“There are pseudo-intellectuals, journalists and diplomats, who constantly declare that “everyone knows what the solution is,” and it is just a question of will and time. They assume a Palestinian state alongside Israel, living in peace and harmony and prosperity. And the evidence for that rosy scenario ? Non-existent. The evidence that Obama will actively engage Iran to thwart its nuclear ambitions ? Non-existent. Rather, they (and we) would do well to heed Tedlow’s definition of denial: “the unwillingness to see or admit a truth that ought to be apparent and is in fact apparent to many others.”
So I wrote in “Denial,” and among the prime exhibits of pundits who have presumed the outcome in the face of all evidence and who have therefore been relentlessly wrong and shameless unapologetic about it is Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria. One would think that his touting of Oslo and other debacles, Gush Katif and the rockets on Israel that that retreat created, would give at least some pause to re-consider, re-evaluate or perhaps even be silent about an area on which he clearly knows little. Yet, he persists. Herewith follows portions of this week’s screed, followed by simple commentary, relating to the current “crisis” in US-Israel relations.
“…this crisis hasn’t been caused by just one event – the announcement while VP Joe Biden was visiting Israel, to approve new Jewish housing units in East Jerusalem…And while he’s apologized for the ill-timed announcement, Netanyahu remains unyielding. In fact, the Israeli press has reported plans to build not merely the 1600 units announced last week, but 50,000. ‘We will act according to the vital interests of the State of Israel,’ Netanyahu said last week.”
Of course, the “crisis” wasn’t caused by one event; it was manufactured and contrived by an administration hostile to Israel, one that is re-orienting American foreign policy away from the US’s traditional allies. Unmentioned, of course, is that Netanyahu is continuing a policy advocated by each of his predecessors, and in furtherance of policy enunciated last year that would restrict building in Judea and Samaria but not at all in Jerusalem – a policy acknowledged by the United States, even if not fully embraced. So Israel, then, announced the third of seven stages in a process of building in its capital city where Israel has long maintained it would continue to build and from which it would never withdraw. What, then, is the cause for “crisis” ?
“What are those vital interests ?….Iran… But…if tackling the rise of Iran were [Netanyahu’s] paramount concern, would he have allowed a collapse in relations with the United States, the country whose military, political and economic help is indispensable in confronting this challenge…?”
But America has been singularly ineffectual in dealing with Iran, and has been feckless in its diplomacy – failing to enact any meaningful sanctions , brutally failing (an epic collapse of American diplomacy under Hillary Clinton) to win over friendly nations (Brazil) to sanctions, much less adversaries like Russian and China. American threats are empty and routinely (and contemptuously) dismissed by Iran, and the pronouncements (“We will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear blah-blah-blah”) that it has been propagating for more than two years are ridiculed when they are not ignored altogether. What has Obama done that would engender the slightest hope in Israel that America will prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state? Nothing that I can think of, besides words and more words repeated ad nauseum. And for that Israel should refuse to build in its capital city, thereby tacitly conceding that its status is negotiable ?
“Bibi likes to think of himself as Winston Churchill, warning the world of a gathering storm. But he should bear in mind that Churchill’s single obsession during the late 1930’s was to strengthen his alliance with the United States, whatever the costs, concessions and compromises he had to make.”
And Zakaria should in mind that Churchill had Franklin Roosevelt to deal with, and not a post-modern, post-American, cosmopolitan, citizen of the world, radical liberationist, pacifist who rejects the concept of American exceptionalism (i.e., Obama). Nor did Churchill ever hear from FDR about the need to avoid violence or “disproportionate” violence, to negotiate with his enemies, to surrender all of Wales and parts of London. What a specious comparison !
Zakaria, continues, in typical, anti-Israel polemicist fashion, to approvingly cite from a columnist from Haaretz – as if that is mainstream opinion in Israel –about how Netanyahu has “plunged Israel’s essential relationship with the United States to unheard of depths.”
Can it not be argued that an administration without any natural sympathy for any of America’s traditional allies would eventually be at loggerheads with Israel ? Even allies can have diverging interests – must every divergence represent a nadir in a strategic relationship ? Does the United States have perfectly symmetrical interests with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, etc.? I think not, that is why this current “crisis” is not real but contrived. And I wonder how Zakaria would respond to Caroline Glick’s observations ?
“Israel continues to live in a terrible strategic environment, with radical groups eager to combat it, most of its neighbors unwilling even to recognize its existence, and a broader world that is increasingly dismayed by or hostile toward it. Many of these problems and attitudes stem from a deep-seating rejection of Israel. But much has changed in that regard. The Arab states have had to accept that their goal of defeating Israel has crumbled…”
Really ? If so, then why are its neighbors unwilling to recognize it? Herein lies the disconnect between fact and fantasy. In truth, not much has changed in 60 years, and simple honesty would demand that Zakaria mention that Arab hostility towards Israel pre-dates “settlements,” “fences,” “occupation,” “roadblocks” – and by a good 80 years. It deserves mention that from 1948-1967, Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria (and Egypt occupied Gaza) – and Arab states were still unwilling to recognize Israel, and waged wars of extermination against it. There is not a shred of evidence to support the contention that the Arabs have relinquished their dream of destroying Israel; on the contrary, reams of evidence support the very opposite conclusion. And nothing underscores the futility of this “peace process” and the ones before it than the elementary deduction that Arab rhetoric has changed, but not Arab genocidal motivations. And the world is turning on Israel for reasons that every Jew understands in his or her heart.
“The Palestinians in the West Bank have extremely good leadership, with President Abbas committed to a peaceful path to a two-state solution and PM Fayyad committed to a competent, clean, and effective Palestinian government that focuses on economic growth, not violence.”
Really ? With these insights, Zakaria crosses the line separating observer from propagandist. “Peaceful path” ? Does that include incitement (naming a square in Ramallah last weekafter a terrorist mass-murderer, an event attributed by Hillary Clinton to Hamas, not Fatah) ? Or the continued violence – stabbings, shootings and the like – against Israeli citizens ? Or the continued funding of Hamas – by the very same Palestinian Authority ? This is wishful thinking masquerading as analysis and bears no reality to the facts on the ground. Only a person who harbors ill-will toward Israel would conclude that “the Palestinians are being led wisely.” Pray tell: and how many “refugees” have been provided permanent housing during this enlightened reign ? Answer: none.
“Bibi Netanyahu looks more like a local ward boss, concerned only with keeping himself on power while the dangers to Israel mount from all sides.”
Someone give Zakaria a faux box of tissues to dry the crocodile tears he sheds over the great dangers facing Israel. Implicit in this criticism is the furtherance of one American policy objective – the destabilization of the Netanyahu government and his loss of power. And he can easily lose that power and that position of influence – if he pays any attention at all to another tendentious, uninformed and dangerous essay of Fareed Zakaria (ditto for Tom Friedman).