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Leon Wieseltier pockets $1 million in Tel Aviv and– dares to criticize Netanyahu

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Leon Wieseltier, considered by Samantha Power to be “the wisest man in Washington, the most stirring moralist around,” now has a long record of prophecy about the conflict. But he strikes me as more of a weenie than a prophet. 

Four years ago at AIPAC he said that Jews have a “historical and moral responsibility” to “maintain the Jewishness” of Israel.  So they must act so as not to to “foreclose the possibility” of a two-state solution. That is an “essential imperative.”

I guess that means he was against the settlement project? You’d think he would follow through on such an imperative by publicizing to New Republic readers the moral depradations of the occupation– like Breaking the Silence reports by Israeli soldiers that they had turned into “monsters” by enforcing military rule over a captive people.

Then a year ago Leon Wieseltier said he had been secretly boycotting the settlements. Again, a curious posture on the part of a public man; isn’t he in a position to lead a campaign over this moral imperative?

Well now, Wieseltier has gone to Israel to accept a $1 million prize and — hold on to your seat — he’s saying that Netanyahu is not interested in the two-state solution and it’s foreclosing the future of a Jewish state.


“Unless there is a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there will not be a Jewish state for very long,” Wieseltier said in an interview at Tel Aviv University after accepting the $1 million dollar Dan David Prize late Sunday for his contributions to ideas and contemporary philosophy….

Netanyahu says he favors the establishment of a Palestinian state, but Wieseltier said the Israeli leader has done little to advance this goal.

“One of the most shameful aspects of the Netanyahu government has been to succeed in taking the Palestinian question off the table,” said Wieseltier, identifiable by his tall frame and white, unruly mane of hair.

Gosh, why is this boldness so uninspiring?

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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5 Responses

  1. Taxi on June 12, 2013, 2:09 pm

    He’s a frigging poseur, Phil, and you know it!

    Just like Obama accepted his Noble peace prize with one hand and signaled with the other the beginning of his Drone Wars, Mr. Weiseltier slams netanyahu with one hand while the other pockets $1.000.000. Yeah right – real global street cred there!

    By the way, do zionists EVER stop giving each other awards or what?!!! We need a high-security asylum for the pathologically gleeful narcissists in DC and tel aviv!

  2. Leper Colonialist on June 12, 2013, 5:39 pm

    Secretly boycotting the settlements?

    LoL, Leon! It’s been a roaring success, as as none of us ignorant unwashed masses noticed your secret boycott.

    I hear that Lady GaGa, Key$ha and the Kardashian sisters are secretly boycotting modesty and self-effacement. Their secret boycott is as effective as yours is Leon.

  3. Mike_Konrad on June 12, 2013, 7:58 pm

    Then a year ago Leon Wieseltier said he had been secretly boycotting the settlements. Again, a curious posture on the part of a public man; isn’t he in a position to lead a campaign over this moral imperative?

    Boycotting the settlements is NOT moral. It is ridiculous.

    You could find a million other causes more worthy of a boycott.

    The Arab-Jewish debate has too many shades of gray for people to paint it in black and white.

  4. W.Jones on June 12, 2013, 10:52 pm

    Burston posed an interesting set of questions on his article on Wieseltier:

    As to Burston’s Question 1, the answer is that the sides’ positions are too far apart for their agreement. Strong Israeli nationalists have made clear their demands (eg. Jerusalem), and it’s doubtful that Palestinian negotiators have the mandate to agree to them.

    It’s like a neighbor arbitrarily taking over another neighbor’s shed when they dispute who owns it. The loser might not be able to resist it on the ground, but he can’t voluntarily agree to it without intense pressure from all sides (family, courts, etc).

    So you can just “game plan” in a simple way why a legitimate “peace process” is non-functional based on the current massive imbalance of forces and desires of the two sides.

  5. Krauss on June 13, 2013, 9:01 am

    Ah, yes, a man committed to the 2SS not out of sheer decency but to maintain an ethnocratic state (which is like Jim Crow inside the green line anyway).

    I long for the day when we can finally dispense the fiction that Leon and people like him are anything close to a liberal.

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