David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, has repeatedly criticized the occupation in interviews in recent months; now he puts his foot down in his magazine, saying that the occupation violates "Jewish values" and has isolated Israel internationally, and it is a "delusion" to wait on Netanyahu with his "proto-fascistic" coalition to produce a viable Palestinian state.
"Jewish values" is a frank appeal to the New Yorker's base, the liberal American Jewish establishment; and this is a Jewish power-conversation. Remnick consolidates the new liberal Zionist position, the one staked out by J Street at its recent conference, by Peter Beinart in his speeches, and by Bernard Avishai in the New York Times. This position is that after 44 years of occupation it is now an emergency to give Palestinians a state, the Egyptian revolution has only upped the ante, and Obama can bring about the two-state solution, but he must defy Netanyahu and the Israel lobby-- and, Remnick says, he must defy his own aide, Dennis Ross, too.
Now in his second term and ruling in a coalition government that includes anti-democratic, even proto-fascistic ministers, such as Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu has stubbornly refused the appeals of Washington and of the Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, who have shown themselves willing to make the concessions needed for a peace deal. In the midst of a revolution in the Arab world, Netanyahu seems lost, defensive, and unable or unwilling to recognize the changing circumstances in which he finds himself.
The occupation—illegal, inhumane, and inconsistent with Jewish values—has lasted forty-four years. Netanyahu thinks that he can keep on going, secure behind a wall....
Netanyahu told [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel that he intends to give a speech in the next few weeks supporting an interim Palestinian state on about half the territory of the West Bank. If that is his plan, it will be unacceptable to the Palestinians, and he knows it. Smug and lacking in diplomatic creativity, Netanyahu has alienated and undermined the forces of progressivism in the West Bank and is, step by ugly step, deepening Israel’s isolation.
It is time for President Obama to speak clearly and firmly....
For decades, AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, and other such right-leaning groups have played an outsized role in American politics, pressuring members of Congress and Presidents with their capacity to raise money and swing elections. But Democratic Presidents in particular should recognize that these groups are hardly representative and should be met head on. Obama won seventy-eight per cent of the Jewish vote; he is more likely to lose some of that vote if he reverses his position on, say, abortion than if he tries to organize international opinion on the Israeli-Arab conflict. However, some senior members of the Administration have internalized the political restraints that they believe they are under, and cannot think beyond them. Some, like Dennis Ross, who has served five Presidents, can think only in incremental terms.