed into accepting these deals not based on the inherent logic of the deal being offered, but on the threat of what would befall it should it refuse to sign.

ASA Leader Justifies Israel Boycott Saying ‘One Has to Start Somewhere’

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Reading Jeffrey Goldberg’s excellent column in the Tuesday NY Post (Gang that can’t scapegoat straight), I was reminded of a classic Richard Pryor joke about a man who killed his entire family, and when police asked him why he did it answers: “‘Cuz they was home.”

Curtis Marez, a University of California at San Diego associate professor of ethnic studies and president of the American Studies Association that voted to endorse an academic boycott of Israel, is a dolt, writes Goldberg. Not because his organization is promoting a stupid policy that will only end up biting them on their lower backs, but because he’s too dumb to deny his own rabid hatred of Jews.

When a reporter asked him why Israel, alone among the countries of the world, was chosen for excoriation and isolation — the ASA has heretofore boycotted no other country — Marez “did not dispute that many nations, including many of Israel’s neighbors, are generally judged to have human-rights records that are worse than Israel’s, or comparable.” Marez then compounded his error by telling the reporter, in his organization’s defense, that “one has to start somewhere.”

“Let’s stay with this statement for a moment,” writes Goldberg. “It is true that, if you believe that boycotting academic institutions is a way to change the behavior of repressive governments (though I don’t know many people who think this way), then ‘one has to start somewhere.’ It seems, though, that one might want to start with China, where a prominent economist, Professor Xia Yeliang, was recently dismissed from Peking University; one state-run paper charged him with arguing for ‘freedom and democracy.’”

They could have also picked on Afghanistan‎, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia‎, Austria and Azerbaijan, each one of which has a thick folder of its recorded human rights violations – and that’s juts the A’s!

In Israel’s group, the I’s, they could have chosen Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, and the Ivory Coast, for a plethora of violations, from torture to public hangings.

Goldberg continues: “Is it a coincidence that these academics are singling out the world’s only Jewish-majority country for boycott? Only to those who know nothing of the history of anti-Semitic scapegoating. This isn’t to say that Marez and his colleagues are personally anti-Semitic. Larry Summers, a past Harvard president, said he considers boycotts of Israel ‘anti- Semitic in their effect if not necessarily in their intent.’”

Finally, Goldberg points out that “The American Studies Association is an unimportant group; larger academic organizations have come out, as Summers did, against the idea of academic boycotts.”

Also, according to Goldberg, the Palestinian Authority chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, who supports the boycott of settlement-made goods, has come out against broad anti-Israel boycotts.

“The ASA is more Palestinian, in other words, than the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization,” Goldberg concludes.

Turns out there are some antisemitic idiocies that unite left and right inside the Jewish body politic.

That’s a good thing…

Hagel Credits Bibi’s Threats with Iran’s Willingness to Negotiate

Monday, November 4th, 2013

In an interview with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Bllomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg put to him the question every liberal Jew thinks he knows the answer to: “Is Netanyahu, in fact, using scare tactics in order to torpedo Iran negotiations?”

I so would have liked to be there in the room when Hagel, still not my most favorite Republican, but who is, responded: “I think Prime Minister Netanyahu is legitimately concerned, as any prime minister of Israel has been, about the future security needs of their country,” and “has got a history of being very clear on where he is on this.”

But that’s nothing, that’s just empty compliments compared to the next bit: “Hagel … argued that Netanyahu’s threats of military action against Iranian nuclear sites, combined with the pressure of sanctions, may have actually encouraged Iran to take negotiations seriously.”

That’s not Ann Coulter, it’s Jeffrey Goldberg. Remember the amount of ridicule Bibi sustained in response to his Wile E. Coyote cartoon bomb at the UN a year ago? Remember the insults—coming from a variety of former Israeli Intelligence officials—about his war mongering? Turns out Bibi was right, at least according to Obama’s man at the Pentagon.

Following the very chilly reception Hagel received from Israel’s friends at his confirmation time, Goldberg describes the Secretary of Defense almost single minded effort to gain Israel’s security establishment’s trust:

“Hagel has worked assiduously to ensure that Israel maintains its so-called qualitative military edge over its foes; he has developed close working ties with Israel’s defense minister and its top generals; and Jewish groups, once wary, have embraced him.”

Nevertheless, Israel isn’t getting from the U.S. the munitions that could blast through the reinforced roofs of Iranian nuclear facilities, Goldberg asserts.

Hagel admits he’s not giving them that one. “I suspect the Israelis would like an inventory of everything, but certain things we do keep as proprietary, and they know that,” he told Goldberg.

As with the Secretary of State John Kerry, who is once again in the Middle East, attempting to hook up the peace process to some oxygen, it is difficult to tell where the individual secretary’s will and ambition end and the Obama Administration’s core policy begins. Would another Defense Secretary have made such an effort to keep Israel in the loop, hold its hand and make sure it’s feeling secure? It’s possible that bridging the gap between himself and Netanyahu is precisely the challenge that motivates Hagel. Because, let’s face it, Wile E. Coyote may look silly, but he’s packing a dangerous air force.

Amb. Oren’s Wife Was Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane Groupie

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Sure, you have every reason to doubt a Rock n’ Roll story from The Jewish Press only a couple of weeks after our beloved editor Yori Yanover gave the world his Purim prank about the Rolling Stones defying the BDS’ers to perform in Israel. But this story doesn’t come from us, it’s been published by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic Monthly.

According to Goldberg, Sally Oren, wife of Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, who today is in her early 60s and plays the role of diplomat’s spouse with distinction and grace, was a free spirited Rock n’ Roll groupie in San Francisco a mere 45 years ago.

Sally “played Frisbee with the Grateful Dead and served as Jefferson Airplane’s muse,” reports Goldberg, who was told by her daughter, Lia: “Jefferson Airplane wrote a song about my mother.”

So Goldberg, ever the dedicated journalist, confronted the mother: “Did Jefferson Airplane write a song about you?” and she, “somewhat abashed,” answered, “Two songs, actually.”

“We were kind of mascots for the bands,” Sally Oren explained. “I was too naive to know if anything else was going on.”

Sally and Bob Weir, the Grateful Dead guitarist, played Frisbee in Golden Gate Park, she told Goldberg. “I would sit with these guys on Sunday afternoons at the Fillmore dance parties. I was so shy, and Jerry Garcia wouldn’t talk a lot either. We just sat there eating hot dogs.”

By the Summer of Love, in 1967, Oren, then 16, was on a first name basis, practically, with Cream, the Doors, and the Who. “I didn’t meet Jimi Hendrix, but he was fantastic.” She had only a nodding acquaintance with other artists. “With Jim Morrison it was sort of a ‘Hi, hi, how are you?’ sort of thing,” she said.

Boys and girls, read the whole article “Six Degrees of Sally Oren – Just one woman links Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Bibi Netanyahu.” It’s fun.

And the Stones? They’ll come if we all close our eyes really tight and ask.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/jewish-press-blog/amb-orens-wife-was-grateful-dead-jefferson-airplane-groupie/2013/03/05/

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