Jeffrey Goldberg Warns, Don’t Pressure Israel or She Goes Into Bunker…

Jeffrey Goldberg is happy about Hillary as Sec'y of State and advises her to push for a Palestinian state now, but one pretty much on Israel's terms.

Palestinians suffer sometimes from the irrational hope that America’s
support for Israel is mutable, and that the key to success is to bring
about direct American pressure on Israel. This won’t happen for any
number of reasons, and I think Hillary Clinton understands that
American pressure will only encourage Israeli politicians to descend
into the bunker.

My sense, without reading him in full, is that Goldberg while upset with what he calls "the settlement project" and wanting it to end now, and supportive of a "viable" Palestinian state on lands infiltrated by Israeli holdings, is firmly against the right of return and probably against retrenchment to '67 borders or even sacrifice of the "security zone" Israel wishes to maintain in the Jordan Valley.

That is: he is aware that the West Bank has been thoroughly colonized, and Palestinian society fragmented, and he knows that's a bad thing, but he doesn't want any pressure on Israel about abandoning its territorial holdings there.

The result will be unjust; and when a pro-Palestinian, now finally included in the discussion here, should object: No Justice, No Peace, Goldberg will respond that Hillary must explain to the Palestinians (as he states here): "exactly why most Americans tend to side with Israel. It
should be, in essence, a speech that justifies the original Zionist
idea." So: America loves Israel, and you better understand that now. "For any number of reasons." A hint at the truth there: because of media orthodoxy and Democratic Party Israel-lobby money. Israel Lobby R Us.

When I would argue that Americans, who elected a mutt, must really finally now talk among themselves about how much of a 110-year-old European idea with racial overtones they wish to swallow. As we discussed Communism once, and didn't go for it. Last May Goldberg heroically called for "blunt" discussion of Israeli policies in the U.S. He was right then; still it has not happened.

Goldberg warns, Pressure Israel and the leaders go into the bunkers. There is a hint there at the Pakistanization of Israel: Look, we have to treat with tyrants because they have nuclear weapons. Scary. A type of blackmail that Goldberg would approve of in this instance (and not the Pakistani one) because he believes in Jewish power, and the recuperation of Jewish power in the shadow of the Holocaust. (Though I gather he was a jobnik when he served in the IDF; jobnik is Israeli slang for what Australians mean when they say, "a desk wallah.")

I find this argument faintly thuggish. I seek American leadership. It is a desperate situation in the Middle East in many ways. Goldberg and I agree on a lot here, including that the Israeli leaders lack any moral imagination. They cannot lead us, and they should not lead us, or Hillary, or Obama. The central fault in Goldberg's thought is that in valorizing Jewish power, he recommends an abdication of American power. This principle has demolished our statecraft in the region since '48.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics

{ 27 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Sword of Gideonthe point. says:

    It's not complicated. The 1967 borders and the right of return means the destruction of Israel and the death and dispersion of all the Jews there. Phil Weiss, has befitting a guy who believes that Pat Buchanan was right about Hitler and Churchill believes in that outcome. Jeff Goldberg doesn't. It really is that simple.

  2. William Burns says:

    Goldberg believes that the US can best mediate a solution by completely identifying with one side. The fact that this strategy has never actually worked won't stop him. He's a good example of the complete uselessness of liberal Zionism.

  3. Scott says:

    I guess we'll find out soon enough whether Hillary isa Democratic neocon (as the Weekly Standard hopes) or was just playing one for electoral purposes. She certainly didn't have a neocon profile before becoming a NY senator. It's pretty interesting. As SOG and "SOGthe point" (I guess we are to assume they aren't the same person), know all too well, you can't always trust these gentile politicians to stay bought.

  4. observer says:

    Why should non-Jewish Americans value the life and rights of a Jew over the life and rights of a Palestinian? Why should such Americans
    spend their blood and treasure so?

    Right of Return? All (discriminatory) civil rights in Israel are based on this law, which
    no other state has.

    When does affirmative action slide into reverse racism?

    Especially when the Palestinians had nothing to do with the Shoah.

    What's good for the goose, is good for gander. A Palestinian right of return extends merely to native inhabitants of Mandate Palestine since the English colonial project commenced by letter
    to Rothschild, the banker.

    The Palestinian right of return does not encompass Palestinians
    living around the world, where such could simply return and have
    privileges as a matter of right over natives.

    The moral model here is S. Africa. World economic and moral
    power resulted in the colonials signing a reconciliation act, admitting their original sin, then equalization, and S. Africa also
    gave up its nukes.

    The 1967 borders should be the most Israel gets. And, at the very least Israel should have to pay reparations in lieu of Palestinian
    return a la the Germans to this day. That means Israeli reparations, not American subsidized Israeli reparations.

    As SOG, says, its elementary.

  5. LeaNder says:

    Very good deconstruction Phil, the same caught my attention: "This won’t happen for any number of reasons"

    Is it essentially insider talk conveying quite a bit of disregard of the larger audience, intensified by anti-Palestinian bias. I wouldn't wonder if it creates resentment in some,

    When I would argue that Americans, who elected a mutt, must really finally now talk among themselves about how much of a 110-year-old European idea with racial overtones they wish to swallow.

    Basically I agree. Americans somehow have to shoulder the burden of the European history. …

    I haven't paid the US context the necessary attention yet. Waiting on the shelf.

    Association: Richard Silverstein without knowing initiated a new thought process for me in this context: with X-mas trees, which I somehow can't disconnect from Israel. As a land were Jewish culture dominates. Maybe in the future a new mix of Jewish and Palestinian culture?

    There is a big problem in the matter we are dealing with here: Essentially it means to shift the nation from philosemitism to a more realistic perspective, and I think the fear it could shift to antisemitism is justified. (…) So is it possible the source of what feels like haughtiness really is fear?

    The goal should be for the US to deal with this as an enlightened nation.

  6. Colin Murray says:

    Gideon: The 1967 borders and the right of return means the destruction of Israel and the death and dispersion of all the Jews there.

    Colin: It would mean the end of the Israeli government in its current form of institutionalized rabid racism. It doesn't necessarily mean the end of Israel as a nation. And it definitely doesn't have to mean "death and dispersion of all the Jews there". Any objective list of potential mass-murderers and genocidal maniacs in the region will have YOUR (extremist Zionists) names on top. Extremist Zionists (Albright, Wolfowitz, Feith, etc) are already responsible for the deaths of around 2 million Iraqis, during the inter-war 'embargo' and following the Iraq invasion.

    I just realized that the worst mass-murderers, the large-scale administrative kind, are all Americans. I can't think of a single Israeli who is responsible for a body count that is anywhere close to what American neo-communists have wrought. I wonder if its a 'skin in the game' thing: maybe its easier for them to arrange for killing and destruction on a large-scale when they don't live in the country whose security is most imperiled by their barbarity. An alternate explanation is that extremists Zionists in America simply have more power to make things happen because the power of the government they have suborned is so much greater.

  7. Colin Murray says:

    LeaNder:" …I think the fear it could shift to antisemitism is justified. (…) So is it possible the source of what feels like haughtiness really is fear?:

    Colin: Sometimes I think that extremist Zionists WANT a resurgence in antisemitism. It seems like everything they do is practically designed to that end. How much blowback will the American people tolerate before getting angry at them? Fortunately for Jews in general, the vast majority of whom are innocent of wrongdoing, it will be only anger, not hatred, and mostly properly channeled at the guilty. We ARE better than that. I agree with your assessment that fear is the primary emotion at work here. I'm not sure how this can be realistically applied, but I think reassurance is the most appropriate tool to solve that problem and facilitate shunning and isolation of the extremists.

  8. Colin Murray says:

    Tongue in cheek: Maybe it would be a good thing for Israelis to spend some time in 'the bunker'. It would be like sending a misbehaving schoolboy to go sit in the corner by himself and stare at the wall. Eventually he's going to want to come out enough to start behaving.

  9. observer says:

    How can any American government reassure SOG?
    Only by rubber-stamping Likud Israel.

    Don't forget, the heart of Witty is SOG–though both grew up
    totally sheltered and catered to by Gentile Americans who have
    given up their treasure and lives for Likud Israel for many decades, and continue doing so when all of the USA is not far from New Orleans.

  10. Colin Murray says:

    I'm not talking about reassuring SOG, he is definitely in the 'extremist Zionist' category, which I have written off as irredeemable thugs, vicious racists, and religious fanatics. I'm talking about reassuring the Zionists who are pro-Israel but anti-occupation. They may yet be reached in time to marginalize the extremists, end the occupation, and save Israel as a Jewish AND democratic state.

  11. Richard Witty says:

    The only thing that renouncing sovereignty over the West Bank implies is the end of expansion.

    It does not represent a reduction in defensability of Israeli borders, as the current maze is as indefensible as you get.

    BOTH Israel and Palestine would be vulnerable under borders in which Palestine has only two adjacent neighbors. Israel FAR FAR less so.

    That compels MORE attention to the relationship, more identification of potential conflicts, and MORE attention to reconcile those conflicts prior to escalation.

    Shoot first, listen to each other later, is the wrong strategy both for Israel and Palestine.

    That Abbas and Olmert/Livni, do communicate regularly, is evidence of potential for fulfillment of the actual need.

    Phil and I had a conversation at one point, (I don't know if it was published) about the pressure exerted on the process by EACH community insisting that Jerusalem be their political capital (rather than spiritual capital).

    If that oil and water assertion were rejected in the spirit of a political capital having nothing to do with religious sentiment or history, the it would be FAR easier to negotiate mutually respectful treatment in Jerusalem itself.

  12. Richard Witty says:

    Sword is a human being. His needs and rational concerns deserve attention. His conclusions and angers should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Fears that might be successfully assuaged. Angers that will pass.

  13. Doppler says:

    "This won’t happen for any number of reasons, and I think Hillary Clinton understands that American pressure will only encourage Israeli politicians to descend into the bunker."

    The OED gives the etymology of the word "bunker" meaning a military fortification, as Nazi Germany in 1939 – Hitler apparently promised the German people everyone would have hardened shelters to retreat to in the case of bombing, called "bunkers."

    The image of Israeli politicians "descending into the bunker," truly "creeps me out," to borrow an expression from my daughter's generation. The prisoners again show that they have absorbed the language and values of their guards, consistent with Zimbardi's Stanford Prison Experiment.

    By contrast, it's exceptional to see Obama neither bound by, nor reactionary to, the language and values of American Master/Slave or Jim Crow racism. He instead embodies and channels the best aspects of of American political philosophy and statesmanship, which Israel would do better to emulate. All men are created equal, and endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Governments, whose purpose is to secure these rights, derive their just power from the consent of the governed. Separation of state from establishments of religion. Equal justice under the law. If Israel disavows all of these rights and principles which define American political philosophy, asserts that land is given Israel by God, who also empowers Israel to occupy land owned and populated by others, to remove those others, to colonize that land, to use military occupation forces to accomplish these goals, and to deny the occupants life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, to deny them the right to elect their own government, to deny them equal justice under the law, to place Rabbis in political and judicial power, well, going into the bunker won't protect them from American reaction to that which is anathema to American values. The end is near, but the good news is that the Israelis don't need to retreat into their bunkers for the final assault. They just need to free themselves from the psychological damage of the Holocaust. Just need to wake up to the fact that there is an American way, that works, that has even cured its own original sin. That will work in the Middle East if given the chance, free from Neocon distortion.

  14. Colin Murray says:

    Richard, your point about differentiating between political and spiritual capitals is very interesting. Do you have any guess on how dug-in the Jewish and Arab sides are about their respective desires to have Jerusalem as a political capital? It seems like that could be of relevance for sorting out the disposition of Jerusalem in any final agreement. My impression has been that it is the most intractable of the land issues.

  15. STROKIN' MY UZI says:

    *********************
    FROM HAARETZ:

    Peru police nab Israeli for plotting to smuggle a half a ton of cocaine to Europe

    By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

    Tags: Peru, Israel News, Crime

    An Israeli citizen has been arrested by police in Peru on suspicion of involvement in a plot to smuggle a half a ton of Cocaine to Europe.

    The Israeli, in his fifties, was arrested Thursday night in an apartment in Lima with local friends.

    Police suspect the man hatched a plot with a group of Peruvian friends, using his work as a textile exporter as cover.

    The man has denied all allegations against him….

    SOURCE –

    link to haaretz.com

  16. Richard Witty says:

    Colin,
    Both communities HAVE dug in their heals on the capital question. Arafat spoke of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine LONG AGO, when they were still stating that they sought to remove Zionism and Jews from the region.

    It probably was a statement made in reaction to Zionism, to pendulum swing, but stuck even in the demands of the moderates.

    Similarly, in Israel, it was a big assertion to slap back at the international community's insistence that Jerusalem was international.

    Could they both agree to move their goals of capitals? I don't know.

    Its symbolic for each. And symbolism has been larger than substance historically, there and in MANY political/military struggles.

    Previously it was part of the debate among Israelis whether Israel was religious in root, or independant of religious concerns. Jerusalem if religious, Tel Aviv if indifferent to religious.

    Thats no longer the case. The functional and sentimental capital of Israel is now Jerusalem.

  17. STROKIN' MY UZI says:

    ***************
    Lebanon's ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed in a car bombing arranged by Israel's Mossad

    October 24, 2006 — A senior French DGSE — Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure — intelligence officer has told WMR [Wayne Madsen Report] that Lebanon's ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed in a car bombing arranged by Israel's Mossad. The revelation from French intelligence is significant as the French government of Jacques Chirac joined the Bush administration and the neo-con policy establishments in Washington and Israel in blaming Syria for the attack. According to the DGSE officer, Israel and its American backers wanted to blame Syria for the assassination of the popular Lebanese leader in order to blame Syria for the attack thus forcing the popular Lebanese revolt that saw the withdrawal of Syrian forces. That left Lebanon defenseless for the "Clean Break" attack launched by Israel, with US support, against Hezbollah and Lebanon's infrastructure…..

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to my.barackobama.com

    ORIGINAL SOURCE –
    http://www.waynemadsenreport.com

  18. MRW. says:

    When I would argue that Americans, who elected a mutt, must really finally now talk among themselves about how much of a 110-year-old European idea with racial overtones they wish to swallow.

    and

    Goldberg and I agree on a lot here, including that the Israeli leaders lack any moral imagination. They cannot lead us, and they should not lead us, or Hillary, or Obama. The central fault in Goldberg's thought is that in valorizing Jewish power, he recommends an abdication of American power.

    Great points.

  19. Sin Nombre says:

    Jeffrey Goldberg wrote:

    "Hillary Clinton understands that American pressure will only encourage Israeli politicians to descend into the bunker."

    A bunker paid for by us Americans, which apparently Mr. Goldberg feels we must continue to pay for so as to allow the Israelis to descend into it to ignore what we say and to continue to appropriate ever more Palestinian land.

    Nice work if you can get it.

    Either Mr. Goldberg is cognitively challenged or he thinks the rest of us are.

    How piquant having your object of charity warn you not to ask anything of them.

  20. Duscany says:

    Scott: "[Hillary] certainly didn't have a neocon profile before becoming a NY senator."

    She probably wasn't an important enough player before coming Senator that the Jewish establishment particularly cared about her fealty. Once she ran for the Senate all that changed. I remember a commentator once complaining that the last two weeks of any senatorial campaign in New York always looked as if the candidates were running for mayor of Tel Aviv rather than senator from New York. For a while the candidates even had to promise to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But that demand fell by the wayside as even the neocons came to realize it was too demeaning to require an American senator to make a promise that everyone knew the senator couldn't possibly fulfill.

  21. Duscany says:

    Witty: "Sword is a human being. His needs and rational concerns deserve attention. His conclusions and angers should be taken with a grain of salt."

    Did you actually write that, Witty? Or is someone making this stuff up and posting it under your name?

  22. Let the zionist leadership and their military go into their bunkers. any nuclear exchange will destroy them first.

  23. Richard Witty says:

    I wrote it. Sword reveals real sentiment and basis of sentiment.

    If your orientation is resolution of conflict, then you can discern what is real from lie, what is exagerated from appropriate proportion.

    The point is that he has a point, and expresses it very badly.

    It is not the only point, but it is not nothing.

  24. CJ Harwood says:

    George Galloway (TalkSport, London, Friday November 21 2008, 10pm-1am, at about 12:30am Nov. 22) (broadcast throughout the U.K.) {42.59mb.mp3}:

       George Galloway: 08717, double-2, double-3, double-4, that's the number to call. Women callers are prioritized, and so Marion in Stevenage is up next. Go ahead, Marion.
       Marion (Irish accent): George I just wonder why you are so against Hillary Clinton becoming Secretary of State. I mean, this, this is a lady that has fought all her political life against injustice, has always been on the side of the workers.
       George Galloway: Unless they were Palestinian, Marion.
       Marion: Well, you know, that's, that's another issue. I mean–
       George Galloway: Well, you say it's another issue. Let me give you another one, then: Unless they were Iraqis. Because she supported a war which killed a million of them.
       Marion: Oh, well, George, I mean, I'm talking about her role in America.
       George Galloway: Yeah, but she voted for, and proselytized for, a war which killed a million people, Marion, the majority of them women and children, just like you. It's a big crime. It can't easily be forgiven. And so for all the reasons that John LeBoutillier gave {previous half hour}, but added to them her absolute flint heart, towards the suffering of the Palestinians, and her support for the massacre of a million Iraqis. You can't expect me to love her, Marion.
       Marion: No, I don't love her either. And I don't love what has happened in Iraq, either, George. But, you know, in America, politics in America, for the American people, and that's what they vote on, and you know, George, most of, I mean, the war in Iraq had nearly 80% of support, in America.
       George Galloway: Ah. But not from Barack Obama, it didn't.
       Marion: No. Not from Barack Obama. No.
       George Galloway: Well, this is the point, you see. Barack Obama was marching on the streets with us against the war. He was able to see through the lies, and the propaganda. But Hillary Clinton was one of those people spreading the lies and the propaganda.
       Marion: Hummm. So you, you think it's a, it's a huge mistake too, do you?
       George Galloway: Well, I don't think that as strongly as John LeBoutillier does. My mind is open on it, to some extent. But I do think there are real dangers in bringing the Clintons into your White House, given their previous occupancy there. I think there are real problems in trusting Hillary Clinton, properly to prosecute the policy of the President, especially on those foreign affairs issues. And uh, you know, Marion, I'm a forgiving sort of guy. But, when people are dripping in the blood of a million Iraqis–
       Marion: Yeah–
       George Galloway: –I find it difficult to forgive them.
       Marion: Yeah, I know, I know, George. But uh, you know, in America, they do things different. You know?
       George Galloway: Ah. Well, Barack Obama didn't. So there was no reason she should have. Marion, thanks for your call. Here's Gladys, in Ayrshire, go ahead Gladys.

  25. D. says:

    Nice one, CJ. :)

    George is always inspiring to listen to on the question of Israel. The Jewish community over there puts a lot of pressure on him, but he never gives an inch.

    Last night's show had some good examples of his skill in dealing with apologists. (An interview with Lauren Booth starts at 20:25.)

  26. Sword of Gideonthe point. says:

    Galloway was directly on Saddam Husseins payroll. Is has corrupt has they come and represents a district that used to be filled with patriotic English people I believe. But has since been overrun by Pakistanis's

  27. Colin Murray says:

    That was a very interesting post C.J., thank you. I agree with Mr. Galloway completely. I was undecided during the Democratic primary, primarily because I didn't then know much about Senator Obama, and wanted to learn more about him. Senator Clinton's flippant crack about mass murdering 80 million Iranians crystallized what attitude she would bring to the white house. Her appointment as Secretary of State seems to me to be a mistake, but Senator Obama thus far has been flawlessly savvy, and has given no reason to question whether he doesn't know exactly what he is doing. The down side of this assessment is that maybe he does indeed know EXACTLY what he is doing, and that his foreign policy plans have nothing to do with bringing peace to the Middle East and America. I believe he has made no explicit public commitments beyond withdrawal from Iraq, just a lot of vague mumblings that give people who want to believe he will bring change something they can latch onto. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

    It may be that he will let the lobby continue to have their way with our Middle Eastern foreign policy in exchange for cooperation with his domestic priorities, e.g. acquiescence to re-regulation of Wall Street. Regardless, Secretary of State Clinton, with husband in tow, reminds me of Goldman Sachs, the latter too big to fail, and the former too big to fire. She will have a wider latitude for disobedience and policy sabotage than any previous Secretary of State.