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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just watching, now...

I don't think Andrew is going to get himself out of this one, alone, especially if he starts of with something so smug as this. The only compelling thing he's written lately is that Netanyahu and his government represent a tone that is at times shocking, arrogant and counterproductive in many dimensions.

Should that be surprising to Andrew's readers? It's not to me. If it is to Andrew, he doesn't know much about the rise of rightwing politics in Israel, maybe? Or, the willingness of some Israelis to stand up, even thumb their nose, at the U.S.? Is America so much better? Britain? France? All of them less prone to periods of irrationality in their foreign policies or otherwise, today or in yesteryear?

The same goes for the Gaza assessment. What about the 34 Days (or 33 days?)? What about any of the 'quiet aggressions' or other failings, recognized internally or not? Indeed, an "awakening" over Gaza may - may - say more about the writer than an objectively assessed change in the situation.

I suspect that Obama's low rating in Israel is the result of his (liberal? Jewish?) advisers, who put him on a course of opening relations with a demand to end to all settlement activity. Okay, now, even Rabin did not agree to that. That Rabin didn't alone should be an indication that (a) there is something not complete in this demand, as simple as it seems, or (b) Obama's advisers are just stupid, so much so that 90% of the Israeli public - or whatever large percent - now thinks that the U.S. President just doesn't "get it" in one way or another. To conflate this public opinion with a rightward shift of that magnitude in Israeli politics is absurd - Bibi doesn't enjoy nearly that much support. [Update: I'm reminded that the Roadmap does, in fact, call for an end to all settlement activity. All the more reason to appreciate how far off the road we are in terms of a peace framework, even a non-robust one like the Roadmap.]

"The defense of the Jewish people in the wake of the Holocaust" is tottering in the other direction, so the next salvo might come from angry Arabs... What's more, it's not a principle that is going to push the peace process along, even if it might be laudable on face.

It's not clear what settlement activity Andrew is referencing. Is he talking about the settlements that Israel recognizes as illegal? Or, is he referencing all the settlement activity that the Palestinians claim are illegal?

As for parts of the smear not coming from the unthinking or the fettered, it would do to be patient (and to wear a flak jacket, frankly). Hopefully, Andrew can realize that some folks can feel hurt by attacks on what they think are justified actions, even if Andrew doesn't think they are justified. They have passionate beliefs, too, and it is often easy to smear, rather than to educate. That's one reason why I don't like to read Leon. His rants don't educate anyone, so much. One learns more from Judt, for example, with whom I've found disagreement, even.