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July 23, 2016 / 17 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Roger Cohen’

Kerry’s Apartheid Slur Sabotages Peace

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Last Friday, while speaking to a closed meeting of the Trilateral Commission, Secretary of State John Kerry raised the ante in his bid to keep his Middle East peace initiative alive. While lamenting the latest collapse of the talks, Kerry cast blame for the outcome on both Israel and the Palestinians but made it clear the consequences for the former would be far more serious.

In the recording of his comments, which was obtained by the Daily Beast, Kerry not only repeated his past warnings that if peace wasn’t reached Israel would be faced with a new round of violence from the Palestinians as well as increased boycott efforts. He went further and said that the alternative to an Israeli acceptance of a two-state solution was that it would become “an apartheid state.”

In doing so, Kerry exploded the notion that he is an evenhanded broker. Identifying Israel as even a potential apartheid state is not only an incendiary slur; it demonstrates the fundamental flaw at the heart of Kerry’s effort. There is no comparison between apartheid South Africa and Israel. But that term is not merely an inexact analogy. Since the Palestinians allege that the desire for a Jewish state is racist, claiming that the lack of peace means apartheid is a tacit acceptance of the Palestinian refusal to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn.

Though this may not be Kerry’s direct intent, his resort to the ultimate slander in order to pressure Israel’s leaders to be more accommodating reinforces both Palestinians’ intransigence and their conviction that it is in their interest to keep saying no to Israeli peace offers.

Rather than a mere expression of frustration, as Kerry’s apologists will insist, the use of the “A” word does more to doom the already dim chances of peace. As such, Kerry’s already dubious utility as a peace process facilitator is officially at an end.

Kerry’s defenders are arguing that there is nothing new about a discussion centered on the belief that the status quo is unsustainable for Israel. Kerry’s position, which echoes that of the Jewish left in Israel and the United States, is that Israel’s best interests are served by a separation from the Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank. Without a peace treaty that would create a Palestinian state alongside Israel, they argue, the continuation of the current situation means the population there would have neither self-determination nor the rights of Israeli citizens.

The question of unsustainability is one that I think is, at best, highly debatable. Even as dim a light as The New York Times’s Roger Cohen has realized that the predictions about Israel’s doom are insupportable. But it is true that a majority of Israelis would, understandably, prefer a two-state solution. The notion that the Palestinians share this desire is equally debatable given the refusal of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, let alone Hamas, to accept Israel’s repeated offers of peace and independence.

But by including the word “apartheid” in this discussion, Kerry has done the cause of peace to which he has devoted so much effort this past year a grave disservice. Though the standoff in the West Bank is deeply troubling, it is not remotely comparable to the situation in South Africa that preceded the end of the old white minority regime.

Arabs have complete equality before the law and political rights inside Israel. Even in the West Bank, where the failure to make peace has led to a situation in which Israel maintains its security presence, the Palestinian Authority is the governing authority for the overwhelming majority of those who live there. More important, the Jews, who remain a majority of the population between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River rather than an apartheid-style minority, have repeatedly offered the Palestinians statehood and been turned down every time, the last refusal coming during the talks Kerry sponsored.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Jews In Space

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

At the end of his 1981 movie A History of the World, Part I, Mel Brooks added three funny fake “trailers” for non-existent movies, one of them being Jews in Space. The trailer showed a Star of David-shaped spacecraft, crewed by bearded guys in yarmulkes and prayer shawls, winning an interstellar holy war.

In titling this piece “Jews in Space,” I’m not referring to that kind of Jew in space – I’m talking about a category of Jews who seem so hostile to their own people and heritage that they’ve entirely escaped the gravitational pull of basic common sense, decency, and fact and spun out into the orbit of rabid anti-Israeli and pro-Islamic radicalism. Jews such as the following:

Richard Falk, U.S. jurist. Falk should have been forever disqualified from holding any responsible position when, after meeting the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, he mocked claims that the ayatollah was fanatical or reactionary. Later appointed UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine he repeatedly compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying that it exhibits “genocidal tendencies” and warning of a forthcoming “Palestinian holocaust.”

To Falk, the Boston Marathon bombings were an understandable act of “resistance” to U.S. imperialist hegemony and Americans’ outraged reactions were rooted in “Islamophobia.”

And Falk is a 9/11 Truther whose call for a study of U.S. officials’ alleged involvement in the annihilation of the Twin Towers moved even morally lethargic UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to label his charges “preposterous.”

Roger Cohen, British-born New York Times columnist. A series of staggeringly fatuous columns Cohen wrote in 2009 about a two-week visit to Iran cemented his reputation as “American journalism’s most prominent Iranian apologist” (to quote The Weekly Standard ‘s Michael Goldfarb). Notwithstanding Ahmadinejad’s rants about wiping Israel off the map, Cohen praised Iran as the Middle East’s most democratic state, other than Israel, and insisted that viewing it as totalitarian was a “grotesque caricature.”

When he spoke at an L.A. synagogue, an audience of Iranian Jews responded with derisive laughter to his naivete about the true intentions of Hamas and Hizbullah.

Ronnie Kasrils, South African politician. After spending over a quarter-century as an anti-apartheid guerilla fighter, Kasrils, the African National Congress’s highest-ranking white leader as well as a longtime member of the South African Communist Party Politburo, joined the post-apartheid RSA government – serving for several years as Minister of Intelligence – and began advocating zealously for the Palestinian cause. Among his goals: to convince his fellow South African Jews that the suffering inflicted by Israel upon Palestinians is “far worse than anything our people faced during the most dreadful days of apartheid.”

To Kasrils, Israelis are “baby killers” and “Nazis,” and Israel’s security fence is totally unjustifiable – this from a man who during the Cold War (when he was trained by the KGB and Stasi and counted both Che Guevara and Fidel Castro as chums) accepted the Kremlin line that the Berlin Wall was necessary to keep West Germany from destroying the GDR.

Sarah Schulman, U.S. writer. Schulman, a lesbian novelist and playwright who teaches at the City University of New York, is the leading promoter of the insipid concept of “pinkwashing” – the claim, which in the last couple of years has gained traction in the American and European academy with alarming speed, that Israel markets its liberal gay-rights record as a way of distracting from an illiberal policy of oppressing innocent Palestinians.

Schulman, who comes from a family of Holocaust survivors, has marched with members of Hamas.

Dror Feiler, Swedish-Israeli artist. Raised on a communist kibbutz, Feiler has lived in Sweden since 1973. The head of several pro-Palestinian groups and an organizer of the Gaza “Freedom Flotillas,” he’s worked alongside Hamas leaders. At a 2010 rally in Turkey, Feiler stood by in silence while another speaker decried “the filth that is Israel” and the crowd shouted “death to Israel.” “Snow White and the Madness of Truth,” a 2004 art installation by Feiler and his wife, Gunilla, memorialized Hanadi Jaradat, a Palestinian suicide bomber who killed 21 people in Haifa.

Bruce Bawer

Roger Cohen Praises AJC’s Harris Attack on Bennett

Friday, June 21st, 2013

There’s no doubt that liberal U.S. Jews are becoming alarmed that fewer and fewer Israelis are prepared to support the delusional view that, in order to gain acceptance on paper by the Arabs, Israel must first render itself completely vulnerable by handing over its most important territorial assets.

Roger Cohen praises, in this morning’s NY Times (Why American Jews Matter), A.J.C. Executive Director David Harris, who rebuked Minister Naftali Bennett’s comment about the need to “build, build, build” in Judea and Samaria, and to accept that the Palestinian issue, like that by now notorious shrapnel in his friend’s backside, will continue to cause us the occasional, but not critical, pain.

Harris said the minister’s remarks were “stunningly shortsighted,” that they must be “repudiated by the country’s top leaders,” and that they offered “only the prospect of a dead-end strategy of endless conflict and growing isolation for Israel.”

Roger Cohen praised “Harris’s shots inside the troops carrier,” writing admiringly: “To say such language is unusual at major U.S. Jewish organizations is an understatement: Israel has had near carte blanche from them, with negative consequences.”

Did you get that part? Israel was enjoying a carte blanche, as if the Jewish State actually needs the approval of possibly three million, loosely organized but oh so vociferous American Jews in order to carry out its policies.

Some cases of Chutzpah run deeper than its mere insolent bruising. Every once in a while, you can glean from the Chutzpah an entire world view.

Roger Cohen, sitting on West 46th Street, sipping a cool lemonade, actually believes that his opinion matters. That the good people of Israel, having buried thousands of their dead after two intifadas and two Gaza wars, will actually take into account some leftist American Jew’s view about giving the Arabs a fourth chance to annihilate us. Or that we will continue to accept a policy of construction freeze in our population areas that are literally bursting with the highest birth rate in the country.

Sitting on 46th Street, a member of an economic elite in a country whose middle class is mired in poverty, in a country so panicked by the fear of terrorism, it has annulled at least five of the first amendments to its constitution, Roger Cohen is calling the views of Bennett and Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, “messianic:”

“This Messianic view of the Jewish state’s destiny has grown for the past 46 years, despite undertakings from various leaders, including Netanyahu in 2009, to seek a two-state peace. If the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, outside East Jerusalem, has almost doubled in the past dozen years to over 350,000 (Bennett put the number at 400,000), it is because the notion that all the land belongs to Israel by divine decree has been ascendant and compromise increasingly seen as a deficit of faith. Construction has spelled out what official government policy could not quite say: We have no plans to leave.”

You understand that the Jewish person Roger Cohen uses “messianic” as a pejorative term. In his world, faith in the Messiah is inherently delusional. Faith in our life here, in Eretz Israel, being part of an ongoing messianic redemption – that’s as foreign a concept to him as voting Republican.

But now, that Bennett and Danon have shown their true faces—as, I’m sure, will be the case with the majority of the Likud-Beiteinu delegation, should the day come for an up or down vote on the 2-state—now, says Roger Cohen, we caught those messianic perversions in time, and we can stop them.

“It is in this sense that Bennett’s statement is a true public service. Far better to have clarity about the meaning of Israel’s actions in the West Bank than to have a fait accompli — the growing settler presence — cloaked in governmental opacity about the ultimate objective. If the aim is known then a judgment can be made, not least by American Jewish organizations.”

How marvelous. There’s a story that was told by the Holy Rizhiner, that in the end of time, Elijah will have another bout with the Baal prophets, except this time they will be able to set their alter ablaze, while Elijah will not. They will look grand and victorious, and Elijah will appear like the defeated fool.

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/roger-cohen-praises-ajcs-harris-attack-on-bennett/2013/06/21/

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