Roger Cohen in the NYT gives three reasons he thinks Israelis are anxious about the Arab world upheavals.
Israel is anxious. It preferred the old Middle Eastern order. It could count on the despots, like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, to suppress the jihadists, reject Iran, and play the Israeli-Palestinian game along lines that created a permanent temporariness ever more favorable to Israeli power.
Notice “permanent temporariness.” Cohen is implying that everyone knew deep down that there would be a wave of popular revolutions in the Arab world, and that Camp David was Israel’s way of stopping that inevitability in order to impose its hegemony on the region.
I’d love to find the Roger Cohen columns from between 1979 and 2011 that gave us a glimpse of this inevitable Egyptian revolution.
Moreover, his very premise is that the Israel/Egyptian peace agreement was a means to ensure Israel’s power. In the end, though, Israel is the only party that took a risk at Camp David – giving up a huge amount of territory for nothing more than a piece of paper. His characterization of the peace agreement as some sort of Israeli coup rather than a frightful gamble is ridiculous and borderline slanderous. (And nowhere in his article does he mention that likely Egyptian leaders are all calling to re-examine Camp David, something that gives great credence to the Israeli fears he likes to downplay.)
Israelis are doubly worried. They wonder, Mr. President, if you like them in a heart-to-heart way. You’ve been to Cairo, you’ve been to Istanbul, so what’s wrong with Jerusalem? Why won’t you come and kvetch with us, President Obama, and feel our pain?
What does this have to do with Egypt? It is true that Israel doesn’t feel the same warmth from Obama that it felt from George W. Bush and from Bill Clinton. The reason is because it simply isn’t there.
Israelis are triply worried. Elections are unpredictable — just look at Gaza — and now they may be held across the Arab world! There’s the Muslim Brotherhood talking a good line but nursing menace. And what if Jordan goes, too?
“Just look at Gaza?” Perhaps we need to remind this self-styled Middle East expert that Hamas was not only elected in Gaza but by Palestinian Arabs as a whole across the West Bank as well.
Here’s a bit of education for Roger Cohen – the 2006 election results by district:Hamas won in Jerusalem, Tulkarem, Nablus, Salfit, Hebron – and even Ramallah!
Damon Winter/The New York Times
Roger Cohen joined The New York Times in 1990. He was a foreign correspondent for more than a decade before becoming acting foreign editor on Sept. 11, 2001, and foreign editor six months later.
Since 2004, he has written a column for The Times-owned International Herald Tribune, first for the news pages and then, since 2007, for the Op-Ed page. In 2009 he was named a columnist of The New York Times.
Mr. Cohen has written “Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo” (Random House, 1998), an account of the wars of Yugoslavia’s destruction, and “Soldiers and Slaves: American POWs Trapped by the Nazis’ Final Gamble” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). He has also co-written a biography of General Norman Schwarzkopf, “In the Eye of the Storm” (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1991).
Follow Mr. Cohen on Twitter »
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has positioned himself as a left-wing whistleblower whose life mission is to call the United States to task for the evil it has wreaked throughout the world. But after poring through the diplomatic cables revealed via the site yesterday, one might easily wonder if Assange isn’t instead a clandestine agent of Dick Cheney and Bibi Netanyahu; whether his muckraking website isn’t part of a Likudnik plot to provoke an attack on Iran; and if PFC Bradley Manning, who allegedly uploaded 250,000 classified documents to Wikileaks, is actually a Lee Harvey Oswald-like neocon patsy.
With all due apologies to Oliver Stone (and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey), what the Wikileaks documents reveal is not a conspiracy of any kind but a scary and growing gap between the private assessments of American diplomats and allies in the Middle East and public statements made by U.S. government officials. The publication of these leaked cables is eerily reminiscent of the Pentagon Papers, which exposed a decade-long attempt by U.S. officials to distort and conceal unpalatable truths about the Vietnam War, and manipulate public opinion. The difference is that while the Pentagon Papers substantially vindicated the American left, the Wikileaks cable dump vindicates the right.
Here are eight of the most obvious examples from the initial trove of documents that has appeared online: the rest of the exposure via tabletmag.com
some commentators like at the news hour by Soros funded PBS had it’s regular Israel bashing analysis… (and this had me cackling) had ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI allude that Israel or a hostile party to Turkey was behind the Wikileak. One can easily see that the Wikileak will evolve in the Arab world into another variation of 911Troof. Too many of Israel’s enemies were really hurt by these cables… and it is very hard to spin that this didn’t help Israel’s survival away from a Holocaust.
The news that terrorists were using the ambulances in Israel was revealing… but no more as revealing as the responses by the Israel bashing media
“Clearly one way that Iran is increasing its influence in the region is by exploiting the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians,” Ross said, echoing statements made by U.S. Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus in a report (pdf) submitted to Congress back in March.
Apparently Bibi is bypassing Mitchell and talking directly to Ross. It appears to be a conflict that is more personal and less to do with both the security of Israel. Perhaps as Carl mentions he thinks he can get away with giving it up because it is an Orthodox neighborhood and those Jews are treated as secular citizens compared to the rest of Israelis, but Ramat Shlomo is a Jewish neighborhood surrounded by Jews and giving it up would be a major security breach for Jews. I find it hard to believe that people can’t see this as Ethnic cleansing. Jews are not allowed in the territory allotted to Palestine, but the reverse is not so.
US President Barack Obama made clear in a recent letter to the Palestinians that he views Israel as the obstacle to peace and will approach further peace efforts from that point of view, according to senior Palestinian Authority officials. PA secretary general Tayeb Abdel Rahim on Sunday told reporters that the letter made the usual commitments to an independent Palestinian state with territorial continuity. Rahim also said that Obama promised to start publicly assigning blame to those he sees holding up peace and to force Israel into indefinitely extending its temporary settlement freeze.
What is lame is that Obama isn’t even talking to Bibi, but rather using the NYTimes through Roger Cohen to publicly threaten the Jewish state. Would a real friend use a newspaper to make threats? Obama looks silly in a cowboy hat. He doesn’t have what it takes to be a real man and say it to another man’s face
The Obama administration has in fact threatened to abstain rather than veto a UN Security Council resolution regarding Israel. It’s just that the resolution in question is narrower than what has been reported previously.
I believe this is called passive aggressive
Mr. Mitchell’s deputy, David Hale, indicated to the Palestinians that if Israel proceeded with the construction of 1,600 housing units in Jerusalem’s ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, the United States would abstain from, rather than veto, a resolution in the United Nations Security Council condemning the move.
Ben Smith notes that the White House has not denied this story. Smith adds:
This isn’t inconsistent with yesterday’s denial, and the U.S. posture seems to be that they’d abstain from a resolution attacking a specific Israeli move, but continue to veto broader censure of Israel.
That would still be a major shift. The traditional U.S. posture isn’t that the U.S. vetoes anti-Israel resolutions because they’re specifically incorrect, but on the grounds that the U.N. is broadly unfair and overly focused on Israel.
Jennifer Rubin is justifiably upset about this.
So much for defending Israel in international institutions, and so much for past promises by the U.S. to leave disposition of Jerusalem to final-status talks. A knowledgeable source reminds me that the Bush administration regularly vetoed anti-Israel UN resolutions, the sole exception being an abstention in January 2009, which called for a ceasefire in the Gaza War. But the notion that we would threaten prospectively to permit a condemnation of the Jewish state by the UN Israel-bashers is frankly shocking. We’ll abstain no matter what the UN says? As the source tells me, “Resolutions are vetoed one by one; language counts.” So the Obambi are either making a promise to the Palestinians that can’t be relied upon, or the Obambi are giving Israel’s UN foes a blank check to bash, condemn, and vilify Israel to their heart’s content.
Once again, one asks, where are the mainstream Jewish organizations? Do they find Obama’s platitudinous assurances and pretty letters so irresistible that they can’t bestir themselves to discern the true nature of Obama’s Middle East policy? The evidence continues to mount that Obama will keep turning the screws on the Jewish state and will countenance, if not encourage, the UN’s crusade to delegitimize Israel and impose a “peace” on an unwilling ally. American Jewish “leaders” better rouse themselves from their slumber before it too late to knock the Obami off their desired course. Or maybe it already is.
I suspect that most of the ‘mainstream Jewish organizations’ don’t know or care where Ramat Shlomo is or what it is about.
Some of you may have heard about the corruption scandal known as the Holyland Park, a huge luxury apartment complex built on the site of the former Holyland Hotel, which seems to have gotten its zoning permits only because they bribed just about everyone in sight. What you may not realize is that Jerusalem has had almost nothing but ‘luxury apartments’ built for the last 20 years. Those luxury apartments are purchased by people who live abroad, and they sit empty for the entire year except for the weeks of the Pesach and Sukkot holidays. That’s great if you can afford it, but what it means for Israelis is that there are no apartments we can afford, that the shopkeepers in those neighborhoods have little or no business and that the schools in those neighborhoods have few or no students. On a macro level, it’s been devastating to the city. Housing prices have skyrocketed, and young couples are either living in storage rooms converted to apartments or have left the city altogether. That’s why we’re still fighting an uphill battle to keep Jerusalem Jewish.
There have been two new neighborhoods in the last twenty years in which they housing was (originally at least) affordable: Ramat Shlomo and Har Homa. Both were built in the 1990’s. Those 1,600 apartments that were supposed to be built in Ramat Shlomo were 3-bedroom 2-bathroom starter apartments (according to a weekend JPost article that as far as I can tell is not online yet) that would keep young, Jewish couples in the city. Meanwhile, the Arabs continue to build in Jerusalem without any need for permits. The city is no longer enforcing its own building code when it comes to Arab buildings.
So by ignoring Ramat Shlomo, those ‘Jewish leaders’ are greatly increasing the risk that they will wake up one morning to discover that Jerusalem no longer has a Jewish majority.
Prime Minister Netanyahu notified President Obama over the weekend once again that Israel will not freeze construction in Jerusalem. But it’s a lie. Netanyahu has made the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood into the sacrificial lamb for the ‘freeze’ (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
If New York Times columnist Roger Cohen is telling the truth, in effect, the Obama administration asked him to issue a warning threat to the Netanyahu government.
As I was lulling to sleep I saw a tweet from @Daroff of the UJC: Roger Cohen is optimistic on the peace process in his @nytimes column from #Israel http://j.mp/akcvkq ….so I responded: @Daroff you can’t be serious about retweeting Roger Cohen? poison! you really did work for the Bush Sr. admin if you like that guy. ….but Mr. Daroff tweeted back: @CriticalAnalyst I do not endorse every author I RT, obviously. Mostly I tweeted it because I spoke w/Danny tonight about his role in it. (Danny Ayalon I presume) …so I guess now I have to read this…. and it was a waste of time:
let me summarize. It opens with a lot of bullshit about being a realist… and then pulls a fake Anne Frank. despite it all he claims to see the better in people… and yet his main argument is that Obama is going to stay the course because kids going into the middle east think that Israel is causing them harm.
…if you read the article Danny Ayalon is hardly mentioned beyond the fact that he is concerned about a border. There is no reason to retweet this. Mr. Daroff could of just as easily reposted Ayalon’s concerns without pushing this guy’s lies.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Remember when the UJA Federation of NY sponsored an antisemitic blood libel film? We’ve also pointed out how one New Israel Fund staffer believes that Israel is guilty of terrorism, and how the mainstream “Jewish” establishment organizations such as the UJA/UJC/Jewish Federations of North America, etc., help fund the No Israel Fund, and how even the Jewish Chronicle in London celebrated the No Israel Fund and we’ve pointed out facts about the NIF, such as these from NGO Monitor:
- NIF has granted more than $200 million to more than 800 organizations in Israel.” This includes $40 million from the Ford Foundation for “peace and social justice” programs.
- In 2008, NIF distributed over $20 million to over 300 NGOs in Israel. Approximately 20% goes to NGOs that engage in political activities related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including some that reject the legitimacy of Israel as Jewish democratic state, and are active in boycott and similar campaigns.
- Five grantees – Machsom Watch, Coalition of Women for Peace, Women Against Violence, Social TV, and Mossawa – signed a divestment letter, which was sent to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund.Adalah ($500,000 in 2008) promotes a “Democratic Constitution” calling for eliminating Israel’s Jewish framework, and based on the “one-state solution.”
- Adalah officials were also involved in writing and editing a May 2009 South African publication “Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?: A re-assessment of Israel´s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law.” The document refers to Israeli occupation as a “colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.”
Cohen’s reasons for negotiating with Hammas. “The Hamas charter is vile,” Cohen admits, “but the breakthrough Oslo accords were negotiated in 1993, three years before the Palestine Liberation Organization revoked the annihilationist clauses in its charter. When Arafat and Rabin shook hands on the White House lawn, that destroy-Israel charter was intact. Things change through negotiation, not otherwise. If there are Taliban elements worth engaging, are there really no such elements in the broad movements that are Hamas and Hezbollah?”
If only I were an analyst, I would be exonerated from checking the facts, and I would be spared the embarrassment of finding that the Oslo accords were negotiated only after Arafat proclaimed, three years earlier, before the U.N. General Assembly in Geneva (Dec. 13, 1988) that the Palestinian National Council renounced “all types of terrorism” and had accepted resolutions 242 and 338 as a basis for negotiations (in truth, it did not, but the world heard what it yearned to hear).
As an analyst, I would not need to find out that things did not exactly change through those negotiations in the 1990s — the PLO, to this very day, has not amended the annihilationist clauses in its charter, as openly admitted by Farouq Kadoumi in an interview with a Jordanian newspaper (Al-Arab, April 22, 2004; see Benny Morris’ book “One State, Two States” for a detailed chronology).
On the contrary, an intractable Gordian knot has been created: Every Westerner now believes the charter is amended; every Palestinian says it is amended but believes it is not, and every Israeli knows what Palestinians believe. Not a healthy mindset for peace negotiations.