Friedman prepares American Jews for a divorce from zealot Israel

Israel/Palestine
on 78 Comments
Friedman

Friedman

Here are two pieces in the mainstream press that reflect the paradigm shift that is upon us with the smashup of the Kerry effort.

Tom Friedman at the Times is preparing American Jews for a one-state solution. He’s against it, of course; John Kerry is doing the “Lord’s work.” But the worthy business of Friedman’s column is explaining that the Israel American Jews fell in love with is gone, and it is now a society of rightwing zealots. “You did not go to summer camp with these Jews.” (Non-Jewish readers are chopped liver).

Friedman is inching toward Max Blumenthal’s view of that society, in more msm-palatable terms. The man who gave chalktalks on Israel’s military victory when he was in high school now states in neutral terms that young Palestinians want a one-state solution and that the Israel lobby has locked down Congress and the White House. That’s progress too (Dennis Ross used to debate Walt and Mearsheimer by saying, the lobby has Congress, yes, but it can’t affect the White House; horse feathers).

Friedman is Mr. Nutshell, and this time it works for me. Notice how he puts “Jewish state” in quotations.

We’re not dealing anymore with your grandfather’s Israel, and they’re not dealing anymore with your grandmother’s America either…

Israel, from its side, has become a more religious society — on Friday nights in Jerusalem now you barely see a car moving on the streets in Jewish neighborhoods, which only used to be the case on Yom Kippur — and the settlers are clearly more brazen. Many West Bank settlers are respectful of the state, but there is now a growing core who are armed zealots, who will fight the I.D.F. if it tries to remove them. You did not go to summer camp with these Jews. You did not meet them at your local Reform synagogue. This is a hard core.

But even the more tame settlers are more dominant than ever in the Likud Party and in the Israeli army officer corps. It is not a fiction to say today that the Likud prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, represents the “center” of Israel’s right-wing bloc. And it is not an accident that Israel’s housing minister, Uri Ariel, who comes from a pro-settler party to the right of the Likud, approved a tender for 700 homes in Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood, across the Green Line — just as Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace talks were coming to a head. As Minister Livni, Israel’s chief negotiator, put it: “Minister Ariel purposefully and intentionally did what he did to torpedo” the peace talks.

There are now about 350,000 Jews living in the West Bank. It took 50,000 Israeli police and soldiers to remove 8,000 settlers from Gaza, who barely resisted. I fear the lift in the West Bank to make peace there is now just too heavy for conventional politics and diplomacy. The only way settler resistance can be trumped would be by a prime minister, and an Israeli majority, who were really excited about the prospects for peace or truly frightened of the alternative.

But I do not believe Netanyahu will ever be anything other than ambivalent. And his ambivalence is reinforced by many factors: Israel today is so much more powerful, economically and militarily, than the Palestinians; Israeli (and Palestinian) security forces have effectively shut down Palestinian suicide bombers and the Israel lobby in Washington has effectively shut down any pressure from the White House or Congress. Israel has never been so insulated.

But these are not your grandfather’s Palestinians either. There is a young generation emerging that increasingly has no faith in their parents’ negotiations with the Jews, have no desire to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” and would rather demand the right to vote in a one-state solution.

The comic contradiction in Friedman’s piece is that It’s not your grandfather’s Israel, not your grandmother’s America, and not grandpa’s Palestinians either. But it IS your grandfather’s lobby! That’s as powerful as ever. (Thanks to Donald Johnson.)

Another deathbed intervention comes from France: “If Kerry Fails, What Then?” in Le Monde Diplomatique, by Tony Klug, vice chair of the Arab-Jewish Forum in England, and Sam Bahour, the Palestinian businessman. The authors gives Israel a three-year deadline to put up or shut up and withdraw from the occupied territories, and asks us to start imagining a single democracy between the river and the sea. Though of course the authors are against that!

For over twenty years process has trumped outcome, but it is now in danger of being out-trumped itself by the total collapse of the only internationally recognized paradigm for a solution to the conflict. A new international strategy urgently needs to be devised and made ready as an alternative to the prospect of failed bilateral negotiations. Any such strategy should be rooted in a vision of the endgame, based on the principles of a rapid end to the Israeli occupation and equality between Palestinians and Israelis….

Our contention is that the occupying power should no longer be able to have it both ways. The laws of occupation either apply or do not apply. If it is an occupation, it is beyond time for Israel’s custodianship — supposedly provisional — to be brought to an end. If it is not an occupation, there is no justification for denying equal rights to everyone who is subject to Israeli rule, whether Israeli or Palestinian. Successive Israeli governments have got away with a colossal bluff for nearly 47 years. It is time to call that bluff and compel a decision.

The Israeli government should be put on notice that, by the 50th anniversary of the occupation, it must make up its mind definitively one way or the other. A half a century is surely enough time to decide. This would give it until June 2017 to make its choice between relinquishing the occupied territory — either directly to the Palestinians or possibly to a temporary international trusteeship in the first instance — or alternatively granting full and equal citizenship rights to everyone living under its jurisdiction.

Should Israel not choose the first option by the target date, it would be open to the international community to draw the conclusion that its government had plumped by default for the second option of civic equality. Other governments, individually or collectively, and international civil society, may then feel at liberty to hold the Israeli government accountable to that benchmark.

The three-year window would be likely to witness vigorous debate within Israel and induce new political currents that may be more conducive to a swift and authentic deal with the Palestinians over two states, probably within the framework of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative for which there is polling evidence of growing support among the Israeli population.

We need to break free of the divisive and increasingly stifling one-state-versus-two-states straightjacket that tends to polarize debate and in practice ends up perpetuating the status quo — which is a form of one state, albeit an inequitable one. The aim of our proposal is to bring matters to a head and to enable people to advocate equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis, in one form or another, free of the implication that this necessarily carries a threat to the existence of the state of Israel.

To be clear, this is not a call for a unitary state. How Israelis and Palestinians wish to live alongside each other is for them to decide and the indications still are that both peoples prefer to exercise their self-determination in their own independent states. Our proposal would not foreclose this option. It would remain open to the Palestinians to continue to agitate for sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza, for a future Israeli government to relinquish these territories and, in extremis, for the Security Council to enforce the creation of two states through the UN Charter’s Chapter VII mechanism. However, until this is finally determined, equal treatment should replace ethnic discrimination as the legitimate default position recognized by the international community.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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78 Responses

  1. Balfour
    April 16, 2014, 11:46 am

    The new Passover refrain, “Next Year in Ramallah!”

  2. Krauss
    April 16, 2014, 11:48 am

    Can someone please take me through the logical loops of first saying that there is no real moral defence of the occupation as it becomes seen as permanent by even the most tepid milquetoast pundit and then at the same time saying that such an outcome is undesireable?

    No wonder hasbara is the giant unholy kludge of fail that it is.

    • American
      April 16, 2014, 12:11 pm

      Can someone tell me what giving the Israelis another three years will accomplish?
      Besides eating up more of Palestine.
      These calls to give Israel more time, for more debate, and for reforming itself are ridiculous and the typical ‘postponing’ of ever bringing Israel to account or correction.

      • Woody Tanaka
        April 16, 2014, 2:09 pm

        “Can someone tell me what giving the Israelis another three years will accomplish?”

        The only thing it could do is give those who would normally balk at demanding that the Israeli state not act barbarically (i.e., Uncle Sucker) some cover or a basis to say that Israel has been warned.

      • Bumblebye
        April 16, 2014, 5:37 pm

        “This would give it until June 2017…”
        You don’t think they’d be planning to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Balfour in a similar manner to the way they ‘celebrated’ the 50th? Anybody *not* think there are plans in the works to whip up another intifada that will be made as bloody as possible, with as much blame as possible being cast on the Palestinians, and those military orders and plans we know *have* (didn’t they have exercises two or three years ago?) been made already to push them into Jordan coming to fruition? I’m sure there are plenty of hardline zionutters on the ground there who sincerely believe they can get away with it again – only dramatic change in the political outlook of the US can change that belief.

    • W.Jones
      April 16, 2014, 1:09 pm

      Here it is.
      First, there is no moral defense of the occupation. A permanent occupation leads to systemic inequality.
      At the same time, that outcome of it being permanent is undesirable, because inequality is a bad situation.

      • Krauss
        April 17, 2014, 3:53 am

        Thanks for the laugh, Jones :D

      • W.Jones
        April 17, 2014, 2:06 pm

        :)

        Krauss,

        If liberal nationalists like Friedman and JStreet wanted the abuse of Palestinians to stop, why not take clear and public steps to do it, like having a human rights vigil outside a consulate and publicly delivering a petition?

        Anyway, when he talked about “American boys and girls going from house to house” in Iraq it sounded like something out of the pages of WWII Germany, so I question how liberal some liberals are. link to mondoweiss.net

        We left you here alone and you played with matches until suddenly you blew up a Passover seder in Netanya. And therefore we are not going to leave you along any longer. We will go from house to house in the Casbah.

        Yes, well actually you did not leave the Palestinians “alone”. And what are you talking about “going house to house”? Who else in history went “house to house”?

        Throw me a lifeline here, Krauss.

  3. Annie Robbins
    April 16, 2014, 12:02 pm

    The authors gives Israel a three-year deadline to put up or shut up and withdraw from the occupied territories, and asks us to start imagining a single democracy between the river and the sea.

    if, “The aim of our proposal is to bring matters to a head and to enable people to advocate equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis, in one form or another, free of the implication that this necessarily carries a threat to the existence of the state of Israel.” people should start imagining a single democracy between the river and the sea now including whatever preparations the international community needs to make that happen. because it will probably take some time to find consensus on strategy and mobilization to impose or enforce any desired outcome.

    only that kind of pressure has a chance of pushing israel to end the occupation. why wait 3 years? for another US or israeli administration? for 50 years of occupation to be the endgame, transition planning and implementation should begin now.

    the marshall plan was a 4 year program.

    • pabelmont
      April 16, 2014, 1:25 pm

      Powerful thinkers often fail to be powerful as militarists. Give them 3 years? Give ‘em hell! But words alone, independent of the speaker — even UNSC and ICJ — have never moved Israel.

      Words alone have never moved Israel.

      Words alone have never moved Israel.

      So we wait. BDS by its name (which includes “S” for “sanctions”) implores the nations to act, to create a reason for Israel to cave in on settlements, occupation, anti-democracy, and continued exile of the exiles of 1948 and their progeny.

      So do I. But I ask the nations to enact and enforce sanctions — economic, sport, culture, academic, travel, diplomatic, total — to do a limited job which I believe the nations could agree to (because they already have, mostly: see UNSC 465/1980): goal: remove all Israeli settlers, dismantle the wall, and dismantle the settlement buildings — again, all: residences, businesses, government, university, etc. Give Israel 6 months to publish a schedule to accomplish these removals and dismantlements in 2 years and then apply sanctions if Israel fails to publish the schedule or thereafter fails to keep to the schedule.

      This is a plan.

      But in my mouth, it is mere words.

      • David Nelson
        April 16, 2014, 4:10 pm

        pabelmont,

        Without American cover for Israeli crimes, without American billions pouring into Israel on a regular basis, without American Zionist media moguls dictating the MSM discourse, how effective would Israel’s colossal bluff been all these decades? Take away the gun, and the Israelis have no more gun to shoot.

        Why not then sanction Americans for our necessary and sufficient support of the continuation of Israeli crimes? Aren’t Americans, Zionist or not, every bit as culpable as Israelis themselves? Instead of supporting collective punishment in the form of BDS, why not direct all this energy to ending criminal American support, financial or otherwise, to the apartheid state? BDS is a short-cut to the real problem–mis-directed wealth and power, along with lies, lies and more lies, in the American social and political fabric. Without criminal American support, Israel is cut down to size and would be forced to make peace or die.

      • pabelmont
        April 16, 2014, 8:55 pm

        DN: Yes, fighting the big-money boyz (America’s oligarchs, BIG-DEFENSE, BIG-ZION., BIG-OIL, BIG-BANKS, Monsanto, etc., etc.) is much more important than I/P. Why? Because the USA is prevented from dealing with Climate Change by the oligarchs. If the whole world dies (due to Climate Change), no-one will be left to remember who “won” on I/P.

        As to BDS against America. if you can see how it might happen, go for it! I’ve always supposed EU and then others could be moved to sanction Israel if BDS were sufficient. I doubt anyone could successfully sanction or boycott the USA.

    • brenda
      April 16, 2014, 2:33 pm

      Israel has had enough time, and fortunately these worthies are not calling the shots anyway. Asking for 3 more years is playing Netanyahu’s game. I think some powerful forces will be on the move the moment the Kerry initiative is formally dissolved — that would be either April 29 (Palestine’s decision) or at the end of the year (America’s decision)

      “The authors gives Israel a three-year deadline to put up or shut up and withdraw from the occupied territories, and asks us to start imagining a single democracy between the river and the sea.” I’m afraid it is going to take more than “imagination” — it is going to take “force”. BDS and international sanctions against Israel is forceful and can be expected to hurt, even though “non-violent”.

    • GJB
      April 16, 2014, 3:41 pm

      “The three-year window would be likely to witness vigorous debate within Israel and induce new political currents that may be more conducive to a swift and authentic deal with the Palestinians over two states, probably within the framework of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative for which there is polling evidence of growing support among the Israeli population.”

      If it were just a matter of extending the “same old same old”, in Friedman’s words, I’d agree that it would only be a cover for further Israeli intransigence and expansion. But “vigorous debate”, not only within Israel but also the US and around the world, would likely not just center around two states but around other alternatives as well. Just the process of setting a deadline could put a whole new dynamic in place. I have recently seen myself the slow but steady transition of many of the liberal Zionists I know towards acceptance of the possibility of alternatives to the two state solution. If a three year window can both increase acceptance of alternative solutions and stimulate the generation of new and creative ideas for fair and equitable governance, whether one state, two states, or some sort of bi-national confederation arrangement, it would be time well spent in the long run.

      • Shingo
        April 16, 2014, 8:17 pm

        If it were just a matter of extending the “same old same old”, in Friedman’s words,

        Yes, 3 years is the new Friedman Unit.

    • libra
      April 16, 2014, 5:16 pm

      annie: why wait 3 years?

      Why indeed? The Palestinians could stop waiting for outside agencies to act and make this demand on Israel now. The fear of a single-state by Zionists gives the Palestinians real power, but only if they choose to use it. No wonder so much effort is expended on gulling them into continuing with the ‘peace process’, with ‘liberal Zionists’ being the worst offenders.

      I’ll be impressed by Friedman when he starts advocating for a single-state as the best solution. Someone needs to start preparing American Jews for that eventuality.

    • Felixio
      April 16, 2014, 7:22 pm

      Yap the best way to go is BDS, it wouldn’t take long to get the Zionist regime to think about the consequences twice. So far BDS is taking shape, hopefully in a year will have more universities, banks and the like hoping in.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 18, 2014, 1:42 am

        i agree Felixio. BDS all the way, NOW.

  4. Citizen
    April 16, 2014, 12:07 pm

    The most salient thing to emerge is that BDS is taking on a have v have-not dimension, and history shows this always triumphs (only to reemerge again): link to truth-out.org

    It’s the US mainstream media, primarily on cable TV infotainment shows, where 55% of Americans get their daily dose of news, in this media that still supports the status quo in the face of daily reality, most especially the reality Palestinians suffer every day.

    Time to give the boot to the likes of the hosts on MSNBC most especially.

  5. CloakAndDagger
    April 16, 2014, 12:09 pm

    paradigm shift that is upon us with the smashup of the Kerry effort

    There is still a part of me that wants to believe that Kerry/Obama expected this smashup, and perhaps, were counting on it to launch the next step of getting Europe unchained on Israel, having “done all we could do” to protect Israel from International pressures and sanctions.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 16, 2014, 12:33 pm

      me too c&d. i thought, only after going thru all these formalities would the next step in the process begin. and obama is in office a few more years. i hope the EU unleashes. i predict the boycott is about to takeoff in very big ways.

      • CloakAndDagger
        April 16, 2014, 12:52 pm

        @ annie

        i predict the boycott is about to takeoff in very big ways

        From your lips to God’s ears. I think you are right.

      • Felixio
        April 16, 2014, 7:27 pm

        The UE is not so controlled by the Zionist lobbing as US, so far there are few banks and entities already boycotting Israel, hopefully more will come soon.

    • American
      April 16, 2014, 1:21 pm

      ‘There is still a part of me that wants to believe that Kerry/Obama expected this smashup, and perhaps, were counting on it to launch the next step’…C&D

      I would like to believe that but dont. The next ten years of US aid to Israel is already signed onto. Ceasing US aid being the first step to the next step.
      So I dont see a next step, I see a giving up and ignoring…the Lobbies corruption is too deeply embeded.
      The corrrect steps would be to cease aid immediately, institute sanctions on Israel then start ‘secret talks ‘ with the EU countries on military plans to remove all Israeli illegal settlements. And do all those steps at the same time to let Israel know this is ‘the end of the line’. Word of consideration of and plans for military force in event the withholding of aid and sanctions doesnt work would get back to Israel and then they either capitulate or make their last stand.
      However it would take a US president with balls to actually implement this. The irony is the same excuse Israel uses, their ‘national security’ would also work if a US President used “US security’ it as the rationale for clamping down on Israel.
      Obama ‘insinuated’ this rationale earlier but didnt go farther than that.
      Perhaps a future President will.

      • pabelmont
        April 16, 2014, 2:40 pm

        AIPAC isn’t going away. If the $3B (or $6B or whatever it really is) is already voted by Congress, then so be it. However, if the president can ever break loose from the trammels of AIPAC (i.e., Obama is lame duck and needn’t be personally concerned with any BIGs including BIG-ZION), he can use UNSC and public speaking (speaking truth to power) to get something started.

        If he were going to do that (speak truth to power), I’d prefer he speak out in favor of a constitutional amendment denying the right to non-humans to conduct or pay for political action. If it works, it’d allow work on Climate change and also on the much smaller problem of I/P.

      • brenda
        April 16, 2014, 2:57 pm

        “Perhaps a future President will.” I think not, American. I think Obama is the man in the arena. “This is your team” (do you remember that great Gene Hackman line in ‘Hoosiers’?) This is the moment, it will not be repeated. It’s ok to think about this whole thing coming to an end NOW. Or NEXT YEAR at the latest.

        Thinking about a future president, someday, not in my lifetime…. to me that is typical liberal-Israeli thinking: yes, peace, but not yet. Put it off, put it off.. meanwhile, think good liberal thoughts on peace…

      • American
        April 16, 2014, 6:12 pm

        brenda says:

        I think Obama is the man in the arena. >>>>

        I am all for you’re being right..but like I said the first step is to cut off the US money…..and congress is busy, busy every day funding even more special projects for Israel and Obama keeps signing off on them.

      • Citizen
        April 16, 2014, 7:17 pm

        Obama has a record of always giving Israel more, not less, than his predecessors. The proof is in the pudding.

      • brenda
        April 17, 2014, 9:19 am

        ” ..but like I said the first step is to cut off the US money…..and congress is busy, busy every day funding even more special projects for Israel… ”

        but the thing is, American, there is no way for any US President to do this, to cut off support of Israel given by Congress. That isn’t how the American system of government works. And what is Obama to do other than to keep signing off on them? He has to choose his fights, just like anyone else. He chose to fight on the resurgent Iran sanctions and it took all the chips he had to keep détente with Iran going. The House, driven in part by AIPAC, nearly brought in a veto-proof resolution — which, significantly, contained a clause that the US military would automatically join in any Israeli military action against Iran.

        I’m seeing an end run around Congress as the only way available; the President can withhold the automatic UN veto without appealing to Congress. Whether he would do this or not, who knows? that’s the drama in the situation. But in early March this year he signaled he would do this, in the Bloomberg News interview. If it comes to that, and he does withhold the UN veto, that would be “leadership”, right? The President leading the country out of the unhealthy relationship with Israel, using the functions of his office which are available to him .

        American, you never answered my question: what about ‘Hoosiers’? Did you ever see that movie? I always found such inspiration in that Gene Hackman line: faced with the hostile, dubious, skeptical town fathers & their followers, having lost the star player they were depending on to win the basketball tourney, falling back on his skill at developing a true team even with pretty unpromising material he introduces his line-up: “This is your team” utter silence. He repeats the line, makes them look their boys in the eye: “This is your team” ie, this is the only team you have. They go on to win the… well, I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending for you if you haven’t seen the movie…

      • Taxi
        April 16, 2014, 3:18 pm

        A confrontation with hizbollah is by far scarier than BDS. Ask any israeli. I’m sure our military and Intelligence agencies have discussed this Achilles’s heel: standard Empire strategics. Look at how we armed alquaida and sent them into Syria. Empire is capable of doing the inconceivable. Israel should be careful not to over-eff with Empire.

      • American
        April 17, 2014, 2:03 pm

        brenda says:
        April 17, 2014 at 9:19 am

        ”American, you never answered my question: what about ‘Hoosiers’? Did you ever see that movie?’>>>>>>>>

        To answer your question about Obama bieng our team—–I dont consider any current powers in US government to be my team or even ‘our’ team if you talking in terms of a US team.

        If anything, the our team resembles more a boxer who agrees to take a ‘dive’ in a boxing match for a payoff.

    • brenda
      April 16, 2014, 2:44 pm

      me too. I’m still a believer.

      Obama said several weeks ago in interview that he gives his I-P initiative less than a 50/50 chance of succeeding. But even so, the US went at it all out, nothing held back. Kerry even floated out the idea of giving up Pollard not for an accomplished signed final status agreement, but merely to keep Israel in the peace talks. Done all we could, up to you now, Europe.

    • ToivoS
      April 16, 2014, 3:55 pm

      I thought from the beginning of this latest round of talks that Kerry was just going through the motions in that he knew they couldn’t succeed. The question was: What was his and Obama’s goal? My guess was that they saw it as an opportunity to distract Israel from trying to sabotage the Iranian peace talks or from even attacking Iran themselves. C&D, this suggestion that they were just setting up Israel to convince Europe that sanctions was the only way to go is just too diabolical. I hope it works out that way but to think that Kerry and Obama could operate at that level of Machiavellian intrigue is hard to believe.

      • CloakAndDagger
        April 16, 2014, 5:14 pm

        @ ToivoS

        My guess was that they saw it as an opportunity to distract Israel from trying to sabotage the Iranian peace talks

        If that was it, it didn’t work too well, since neither the lobby, nor Netanyahu ever lost their laser-like focus on it. The fact that they failed to completely derail the talks with Iran has more to do with an increasingly awake citizenry that pilloried their congress-critters and struck fear in their hearts. If that was by design, then that is far more diabolical than unleashing Europe.

        Presidents only have two points in their term when they can take on the lobby – the first year of their first term, and the last two years of their second term. Obama made an attempt in the first year, with his naive Cairo speech, but was beaten bloody. It is no secret that there is no love lost between he and Netanyahu. Some vestige of pride has to remain in him to want his legacy to reflect some difference that his two terms in the WH made, and even a human need to get back at Netanyahu for his public humiliation.

        So, in order to have something happen in 2015, he needs to finish setting the stage in 2014, and pull the trigger post-November. Until then, he would be wise to keep mouthing the same platitudes so as not to alert the dark side.

        The only thing holding back European sanctions is the US. If it could be clear to them that the US would not thwart their attempts to bring Israel to heel, the sanctions would be enacted tomorrow morning. The common citizenry in Europe appear to be in favor of it, so their governments need the courage (and maybe a slight nudge from Obama/Kerry) with secret assurances that we would not block their attempts, for them to go forth and enact BDS in full fury.


        to think that Kerry and Obama could operate at that level of Machiavellian intrigue is hard to believe

        Perhaps. But who would have thought that Nixon would go to China?

      • Felixio
        April 16, 2014, 7:34 pm

        I hope you are right. Thanks

      • brenda
        April 16, 2014, 7:23 pm

        “…this suggestion that they were just setting up Israel to convince Europe that sanctions was the only way to go is just too diabolical.”

        Toivo, you need to take out the “just”, then it makes sense. What they are doing, at least what Obama is doing, maybe Kerry also, is a game with 2 possible endings. What they prefer is Ending #1; the peace talks are productive of a final status agreement and the end of the occupation, an independent Palestine state. That is the best solution. Ending #2 is much messier. Probably no one, certainly not the Europeans, and arguably not the Palestinians, no one wants Ending #2. But if the Israelis insist, the board is all set up.

      • puppies
        April 18, 2014, 12:44 am

        @Toivo – When you look at this whole round of nothing, the Macchiavellian plan appears in its blinding simplicity: pretend again to have talks on 2-states or whatever, guaranteed not to go anywhere, that can be sabotaged several months from start, so that more concessions may be extracted meanwhile from the Ramallah puppets, more wall-building and settlement building can be solidified, more of the irregular army continues to occupy Palestine. In a year or a few months, they’ll come again and restart some round of talks. If you think Obama has a will of his own and Netanyahu is not driving, think again.

  6. Donald
    April 16, 2014, 12:48 pm

    “But it IS your grandfather’s lobby! That’s as powerful as ever. (Thanks to Donald Johnson.)”

    Clever line and I’m happy to steal it, but I think someone else said it. Unless my memory is going. Middle aged neurons aren’t always reliable.

  7. David Doppler
    April 16, 2014, 12:51 pm

    Thanks, Phil, for this excellent coverage. What Mr. Nutshell says in the NYTimes and wherever he is syndicated on this topic is big news in the war of ideas in the middle east and deserves this kind of coverage. “[T]he worthy business of Friedman’s piece is stating that the Israel American Jews fell in love with is over.” You’re Mr. Nutshell yourself with that sentence!

    And thanks on behalf of all non-Jews for this: “‘You did not go to summer camp with these Jews.’ (Non-Jewish readers are chopped liver).”

    A sub-focus of this blog has always been how the Zionist narrative fits and clashes with American values, and not just Jewish-American values. Friedman talking to American Jews about their grandfather’s Israel and their grandmother’s America on the pages of the NYTimes, as if the rest of us aren’t there, is pretty hard for non-Jews to miss, even when they’ve been used to reading Friedman as if he were their expert on the scene. And when the family feud from the Seder dinner spills out into America’s lap, and that feud includes, as Jon Stewart put it, what 80 year old Jews want to tell American politicians about what words they can and cannot use in describing Israel, it is hard to believe that “your grandfather’s lobby” (another great line) will retain the same level of power: the set-up is virtually complete for someone to make a scene about resisting the Lobby, and having that play to their advantage everywhere the Lobby has sought to stifle resistance. A rigid structure set to be blown flat by a good wind. We went from Chas Freeman being abandoned by Obama, to Power and Hagel being confirmed but only after they were publicly forced to humble themselves to their arrogant overlords, to Netanyahu making Congress give him 87 bi-partisan standing ovations, to now, when the Lobby is being depicted as Sheldon Adelson the “swaggering oligarch” insisting that Republicans grovel in Las Vegas to “kiss his scooter-riding 80-year old ass.” [Jon Stewart]. Stewart gets the laughs. Friedman gets the readers. The Lobby’s power is now all illusion. And they’ve shown themselves increasingly inclined to respond to challenge by upping their arrogance level, an historically catastrophic tendency.

    • MRW
      April 17, 2014, 5:39 am

      Smart observations, David Doppler. [T]hey’ve shown themselves increasingly inclined to respond to challenge by upping their arrogance level, an historically catastrophic tendency.

      My brother-in-law could be a Naftali Bennett twin, or was one, for 20 years; he makes pilgrimages to Auschwitz; he’s been insufferable on the subject.

      He just changed. I mean. Just. Changed. The parade to kiss Adelson’s ring did it, as far as I can tell, because he’s bitching about it, and that’s when the bitching started. Now he’s complaining about the number of Holocaust Museums and the PBS series on Jews, and wants to know why foreign policy is couched in terms of what’s good for the Jews, “When did that start?” He and my sister (peas in a pod) make remarks about Adelson that, frankly, shock me. I don’t engage either one of them in what they think about I/P, I just don’t go there. So this change in the weathervane is entirely new and unsolicited. But they’re not original thinkers. So something they’ve heard on Fox, Limbaugh, or at the bar has caused this. I think your wet finger is sensing the wind.

  8. Pamela Olson
    April 16, 2014, 1:00 pm

    “There are now about 350,000 Jews living in the West Bank.”

    Bullsh**. It’s more like 600,000. He was JUST talking about Gilo, then his numbers leave Gilo (and all other East Jerusalem settlements) out.

    Consistency is nice, Mr. F.

    • pabelmont
      April 16, 2014, 2:46 pm

      The Zios never count the settlers in (and near?) so-called (vastly expanded) Jerusalem when they count the settlers in OPTs. That is because [1] they like to keep the count low, [2] they think they will keep undivided Jerusalem no matter what else happens, so since it will later be part of Israel it may be considered part of Israel today. This is the argument parodied in Mikado for saying that a man not yet dead is dead:

      When your Majesty says, ” Let a thing be done,” it’s as good as done, practically, it is done. Because your Majesty’s will is law. Your Majesty says, ” Kill a gentleman,” and a gentleman is told off to be killed. Consequently, that gentleman is as good as dead; practi-
      cally, he is dead, and if he is dead, why not say so?

    • brenda
      April 17, 2014, 9:29 am

      I read the commentary on that piece (overwhelmingly unsupportive of Israel vs. US >:) There was a pretty authoritative sounding Israeli settler weighing in from “Samaria” who claimed 700,000 in what we call the West Bank. Settler says its a done deal, no way to undo it. He got 12 thumbs up. Plenty of commentary of the type you would find at Mondoweiss, thumbs up in the hundreds, largest was well over 300 thumbs up.

      Phil, the next time someone says this is a ‘hardcore site’, just tell them to piss off. The NYT commentary is pretty well mirroring yours.

  9. lobewyper
    April 16, 2014, 2:21 pm

    It’s very encouraging that Friedman appears to be getting on board. His columns reach many of the people who need to be reached.

    • seafoid
      April 16, 2014, 3:11 pm

      “You did not go to Summer school with” Is Code for “they are hopelessly boorish hebrew only provincial arseholes who do not take instruction from metropolitan brahmins such as myself “.

      • ToivoS
        April 16, 2014, 4:03 pm

        That description of the settlers is really close to what educated Israelis thought of them, at least as early as 1980. My friends back then described them as a bunch of losers from the poorer neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

  10. Sumud
    April 16, 2014, 4:05 pm

    We’re not dealing anymore with your grandfather’s Israel…

    Yes we are Friedman, you’re just v e r y slow on the uptake.

    It’s not over until 1947/8/9 has been dealt with.

  11. Kate
    April 16, 2014, 4:13 pm

    > Israeli (and Palestinian) security forces have effectively shut down Palestinian suicide bombers

    What nonsense is this? The Palestinian militant groups themselves decided to stop suicide bombing, years ago. This is as bad as saying the ‘security fence’ stopped them when everyone knows that thousands of Palestinians get into Israel illegally all the time – around, over, through the ‘fence’ – and none of them have chosen to take bombs with them.

    • Sumud
      April 16, 2014, 11:10 pm

      Friedman has to maintain the fairy tale about the apartheid wall for 2 reasons:
      – Palestinians are savages and still want to kill the joooos
      – the awkward questions that will follow about the real reason Israel built the wall, since it wasn’t to stop suicide bombers. “Moderate” Tzipi Livni as described in a US Embassy cable from 2007:

      In the same interview, Livni provided an outline of her thinking, but not a detailed plan, on the way ahead with the Arabs, including negotiating an interim agreement with the Palestinians in which the separation barrier would serve as the border, and refusing to engage with Syria unless Asad takes steps to end support for terrorism and distances himself from Iran.

      • yonah fredman
        April 17, 2014, 10:11 am

        Sumud- first, Friedman wrote nothing about the wall. Second- there are Israeli right wingers who oppose the barrier as superfluous, prominent among the opponents is Moshe Arens. Third- I suppose from a certain perspective the 2nd intifada is almost ancient history, but 10 years really is just enough time for an 8 year old kid to become an 18 year old soldier, and if you think that the bombs in pizza parlors did not leave a lasting effect (lasting at least 10 years), then you are very wrong.
        I realize that the Palestinians suffered even more than Israelis during the intifada and certainly they have suffered more since the end of the intifada (I would date the end of the intifada as 2004, with arafat’s death) but to dismiss the building of the wall as something irrational is wrongheaded and certainly narrow minded.

      • eljay
        April 17, 2014, 10:30 am

        >> … if you think that the bombs in pizza parlors did not leave a lasting effect …

        … your mind will simply boggle at the thought of the lasting effect of over 60 years of ON-GOING oppression, land theft, occupation, colonization, destruction, torture and murder.

        >> I realize that the Palestinians suffered even more than Israelis during the intifada and certainly they have suffered more since the end of the intifada … but to dismiss the building of the wall as something irrational is wrongheaded and certainly narrow minded.

        To support the building of the wall is wrong-headed and narrow-minded. Not only is the wall built (mostly? entirely) on Palestinian land (i.e., land outside of Israel’s / Partition borders), but it does nothing to address the fact that Israel remains engaged in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder.

        The rational response to repeated blowback from occupation and colonization is to stop occupying and colonizing.

      • Woody Tanaka
        April 17, 2014, 10:58 am

        “but to dismiss the building of the wall as something irrational is wrongheaded and certainly narrow minded.”

        No, it was completely rational, it just had nothing to do with security. It was designed to steal land from the Palestinians over the green line with the intent that the Israeli’s Final Solution to the Palestinian Question would be to make that wall the border. Since then Israel has move so far to the right that the right wing cannot even foresee liberating the Palestinians at all.

      • seafoid
        April 17, 2014, 2:08 pm

        The wall was a landgrab born in a different era. Zionism thought history had ended and Zionism was forever. It hasn’t and it isn’t.

  12. lysias
    April 16, 2014, 4:34 pm

    Another sign of a change, an article in today’s Congressional Quarterly, Fears of Israeli Spying Underlie Reluctance on Visa Waiver Program (subscription required):

    Lawmakers and staffers on two House committees are concerned that admitting Israel to a program that eases entry of foreigners into the United States would increase the risk of Israeli espionage, congressional aides say.

    For several years, Israel has sought admission into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which comprises 38 nations whose citizens may enter the United States and remain for 90 days without first obtaining approval for a visa at a U.S. consulate.

    Until now, U.S. officials have said they have refused Israel’s entry into the program only because the Jewish state does not meet specific requirements for inclusion, including a rate of refusal for Israelis seeking U.S. visas no higher than 3 percent and reciprocal courtesies for U.S. citizens visiting Israel.

    Several senators are pushing a bill that would effectively waive those requirements for Israel.

    But this is the first time congressional aides have indicated that intelligence and national security concerns also are considerations in weighing Israel’s admission into the Visa Waiver Program.

    “The U.S. intelligence community is concerned that adding Israel to the Visa Waiver program would make it easier for Israeli spies to enter the country,” a senior House aide said.

    • American
      April 16, 2014, 6:32 pm

      As I thought.
      Schumer tried to pass it off as concern about Israelis selling their wares in malls.
      From Isr helpers stealing US nuclear materials in the 50’s thru everything else they done for 65 years the intelligence agencies are rightly leery of Israelis, especially now and no doubt have emphasized this to the congressional committees. As in..if you let them in and something happens …..its on your heads, not ours.

  13. James Canning
    April 16, 2014, 7:49 pm

    Perhaps Tom Friedman will explain to the American public the extreme stupidity of the US Congress, in rewarding Israel’s illegal colonisation programme in the West Bank.

  14. GJB
    April 16, 2014, 8:16 pm

    Rereading the Friedman article, something just struck me that I missed the first time: “[Defense Minister] Yaalon wasn’t talking about Palestinian terrorists. He was talking about Jewish terrorists, renegade settlers, who slashed the tires of an I.D.F. jeep parked in the settlement of Yitzhar …” Mr. MSM columnist was actually calling it like it is and acknowledging what these folks are doing is terrorism. Whatever else Friedman says or doesn’t say in this column, using this term is a big deal. Now, if he’d only take the next step, pointing out the historical parallels to the original Zionist terrorists, the Irgun and Stern Gang, and how, even though supposedly (according to mythological history) their terrorism was directed against the “authorities” – the British in that case – in actuality in both cases the terrorism was directed just as much if not more against the Palestinians.

  15. yonah fredman
    April 17, 2014, 8:21 am

    Israel has 2 choices: withdrawal or annexation. Until now it has chosen delay. Given the unpalatable nature of the two choices, choosing delay makes sense. But delay cannot last forever.
    I react negatively to tom friedman’s version of “you’re no kin to pa” especially citing the absence of auto traffic on Shabbat in Jerusalem, which broadly speaking is related to the rightward trend in the country’s body politic, but only broadly speaking. It will be “interesting” to see what role this alienation between the settlers of Israel and the Jewish voters of America will play in the evolution of American foreign policy, but I do not expect the change to come tomorrow or next year. But it will be tricky for those who try to navigate what are bound to be tricky and challenging and rock filled rapids. I would trust mj Rosenberg to navigate those rapids way before I would trust a hot dog like max blumenthal or even a more thoughtful anti Zionist like Phil Weiss.

    • Woody Tanaka
      April 17, 2014, 9:56 am

      “Israel has 2 choices: withdrawal or annexation…. Given the unpalatable nature of the two choices,”

      The casual bigotry is what always shocks me. yonah, your statement essentially says that either liberating the Palestinians from oppression or giving them equality are both unpalatable. Disgusting.

      • Citizen
        April 17, 2014, 10:50 am

        @Woody Tanaka

        I think this is what is unpalatable regarding said settlements: link to thecepr.org

        The US government hangs out its dirty laundry daily for all the world to see while all the while it’s washing machine runs, swishing around nothing but water.

      • yonah fredman
        April 18, 2014, 1:42 am

        “unpalatable” in terms that a state usually prefers its own interests rather than the interest of some “other”. Yes, I agree it would be great to free the Palestinians, but it is not in the interest of the state of Israel to do so, unless one sees the conflict in the same way as Yeshaya Leibowicz, which is not an easy mode of thought. I admire Leibowicz, even though his rhetoric still makes me rebel, the essence of his analysis was accurate and following his advice would have been sound morally and politically. and so i am merely reflecting the opinion of 99% or 93% rather than Yeshaya Leibowicz.

        So sorry for explaining a state of mind that is not mine. I’m with Leibowicz. Annex or withdraw. Tomorrow. Or after Shabbos is over, before Passover is over. But unlike you, I speak to the 93% if not for them and to them I admit that it is unpalatable. I cannot convince them of Leibowitz, so I use their language. And I don’t condemn their language either. I let Leibowicz condemn them. And unfortunately the people who are on Leibowicz’s side on east 14th street in nyc and in the comments section of mondoweiss have zero sympatico with every Jewish bone and sinew in my body and thus I fight you. But Leibowicz was right.

  16. a blah chick
    April 17, 2014, 8:30 am

    “You did not go to summer camp with these Jews. You did not meet them at your local Reform synagogue.”

    Since a lot of the militants are American I think Tom et. el did. meet them at summer camp and at temple.

    • yonah fredman
      April 17, 2014, 9:54 am

      The militants come from modern orthodox backgrounds and their houses of worship are not called temples, rather synagogues or shuls, so no tom, et al, did not meet them at temple nor at nonorthodox summer camp.

      • puppies
        April 17, 2014, 10:08 am

        @Friedman – Irrelevant. What they call their temples or if they are from the lowbrow religious or highscale atheist varieties makes no difference in their murderous militancy as Zionists. An extreme Orthodox Neturei Karta has more humanity in the nail of his pinkie than your whole bunch of murderers.

  17. Rational Zionist
    April 17, 2014, 12:58 pm

    I always get a good laugh reading these postings.
    No one seems to be willing to present realistic options to solving the problem.
    Mr. Abbas says he wants to discuss borders in the next round of talks. GREAT! Now, realistically, what would those look like? Please don’t go into the population percentages in the 1930 census. Please don’t go into the fact that the Jewish State was supposed to include the land from the Med to the North-South railroad (now in Jordan).
    Let’s deal with facts on the ground today.
    1. Jerusalem won’t be divided. It truly is a religious thing.
    2. Major settlement blocks won’t be removed. There is no practical way 300,000 people and their jobs can be relocated.
    3. Hebron won’t be abandoned. Again, a religious thing.

    My solution would be land swaps, and a request that Jordan give up some land on the East Bank to facilitate this. I would suggest that monetary compensation be given (with no idea where it would come from) to the displaced (including both Pals and Jews).
    Do you have any constructive ideas?

    • talknic
      April 17, 2014, 2:00 pm

      @ Rational Zionist “No one seems to be willing to present realistic options to solving the problem”

      Israel adhering to the law and its own proclaimed borders isn’t realistic?

      “Please don’t go into the population percentages in the 1930 census. Please don’t go into the fact that the Jewish State was supposed to include the land from the Med to the North-South railroad (now in Jordan).
      Let’s deal with facts on the ground today”

      OK Israel proclaimed and was recognized by its borders, as it asked to be recognized link to trumanlibrary.org . Israel has not since legally acquired any territory beyond its borders link to pages.citebite.com

      “1. Jerusalem won’t be divided. It truly is a religious thing”

      It is already divided and religion is irrelevant to the legal sovereign extent of the State of Israel.

      “2. Major settlement blocks won’t be removed. There is no practical way 300,000 people and their jobs can be relocated”

      Then they can become Palestinian citizens, because they’re not in Israel. (BTW It seemed OK to dispossess 711,000 non-Jews in 1948/49 without bothering to relocate them link to pages.citebite.com)

      “3. Hebron won’t be abandoned. Again, a religious thing.”

      It is already divided and religion is irrelevant to the legal sovereign extent of the State of Israel.

      “My solution would be land swaps, and a request that Jordan give up some land on the East Bank to facilitate this”

      Why? Israel has plenty of illegally acquired Palestinian territory it is required BY LAW to withdraw from link to wp.me . How about Israel give some of that back

      ” I would suggest that monetary compensation be given (with no idea where it would come from) to the displaced (including both Pals and Jews)”

      Israel can’t afford 65 years of reparations, resettling its illegal settlers back in Israel and the civil war that’s likely to ensue (An Israeli civil war in non-Israeli territories)

      “Do you have any constructive ideas?”

      Israel adhering to the law and its own proclaimed borders for once? Stop lying, stop stealing, stop denying stop coming up with crap irrelevant demands that have no basis in law

    • seafoid
      April 17, 2014, 2:04 pm

      Hebron will be returned to reality. So will East Jerusalem.
      The Zionist psychotic phase is not sustainable.
      Galut can destroy Zionism as necessary. Bond run, baby.

    • American
      April 17, 2014, 2:08 pm

      Rational Zionist says..

      ”…..and a request that Jordan give up some land on the East Bank to facilitate this. ”>>>>

      You arent rational.

    • Woody Tanaka
      April 17, 2014, 2:17 pm

      “(including both Pals and Jews).”

      RZ, if you are going to use ethnic slurs, then kindly insult both sides. Might I suggest this: “(including both Pals and Heebs).” That way, both sides are offended.

      Or you could stop being such a big fat bigot and not slur anyone.

      Thanks.

    • puppies
      April 17, 2014, 8:27 pm

      The Palestinian have constructive ideas. A good idea is to listen to them:
      link to mondoweiss.net

      “Its deeper than that because we are not objecting to just the negotiations and their failures and their success,” he said. “We’re against the whole thing: recognizing Israel, the two-state solution. We’re against all of it in principle. Because we are against the existence of Israel in principle.”

      “I always knew and believed that the PA was an arm of the occupation. But you can’t just have those thoughts, you need to go through the full experience of the confrontation and practice to demonstrate your thoughts.”

      “It’s all about the facts on the ground and the Zionist project is going underway as it always has—successfully.”

      Anybody in the room who can read, please?
      What is not clear there? “We are against the existence of Israel in principle.” The guys here who want to go on pissing in the wind, go on.

  18. W.Jones
    April 17, 2014, 1:18 pm

    Dear Phil,

    I hope you will please make a list of ways to talk with everyday Jewish liberal nationalists about achieving Palestinians’ rights. I can tell it is the kind of topic and target audience you like. And besides, there are “Hasbara” talking point lists. Personally, I am OK with a two state solution, but Palestinian refugees must have their right of return. I believe this is possible based on the 1947 United Nations lines or where people were living in 1947.

    Liberal nationalists openly recognize that Palestinians are being abused, so one can talk about this point of agreement. One can also compare the analogies of the conquest of Native Americans and the Civil Rights movement of Black Americans to give a reference point.

    Where to go from there? I believe their answer is for the Israeli left to win an election and for most Israelis and American Jews to support a two state solution, so that with a liberal Israeli government in power, the government can offer a two state solution on the 1967 lines.

    I like the idea of a two state solution, and also the idea of a leftwing coalition in Israel. I think it would be very hard psychologically for Israelis to voluntarily give up so much land that the Two State Solution with the Right of Return I mentioned would be realizable. They are happy to be in a place of control and they don’t trust the Arabs.

    Palestinians for their part will have a very hard time signing an agreement that does not give them alot of the right of return, the 1967 borders, and much of East Jerusalem. So we are stuck with the reality of a long term occupation even if a liberal Israeli government is elected, because they won’t reach agreement.

    The liberal Zionists’ reply could be that even if there is an occupation, we can give Palestinians maximum rights, like having autonomy: Puerto Rico is a U.S. “territory”, yet people have rights. My response could be that even when liberal governments were been in power, Palestinians have been abused: Chomsky was on one of the most liberal Kibbutzes and when the war started, he said they expelled the neighboring friendly village because they felt they “had to.”

    The liberal Zionists’ reply could be to encourage Israelis to be liberal and respect peoples’ rights and to promote positive investment in the Palestinian territories. I agree with both those things, but unfortunately this hasn’t worked. Israeli left groups and even the US government have programs to encourage tolerance among Israelis.

    Where can we go from here? Can we suggest to liberal nationalists that, just like we do for America’s wars, we should have vigils outside consulates to express regret over human rights abuses?

  19. BB
    April 17, 2014, 1:35 pm

    “What will 3 more years give Israel? ” 3 more years will give Israel the possibility of a more balanced President of the United States. There will be no divorce between American Jews and Israel. There are far too many connections to break them and far too many who believe the rightness of Israel’s cause. It is becoming apparent that with the rise of anti-semitism around the world that there has to be a place for the Jews to go. It is agreed that Israel is that place and many American Jewish organizations are in place to facilitate this.Most Israelis can not afford to go to Jewish American summer camps but many non -Orthodox Jewish American youths have visited Israel and many will make it their homes in the future.

  20. American
    April 17, 2014, 2:13 pm

    How upset would Friedman be over all this if the settlers werent increasingly attacking the IDF?
    You can see in the Israeli press the number of assualts on the IDF and the IDF stations in the settlements are increasing at a rapid pace.

    • James Canning
      April 17, 2014, 7:51 pm

      I think Friedman has comprehended for a number of years that the Israeli goose may be cooked if the Israeli army does not leave the West Bank.

  21. Jack_Hoke
    April 17, 2014, 3:40 pm

    There is not much with which I agree with Friedman regarding policy or politics, but he is exactly right on this topic. In fact his article is nothing short of brilliant. Israel must choose between cutting the Palestinians loose with a state of their own, or in the alternative, granting everyone living under their jurisdiction full civil rights. No more apartheid. No more racism. Israel is better than that.

  22. seafoid
    April 17, 2014, 3:52 pm

    Friedman’s damascene conversion is rather late in the day. I can’t help thinking it flowed from the implications of the failure in Iraq. Some kind of reverse suck.

  23. Teddy KGB
    April 17, 2014, 4:25 pm

    UN Charter’s Chapter VII mechanism?

    Not to be too much of a wiseguy, particularly when dealing with such a serious topic, but I would be genuinely interested to see how Klug and Bahour (or anyone else for that matter) could possibly create “two states through the UN Charter’s Chapter VII mechanism.”

    From a purely theoretical perspective, I do not believe it to be possible. I can not discern how one would draw up such a binding resolution finding that Israel engaged in “conquest” with regards to any territories acquired in 1967.

  24. Chu
    April 17, 2014, 6:32 pm

    Give us 3 more years, while we eat the pizza…good strategy.

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