Last week Jeffrey Goldberg had sharp words for John Kerry, rebuking the secretary of state for mentioning “talk of boycotts” as a looming threat if Israel fails to allow the creation of a Palestinian state. But Goldberg himself saluted boycott last October, saying it was among a group of “smarter strategies, and probably should have been used all along” by Palestinians.
Here’s his Bloomberg piece the other day, “Kerry’s Boycott Talk Will Backfire”:
Kerry makes the argument that Israel will face new, and intensified, boycott pressure if peace talks fail, and he may be right. But by publicly discussing this possibility, he is providing fuel to the forces aligned against Israel… He is also terrifying Israelis, and terrified Israelis are not the sort of people who will make dangerous compromises for peace…
I was sitting in the audience as Kerry said this, and I suddenly felt queasy. I imagine it was more the setting than his actual words. Germany, and Munich, in particular, is not the best place to raise the threat of a boycott that targets Jews. Munich is certainly the right place to discuss the essential perniciousness of such boycotts, but Kerry didn’t denounce the notion, he analyzed it.
But last October, Jeffrey Goldberg didn’t just analyze the boycott movement, he praised it.
He gave a lecture at a temple in Stamford, CT. At 40:00 or so, he addresses the importance of Israel allowing the creation of a Palestinian state.
A third intifada hasn’t happened yet. The second intifada obviously was disastrous for Israel from a human standpoint, but it was as disastrous for the Palestinians from a political standpoint. You know, if you were a right wing Israeli, you have to be worried about the Palestinian Authority and the movement, because as they move toward more sophisticated strategies, like international delegitimization, or seeking recognition in the U.N., or boycott and divestment, rather than blowing up buses– these are smarter strategies, and probably should have been used all along. If you were Palestinian, you know, you can probably look back on the last 20 years and say that didn’t really work out, so we’re going to find something else.
I think Goldberg’s double standard reflects the fact that it’s OK to be Jewish and saying these things to a Jewish audience– a lot of straight talk falls into that special category. It’s the reason Haaretz is so much more forthright about Palestinian human rights than the American press. Pro-Israel Jews in the media don’t want to discuss some things in front of people who might reach the wrong conclusion.
P.S. Speaking of double standards, notice Goldberg’s assertion that the Second Intifada was not disastrous to Palestinians from a human standpoint. This B’Tselem study lists casualty figures as 3200 Palestinians, 650 Israeli civilians. Pretty painful to a lot of humans.
Goldberg is subscribing to the Old South’s standards on counting bodies. Here’s Huckleberry Finn, talking to Tom Sawyer’s aunt about why his steamboat was late.
[Huck] “It warn’t the grounding — that didn’t keep us back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head.”
[Sally Phelps] “Good gracious! anybody hurt?”
“No’m. Killed a n—–.”
“Well, it’s lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt.”