Chris Hayes and Mustafa Barghouti
Sunday morning marked a historic day in the mainstream discourse: Chris Hayes devoted two hours of his MSNBC show “Up With Chris Hayes” to a discussion of the Israel/Palestine conflict, with a balanced roundtable. Let me repeat, with a balanced roundtable.
I’ve watched about half the show so far and I’m blown away by the fact that in the discourse Hayes established, two Zionists, Jeremy Ben-Ami at the center-left and Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi at the far right, must share the forum with Palestinians Rula Jebreal, the author of Miral, and Leila Hilal of the New America Foundation.
Jebreal repeatedly takes on Laszlo Mizrahi for distorting her views, once puts her head in her hands as Laszlo Mizrahi talks; while Laszlo Mizrahi looks like she has a stomach ache.
Some of the highlights: in segment 1, Jebreal says the whole debate over Iran is “irrational,” driven by Jewish fears; Hayes seems to endorse this view when he describes Netanyahu’s gift to Obama of the Purim chapter of the bible, and Netanyahu’s reported comment, “Even then they [Persians] wanted to wipe us out”; Hilal also says the bias in the U.S. debate is the contention that Iran won’t behave as a rational actor; Ben-Ami boldly chimes in that it doesn’t make any sense to contend that Iran will drop a bomb on Tel Aviv, because it would be destroyed if it did so…
In segment 3, Hayes insists on talking about the settlements. He brings on a surprisingly refreshing retired Israeli general, Shlomo Gazit, who says he thinks there is no likelihood of a two state solution. “I don’t see the possibility of an Israeli government capable of taking the decision of removing [60-80,000 settlers so as to achieve a] border that can allow the establishment of a viable Palestinian state… It will be literally a civil war in Israel.”
For his part, Hayes says that the political consensus for a two state solution has been “vastly eroded,” and Ben-Ami says that this is the right wing’s doing (ignoring the liberals and leftists who support a one state solution). And Gazit does little to promote the two-state solution when he says it is necessary to preserve a strong Jewish majority, of 80 percent Jews in Israel…
More to come tomorrow. Meantime, we really must applaud Hayes, who states in segment two that the debate over Israel and Palestine “is grounded within the special relationship” — which means, no Palestinians get to speak. He has done a ton to reverse that. Let’s hope his bravery is contagious.
(I guess this means I have to apologize to David Cohen of Comcast? No; I’m still waiting for the other Chris.)