David Bromwich writes:
One inference is plain from the contrary emphases of Netanyahu and Obama at their news conference. The coming six months will see a continued aggressive insistence by Israel's most uncritical American supporters, tuned to a single theme: the "existential" threat that Iran poses to Israel, and by extension to the entire free world. They have begun talking about Iran, Iran, and Iran. This talk will grow louder and much more insistent. Occasional bits of evidence may be cited, but the evidence is of secondary importance, provided the talk goes on. Its purpose is not so much to persuade as to drown out other talk.
Other talk of what? Chiefly Palestine and the two-state solution--the fate of non-Jewish persons in the occupied West Bank and IDF-enclosed Gaza. American supporters of Netanyahu, who heard what he said on Monday and got the message under what he was saying, will do everything they can to play down, size down, challenge, deride, censor, understate, and, as far as possible, eliminate all public discussion of Palestine in the United States, and all discussion of the conditions under which Palestinians live. That is the plan between now and the moment of aggressive sanctions to be followed by military action against Iran.
Supporters of President Obama, who heard what he said on Monday and got the message under what he was saying, will do everything to keep Palestine and the fate of its people a subject of live discussion. When Iran is mentioned, they will respond as Obama did by speaking about Palestine. When the necessity of war (and happy stories of past wars) are cried up by supporters of Netanyahu, those who support Obama's design will answer by speaking of the necessity of peace--not only between Israel and two or three neighbors, but peace for the entire region. They will point out that wars cannot go on forever, and that a quest for peace cannot exclude Iran; and the form of engagement preparatory to peace cannot consist of nothing but preparations for war.
Those who oppose the war even now being prepared by some in Israel and America,
just as the Iraq war was prepared for in public view seven years ago, will speak
the word Palestine every time they hear of "Iran." They will say that Israeli
injustice against the Palestinians has increased, is increasing, and ought to
be diminished. They will notice the hazard as well as the insult in the move by
Netanyahu to launch the building of a new settlement the day before his arrival
Supporters, and advisers, of President Obama may also quote Michael Walzer on the needlessness of discussion groups, committees-of-exploration, elaborate laying-the-groundwork consultations about procedures, when what must now be done is very well known:
"everyone knows what each side would have to do to realize this solution. The Palestinians have to end their civil war, and form a provisional government that recognizes Israel and represses all terrorist activity. The Israelis have to form a government that recognizes the Palestinians' right to a state of their own, defeats the settler movement, and begins the evacuation of the settlements."
Walzer added that such actions were properly to be initiated by each side, independently; and that each side is already in a position to start without incurring a charge of weakness:
"Settling their civil war and repressing terrorism are things that the Palestinians can do--indeed, have to do--by themselves. And Israelis can defeat the settler movement and move the settlers out of the West Bank without a 'partner' on the other side and without handing over territory. Move the settlers out and the army in. That would be a sufficient indication of a readiness to withdraw, just as the repression of terrorist activity by the Palestinians would be a sufficient indication of a readiness to coexist. The readiness is all."
Those are words that President Obama, too, might take to heart, the next time he hears the word "Iran!" and says (in whatever form he is inclined to say it), "Yes, and Palestine."