Saturday, March 3, 2012

Israel

Robert Wright has an excellent post in Netanyahu's Latest Affront to Obama--and Bloggingheads just put up an Israel conversation with Glenn Loury and Gershom Gorenberg.  I just read Gorenberg's The Unmaking of Israel and consider him/it first rate.  Like Wright, Loury and Gorenberg, I'm a friendly critic of the prevailing attitude and direction of Israel's policies, and find the discussion of Israel among congressional candidates doesn't make much sense.

The US government should be putting firmer pressure on Israel to pursue peace.  Israel must know that forever postponing final status negotiations is not acceptable.  The US must pressure Israel to abandon its foolhardy settlements enterprise.  As Israel's most generous friend, we have the right to request Israel refrain from practices obviously deleterious to the country's long-term integration in the region.

The discussion of Israel in the US is strongly influenced by AIPAC and right-wing Christians.  Rep. Paulsen uncritically accepts a straight AIPAC view of the region.  Paulsen's empathy with Israelis includes a certain palpable non-empathy for the Palestinians.  He embraces an America Can Do No Wrong foreign policy impulse; he's never criticized any historical US foreign intervention.

During the diavlog linked-to above, Gorenberg mentions that, observing mainstream discussion of Israel here in the US, Israelis sometimes feel they've landed on Mars--as any Israeli politician speaking as Newt Gingrich would be taken for a beyond-the-pale, insane ultra-rightist.  I agree with Gorenberg, and believe we need to begin having a franker national discussion about our options, in bringing about a peaceful settlement while seeking, consistent with our values, to minimize foreign policy risks.
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