Saturday, July 22, 2006


A few weeks ago, NR's Rich Lowry posted this column after returning from an American Israel Education Foundation-sponsored trip to Israel. In it, Lowry gravely reports that a "grim realism" has set in amongst Israelis, which has caused them to abandon the twin illusions of a Greater Israel and a negotiated peace with the Palestinians. That Lowry would speak this way is unsurprising, given the nature of the "educational" junket of which he was a part.

The AIEF is closely affiliated with AIPAC, and trips like these have proven a very effective way of maintaining support in Congress for hardline Israeli policies. American legislators, their aides, and credulous journalists like Rich Lowry are flown to Israel, set up in nice hotels, taken in helicopter rides over the ever-expanding Jewish settlements, and spoon-fed hardline revisionist talking points for hours a day, talking points which many of them then dutifully regurgitate upon returning to the U.S. "See? Israelis are just like us: They eat pizza! They swim in pools! They shop in malls! Palestinians, on the other hand, worship Allah. Enough said."

Of course, such trips always steer clear of the Palestinian slums, the bulldozed Palestinian homes, the uprooted Palestinian olive groves, the shelled Palestinian schools, the razed Palestinian playgrounds, the long lines of Palestinian elderly, men, women, and children baking in the merciless Mediterranean sun at Israeli military checkpoints as teenage IDF troops leisurely thumb through their identification papers and make humiliating jokes about them, or anything else that might puncture the lie that it is Israel who is under siege.

In my view, the illusion that has been shattered in these last weeks is the notion that Israel can achieve anything resembling normalcy or stability in the absence of a political process, in the absence of negotiations with its enemies. As Daniel Levy, guest-posting at The Washington Note, points out:
Israel withdrew from the Sinai in the context of a negotiated peace agreement with Egypt and from parts of the Arava in a negotiated peace treaty with Jordan, results: quiet borders, no military exchanges since, solid if cool peace. Israel withdrew from South Lebanon and Gaza unilaterally without agreements...enough said.

After the latest events avoidance of negotiations with the Palestinians and pursuit of a unilateral convergence on the West Bank, or re-alignment, or disengagement or whatever new name is found is a joke in poor taste.

The unilateral paradigm has ill-served the US and Israel, bury it.

Repeat: The idea that Israel can unilaterally impose a solution, or achieve security simply by the might of its military is the illusion here. It has not worked in Palestine. It will not work in Lebanon.

I'd like to quickly mention one other thing. Today marks the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem by the Zionist Irgun organization. Demonstrating once again the grace, sensitivity, and good sense for which he is unknown the world over, former PM Binyamin Netanyahu attended a celebration of this event. You read that right: A celebration. At the very moment that Israel is raining bombs down on the Lebanese in response to the capture of two of its soldiers, Israelis are celebrating the death of 92 people by Zionist terrorism. Words simply don't begin to do justice to the staggering moral relativism at work here.

Speaking of AIPAC-funded trips to Israel, here's Jacob Weisberg in Slate, reporting that it's everybody else's fault except for George W. Bush and Israel. I'm curious how much of this he wrote himself, and how much was simply cut and pasted from AIPAC materials. Super-plus-mega-bonus-doo-doo points to Weisberg for repeating the tiresome Myth of Arafat's Rejection of Israel's Generous Offer at Camp David, which has earned a place alongside Reagan Won the Cold War as a Self-serving Political Storyline of Yesteryear Which is Seriously Perverting Our Foreign Policy This Year.

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