Roger Cohen has a piece in the Times today urging Obama not to allow the Iran nuke issue to become a Palestine-postponing pawn. I think that’s his phrase. Good. Cohen thereby insists on linkage, that American fortunes in the Middle East are linked to political progress for the Palestinians. (I’d give a link but I’m at my parents and the internet doesn’t really work for me.)
Now notice a curiosity of the Cohen story. He wants Netanyahu to make a new coalition with Kadima, a centrist party, in order to shuffle off his right wing and gain the ability to take on the settlers. If he gains Kadima’s seats in the Parliament, he won’t need those bad orthodox rightwing settler types. And that way Netanyahu can create the two state solution and preserve a Jewish democracy, Cohen says.
Notice that no one is suggesting that Netanyahu make a new coalition with Arab parties. I think there are about 10 or 15 seats in the "Arab" parties. You’d think there would be plenty Arab seats for him to pick up and thereby get rid of his right wing, maybe even govern from the center-left?
But no, Ehud Barak didn’t have anything to do with the Arab parties in 1999 when he formed his coalition, and Netanyahu wants nothing to do with them now. Didn’t want anything to do with ’em last year when he first made a governing combination.
So: what kind of democracy, Jewish purple pink blue or yaller doesn’t enfranchise Arab parties in the political process of establishing leadership?
The same kind of democracy that we had in 1964 when the Democratic Party seated a segregated delegation from Mississippi in the presidential nominating process. At least then blacks in the north could vote. In the Israeli prime-ministerial process, the Palestinians are completely dealt out. Shouldn’t Americans know this, when we praise our shared values and the only democracy in the Middle East?