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Peace process should yield bumper crop of memoirs

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Laura Blumenfeld

Laura Blumenfeld

Many have pointed out that the peace process is an industry, a full employment program for Washington experts. Well, the latest beneficiaries are journalists. Reports are that the  Obama administration’s penchant for hiring writers continues with the State Department hiring of Laura Blumenfeld to help chief peace processor Martin Indyk. She is a former Washington Post writer whose father is a rabbi and who wrote a book about his shooting in Jerusalem. Per Time:

Blumenfeld, who covered the Middle East, national security and presidential politics for the Post for more than a decade, has joined the staff of Ambassador Martin Indyk, head of Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace process efforts. Blumenfeld most recently served as a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund, where she worked on the Middle East and security issues.

Blumenfeld was a college student in 1986 when a Palestinian gunman shot her Rabbi father in the head in Jerusalem…

With her move, Blumenfeld becomes at least the 16th journalist to join the Obama administration, following shortly after Richard Stengel left his post as managing editor of Time Magazine to become the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy

Blumenfeld– whose “job will be to coordinate all outreach – press, Hill, think tank, and people to people” — joins a staff that already includes two others with Jewish background, Indyk and Frank Lowenstein (whom she once profiled at the Post). Rick Stengel is a friend of mine, a charming guy with a strong record supporting South African freedom. That said, he doesn’t have much history on the conflict, unlike, say Nadia Hijab or Stephen Walt or Phyllis Bennis. And Max Blumenthal says that at Time he played footsie with Netanyahu.

Indyk has already published three books about the conflict. I imagine we can look forward to another. And surely Blumenfeld will one day narrate her efforts to bring the two sides together.

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6 Responses

  1. Mike_Konrad on October 23, 2013, 2:51 pm

    Well, given the inevitable failure of the peace process, we should be spared memoirs, then.

  2. on October 23, 2013, 5:55 pm

    Here is a commentary by a someone who was also hired by the State Department. Or perhaps not. But it is more relevant than what they (and you here ) publish.
    The idiocy of the cultural boycott of Israel
    Ray Hanania

    Arab (and Jewish, my addition, fnlevit) extremists love to hate Israel. It doesn’t matter whether relations with Israel are good, bad or ugly. They hate Israel, no matter what. Their goal is to turn back the clock and travel back into time so they can do what their predecessors failed to do in 1947, prevent the division and destruction of Palestine by the United Nations mandate and block the creation of Israel. Their strategy to achieve this goal is as stupid as is their leadership, which is driven not by reasoned, commonsense strategies for success, but by formulas of failure based on unrestrained emotion and hatred.

    This hatred of Israel and Jews is not embraced by all Arabs. In fact, most Arabs don’t hate Israel or Jews. They are just mad at Israel and Jews. They are mad because they recognize the righteousness of the Palestinian cause.

    But the extremists, who are a minority faction in our Arab community, step in and bully the mainstream Arabs into silence. Arabs are afraid to stand up to the extremists who often direct their hate and anger against Arabs even more than they do against Israel. So the mainstream Arabs remain silent. It’s better to not say anything, the moderates mistakenly conclude, than to stand up to the fanatics.

    That’s why the fanatics hate me so much. I reject their failed leadership and their absence of commonsense strategies to achieve a Palestinian state. And I reject their idiotic mob mentality that denounces anyone who does anything in Israel.

    Oh the extremists love you when you don’t cross that line of “normalization,” which is to act in a moral and ethical manner in dealing with Israel. And for years they loved me when I criticized Israel, but kept my mouth shut about their extremist fanaticism that enabled violence and that is as much to blame for Palestine’s failure as is Israel’s own extremist movement which has blocked Palestine.

    This week, a Palestinian-Jordanian band based in Amman, Jordan, Autostrad, applied and received a visa from Israel’s embassy in Amman, Jordan, to perform in Israel. Performances were booked in Nazareth and Haifa in Israel, and in Ramallah and the Golan Heights in the Occupied Israeli territories.

    The extremists are now engaged in bullying the members of the band, calling them “traitors” and “mutaba” or, in English, “normalizers.” They are being denounced as “Palestinian Zionists,” a label some of the fanatics have thrown at me for committing the “ultimate haram” – I married a Jewish woman and have a Jewish son.

    But I urge Autostrad to stick to their principles. If we believe Israel must be a democratic country where Jews and non-Jews should be treated equal, then we can fight to bring equality to the non-Jews of Israel, Arabs who are citizens who suffer discrimination for many reasons. One reason is that Israel discriminates against non-Jews, citizens or not citizens. And another reason is that the Arabs are failures at fighting for Palestinian rights in Israel and in the Middle East.

    That’s right, let me repeat it. The Arabs are failures at fighting for Palestinian rights. Their emotion overcomes logic and reason so they are incapable of being effective. They can’t establish a Palestinian state because they are consumed with destroying Israel.

    Well, Israel happens to have Palestinians living in it and they deserve to see and hear Autostrad and other performers who are bringing their message of peace to the world. In fact, Palestinians should go out of their way to bring their message and their culture not just to Arabs in Israel but to Israelis and to American Jews.

    You can’t beat Israel with hate. But you can achieve freedom through principle and justice and fairness. We need to send our message and communicate our rights to the Israelis as much as we need to support those Palestinians who suffer under Israel’s racist societal policies. Instead of yelling and screaming hate against Israel at Arab conferences, we should be bringing our talents and culture and the power of our Palestinian heritage inside Israel to Israeli audiences.

    Let them see who we really are, because we are not the fanatics and the extremist activists who use hatred to silence the Arab majority. We are a culturally rich people with a history and I will use every opportunity to take that culture and present it to Israelis and Jews whenever I can in columns and yes, even through standup comedy. Humor is the most powerful means of communication and comedy is a powerful means of confronting hatred and discrimination.

    While the Palestinians wait another 65 years for an intelligent activist leadership to arrive, we should resist the idiot fanatics who try to silence us and bully us with names like “mutaba” and “normalization.” We should stand up for our rights and bring our message of peace directly into Israel.

    In 2007, during three comedy tours of Israel that I performed, dozens of Israelis came up and said that it changed how they viewed us. It made them see us as human beings, rather than as terrorists who wanted to blow them up. It replaced the ugly stereotype that some activists reinforce with their stupidity and hatred with an image that the Palestinians are a just and fair people. We are a good people. Palestinians are a moral people and a principled people.

    We, the Palestinians, are not the loudmouthed, but small collective of extremists who spew vicious hatred and promote confrontation and would rather have violence and conflict than peace. We Palestinians want our state. But we also want peace. We want an environment where we can be free to travel, live and respect each other.

    If that is what normalization means, then the extremists can call me whatever they want. I just won’t be a loser like them who drags Palestine down to their failed insanity of hatred.

    Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist

    • Walid on October 24, 2013, 10:06 am

      fnlevit, your man among other things is an American-born comic. It’s to be expected that he would be critical of those critics of normalization with the rogue state that kills Palestinians for sport.. It’s also normal that the Saudi press would offer him a podium to preach about the merits of normalization with the rogue state that kills Palestinians for sport. He probably wears a 6 inch cross around his neck when he’s back home in the States to make sure nobody, God forbid, mistakes him for a Muslim. A 1000-word article vaunting the merits of normalization, yet not a single one demanding that Israel stops its evil ways. He refers to himself as “we Palestinians” but he isn’t any more Palestinian than the worst of the Zionists for whom he speaks.

    • eljay on October 24, 2013, 10:29 am

      >> You can’t beat Israel with hate. But you can achieve freedom through principle and justice and fairness.

      Supremacist “Jewish State” and its Zio-supremacist supporters do not care about justice and fairness. If justice and fairness mattered to them:
      – Israel would not be a supremacist “Jewish State”;
      – Israel would not being occupying and colonizing land outside of its / Partition borders;
      – Israel would be honouring its obligations under international law;
      – Israel would be holding itself and its responsible citizens accountable for past and ON-GOING (war) crimes; and
      – Israel would be engaging in sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

  3. just on October 23, 2013, 7:56 pm

    We can hope.

    Have not read her book about revenge, nor have I followed her.

    Not too promising, unless she really means there is hope from her perspective and that others will listen and hear a ring toward justice, and see some movement– preferably a earthshaking and monumental one.

  4. Nevada Ned on October 24, 2013, 9:12 am

    Ray Hanania writes that if only the Palestinians had been less extreme, Israel would have treated them better. He ignores the history. Israel set out to expel the Palestinians, and succeeded. From 1948 until the founding of the PLO in the 1960’s, the Palestinians put up almost no resistance. What they get in return? Nothing.

    I actually agree that the Palestinians have been ineffective in the past. But the new nonviolent resistance campaign shows some promise.

    But the main problem that the Palestinians face is simply that the US and Israel are immensely more powerful than the Palestinians. Israel is able to do pretty much whatever Israel wants. And if you look at Gaza, where is Israel is deliberately starving more than a million Palestinians, you see what Israel wants to do to the Palestinians.

    And if Israel succeeds in suffocating Gaza, they’ll do the same thing to the West Bank.

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