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Only way to save Israel is for US to get out of peace process — Friedman of Peace Now

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I keep track of the burgeoning crisis experienced by some liberal Zionists. The Rabin assassination anniversary has caused them to despair that the two-state-solution is dead; the Netanyahu government’s obduracy and slickness has caused them to despair of Israeli leadership. Here are a few signs of this crisis.

First, Lara Friedman of Peace Now has an article on Huffington Post calling for a new “Peacemaking Paradigm” and saying the only thing that can save Israel is the U.S. getting out of the peace business; because we are too much on Israel’s side.

She begins by stating that the Netanayhu government has “an unmistakable drive to implement a one-state outcome.” And that the violence we’re seeing is merely a taste of what’s to come: “increasing carnage, transformation of a territorial conflict into a religious war, and growing international pressure on and isolation of Israel.”

President Obama may well choose to walk away or play it safe, she says: but both paths will

“cement Obama’s legacy as the president who oversaw the death of the two-state solution and the descent of Israel into pariah status.”

Friedman then says that the U.S. in incapable of being a peacemaker in this situation, because of the Israel lobby (though she doesn’t say that out loud): “Thanks to Netanyahu’s tireless and extremely successful efforts to deplete the Obama Administration’s energies, discredit its policies, and deprive it of leverage.” (Netanyahu could never have done this without wide support in the U.S., which is another reason Peace Now should quit the rightwing Jewish Conference of Presidents, which undermined Obama.)

Friedman’s recommendation? Obama must end “the American monopoly over Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.”

How would this look? To start, the United States should become a genuine partner to other members of the United Nations Security Council, cooperating to formulate and pass – rather than block and veto – resolutions laying down consensus red lines in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The United States should support the establishment of an international support group or similar body to lead efforts to revive peace talks, and should empower the existing Middle East Quartet to propose concrete consequences for actions that undermine the viability of the two-state outcome. [European boycott of settlement goods; Arab states engage, etc.]…

By charting this new course, Obama can leave to the next president an Israel-Palestine peace paradigm that is different from the discredited, failed one in which the United States is mired today.

Next, this joint statement by five liberal Zionist organizations including J Street and Peace Now on the 20th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s murder doesn’t have much to say, and it grants greater value to Jewish lives than Palestinian ones, but it includes some frankly desperate words about Israel’s “quagmire”: “If [extremist] voices triumph, we face another 20 years of loss, violence and quagmire.”

Then there’s novelist David Grossman’s piece in the Guardian titled, “We have been given a frightful glimpse into Netanyahu’s mind” that anguishes over Netanyahu’s Mufti/Hitler comments and cites a recent image showing Netanyahu using binoculars with the lens caps on. Grossman portrays the Israeli public as easily manipulated by a fearful leader. I say the analysis is irresponsible, but the desperation is palpable:

Israel is a country of refugees from a terrible disaster, a country battered by trauma. The trauma of Jewish history, the trauma of the Holocaust, and the traumas of frequent war. To a certain extent most of us are helpless in the face of the prime minister’s sophisticated manipulations. For many of us, too, it is hard to rationally discern the true dangers of today from echoes of the past that roar still in our ears. We give ourselves easily to those fears, at times even eagerly. This is not a surprise: they are etched into our collective and individual DNA, and naturally they leap to the surface with the first shadow of threat and danger. With the blink of an eye, those echoes of the past drown out the threats of the present, and we find ourselves “there” – even if the facts of our lives point towards a reality that is far more complex…

But the internal apparatus of Netanyahu’s mind and consciousness – bared before all with his statement about the mufti and Hitler – tells us, in the most simple and frightful way, that the policies of the state of Israel, its character and its future, are being forged and determined, to the utmost extent, within the narrow and hermetic confines of the man and his covered and sealed field glasses.T hat is where we are trapped; that is where our future is being determined; and that is where we are being led, eyes wide shut.

Another leading author is also desperate. The Associated Press reports that Amos Oz is undertaking a very limited boycott:

Author Amos Oz, one of Israel’s most celebrated writers, says he will no longer attend events hosted by Israeli embassies abroad, as a protest against what he says are extremist Israeli policies.

Oz said in comments published Friday in the Maariv newspaper that “in the wake of the growing extremism in the present government’s policy in various areas, I informed my hosts that I prefer not to be invited to events held in my honor at Israeli embassies overseas.”

Lately I’ve been reading Oz’s 2010 book How to Cure a Fanatic. It seems a bit smug and entitled (“even when this conflict is history, there will still be bitter disagreement about who was the victim and who the tormentor.” Really?). He doesn’t feel that way now, evidently.

Philip Weiss

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

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18 Responses

  1. Chespirito on November 7, 2015, 2:01 pm

    That’s nice that Lara Friedman said this, but APN still supports the massive military aid package to Israel. It’s quite true that Washington has zero credibility as a broker of peace, but without cutting off the military aid and the blank-check diplomatic cover, the U.S. is still providing more incentives for the Israeli state to continue ethnic cleansing and occupation than for any workable peace deal. I don’t see how APN gets away with the P in its name if the group is for for ongoing military subsidies to a country engaged in ethnic cleansing–that’s supporting a war process, not a peace process.

  2. Boomer on November 7, 2015, 2:44 pm

    I agree that it is nice that she said this, but it’s not exactly new. Maybe from her it’s new. But this has been a common observation for years, albeit not so common, perhaps, in the mainstream U.S. media. I believe that Mr. Obama himself publicly mused about ending our veto recently, but it isn’t clear to me why he did so. Nothing came of it. Perhaps he was feeling particularly put upon by Mr. Netanyahu that day, or strangely embarrassed by having to wipe the Zionist spittle from his brow, and wanted to suggest that he had options.

  3. Ossinev on November 7, 2015, 2:52 pm

    IMO the Rubicon has long since been crossed with regards to the two state solution. “Liberal” Zionists in the US and in Israel itself are doing no more than timorously flagging up the fact that theend of the 2SS is a possibility. They like Obama and the US (albeit the latter in a more embarassing way ) are simply ducking the fact that the 2SS is dead,deceased,departed this mortal coil,in short it is now an ex solution.

    The only way forward for the victims of extreme Zionism and by victims I mean also those moral and conscionable Jews both in Israel and in the Diaspora who feel deep shame over what their co-religionists are doing, as well as the Palestinians, is an enhanced BDS movement led by Europeans.

    By enhanced I mean on top of the commercial,economic,sporting and cultural boycotts a greater focus on little discussed aspects of what Norman Finkelstein described as “a lunatic state ” – eg keep pointing out and reminding people that this lunatic state has hundreds of nuclear warheads and that a significant number of these apparently are aimed at their “trading partners ” and diplomatic allies in Europe / NATO countries etc.


    • Don on November 7, 2015, 5:41 pm

      “simply ducking the fact that the 2SS is dead,deceased,departed this mortal coil,in short it is now an ex solution.”

      Its not dead, its restin’

      As to Lara Friedman, she strikes me as having the insight of Peter Beinart…after spending decades “spoiling the child”, so to speak…they are now horrified that the child behaves like irt is…spoiled. And of course it is somebody else’s fault…

  4. Citizen on November 7, 2015, 4:25 pm

    Fox News had Dennis Ross on as their guru re Obama throwing in the towel on the peace process while he remains in office. Ross agreed it’s impossible to have peace process now with violence taking place “in the region.” No mention of occupation or settlements. Nor of using US aid leverage to force a plan it could suggest for peace chats. Ross spent most of the time saying US needs to really hold Iran to the fire on living up to its part of Iran Deal.

    • inbound39 on November 7, 2015, 7:05 pm

      Dennis Ross apparently thinks it is okay to set the Middle East on fire just so Israel can have its way…okay. Somehow I don’t think he has the support of billions of people around the World.

    • JWalters on November 7, 2015, 7:27 pm

      Dennis Ross is the re-incarnation of Meyer Lansky’s lawyer.

  5. JWalters on November 7, 2015, 7:24 pm

    These are like the voices of the distraught parent unwilling to believe their beloved child is a serial killer, despite overwhelming evidence, including a confession. They are the voices of the distraught spouse unwilling to believe their beloved spouse of decades has a secret life as a vicious gangster.

    David Grossman gives a sympathetic account of the emotionally manipulated enabler, whose mind is swirling in a confused maelstrom of fears, fictions, and reality. I encourage him to continue on the path of facts.

    In that vein, he might drop the fiction that “Israel is a country of refugees from a terrible disaster”. Most of the refugees went elsewhere. Militant extremists from Eastern Europe, eager to carry guns in re-establishing ancient Israel, provided the boots on the ground for the takeover of Palestine. Here’s a recent article on the military-industrial complex’s role in Israel’s crimes.

  6. JLewisDickerson on November 7, 2015, 7:38 pm

    RE: Then there’s novelist David Grossman’s piece in the Guardian . . . that anguishes over Netanyahu’s Mufti/Hitler comments and cites a recent image showing Netanyahu using binoculars with the lens caps on. ~ Grossman

    SEE: PHOTO of Netanyahu using binoculars with the lens caps on

    P.S. Here is a PHOTO of George W. Bush using binoculars with the lens caps on.

  7. JLewisDickerson on November 7, 2015, 7:52 pm

    RE: “Israel is a country of refugees from a terrible disaster, a country battered by trauma. The trauma of Jewish history, the trauma of the Holocaust, and the traumas of frequent war. To a certain extent most of us are helpless in the face of the prime minister’s sophisticated manipulations.” ~ Grossman

    SEE: “Netanyahu’s Ministry of Fear” | by Uri Avnery | Counterpunch | September 25, 2015

    [EXCERPT] . . . Fear is a necessary condition for human survival. Most animals in nature possess it. It helps them to respond to dangers and evade or fight them. Human beings survive because they are fearful.

    Fear is both individual and collective. Since its earliest days, the human race has lived in collectives. This is both a necessary and a desired condition. Early humans lived in tribes. The tribe defended their territory against all “strangers” – neighboring tribes – in order to safeguard their food supply and security. Fear was one of the uniting factors.

    Belonging to one’s tribe (which after many evolutions became a modern nation) is also a profound psychological need. It, too, is connected with fear – fear of other tribes, fear of other nations.

    But fear can grow and become a monster.

    Recently I received a very interesting article by a young scientist, Yoav Litvin, dealing with this phenomenon.

    It described, in scientific terms, how easily fear can be manipulated. The science involved was the research of the human brain, based on experiments with laboratory animals like mice and rats.

    Nothing is easier than to create fear. For example, mice were given an electric shock while exposed to rock music. After some time, the mice showed reactions of extreme fear when the rock music was played, even without being given a shock. The music alone produced fear.

    This could be reversed. For a long time, the music was played for them without the pain. Slowly, very slowly, the fear abated. But not completely: when, after a long time, a shock was again delivered with the music, the full symptoms of fear re-appeared immediately. Once was enough.

    Apply this to human nations, and the results are the same.

    The Jews are a perfect laboratory specimen. Centuries of persecution in Europe taught them the value of fear. Smelling danger from afar, they learned to save themselves in time – generally by flight.

    In Europe, the Jews were an exception, inviting victimizing. In the Byzantine (East Roman) Empire, Jews were normal. All over the empire, territorial peoples turned into ethnic-religious communities. A Jew in Alexandria could marry a Jewess in Antioch, but not the girl next door, if she happened to be an Orthodox Christian.

    This “millet” system endured all through the Islamic Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate and still lives happily in today’s State of Israel. An Israeli Jew cannot legally marry an Israeli Christian or Muslim in Israel.

    This was the reason for the absence of anti-Semitism in the Arab world, apart from the detail that the Arabs are Semites themselves. Jews and Christians, the “peoples of the book”, have a special status in an Islamic state (like Iran today), in some ways second-class, in some ways privileged (they do not have to serve in the army). Until the advent of Zionism, Arab Jews were no more fearful than most other human beings.

    The situation in Europe was quite different. Christianity, which split off from Judaism, harbored a deep resentment towards the Jews from the start. The New Testament contains profoundly anti-Jewish descriptions of Jesus’ death, which every Christian child learns at an impressionable age. And the fact that the Jews in Europe were the only people (apart from the gypsies) who had no homeland made them all the more suspicious and fear-inspiring.

    The continued suffering of the Jews in Europe implanted a continuous and deep-seated fear in every European Jew. Every Jew was on continuous alert, consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously, even in times and countries which seemed far from any danger . . .


  8. Palikari on November 7, 2015, 8:28 pm

    Yes, please!

    The US and the EU (not to mention the corrupt UN) should immediately get out of the so called “peace process”. Always putting pressure on Israel and never on the PA, and always blaming Israel for everything. It seems they are living in a parallel fantasy world.

    If the US had got out, Bibi wouldn’t have released almost about 100 terrorists with blood on their hands following US pressure.

    • Mooser on November 7, 2015, 10:54 pm

      “Palikari” is forgetting where Israel’s money comes from. He thinks you buy Dolphins and F-16 from the quarters in the Blue Boxes.

    • Marnie on November 8, 2015, 2:33 am

      “If the US had got out, Bibi wouldn’t have released almost about 100 terrorists with blood on their hands following US pressure.”

      Right! And those “100 terrorists” have been randomly shooting Israelis and burning their homes and those living in them…..oops, got that backwards. It’s the Israelis doing most of the killing, as usual! The so-called “pressure” that the US and EU have been putting on Israel wouldn’t pop the ripest blemish on Queen Sara’s face/ass/ass face.

    • diasp0ra on November 8, 2015, 5:49 am

      You are incredibly delusional.

      Do you seriously truly believe that the US actually puts pressure on Israel and never on the PA? The PA has always been under tremendous pressure, even simple things like the FIFA affair got squashed diplomatically behind the scenes by Kerry and CO.

      PA gets its funds slashed every other month by the US, only recently 80 million were slashed.

      Please tell me what pressure the US puts on Israel, because at one point it asked Israel to obey international law like the rest of the world? Oh, how unfair! Please explain to me the concrete pressure the US has been putting on Israel. And if all this pressure is so great, why has settlement expansion only increased over the last 20 years and the occupation only got deeper?

      It is astonishing that you live in a world where you think the US blames everything on Israel when it bends over backwards to never mention it. They wouldn’t even DIRECTLY address the Netanyahu Holocaust comment, just mumble that it’s inaccurate and move on.

      You Israelis are truly delusional. Change will never come from the inside, your colonial mindsets are somehow that you are always the victims as you yield the most powerful military in the region and have been occupying a people for decades. You need mass therapy.

  9. yourstruly on November 7, 2015, 8:30 pm

    “The only thing that can save Israel is the U.S. getting out of the peace process”?

    three thoughts:

    1) Why save Israel (the state, not its people)?

    2) There is only a fake peace process.

    3) Once America’s unconditional support for Israel ends – “look, there goes the so-called Jewish & democratic state.”

    • Sibiriak on November 7, 2015, 9:41 pm

      yourstruly: 3) Once America’s unconditional support for Israel ends – “look, there goes the so-called Jewish & democratic state.”

      It will be quite a long time before America’s unconditional support for Israel ends.

      And when it does, if it does, if it is not too late, it will become conditional support. What then do you think U.S. support will be conditioned on?

      Do you think it will be conditioned on Israel merging with the West Bank and Gaza, agreeing to full RoR and equal rights 1P1V, an Arab Palestinian majority i.e. the End of Zionism, the End of all Jewish national hopes, the End of “Israel” ?

      Do you think those will be the conditions? Or perhaps, just maybe, something more in line with the current international consensus?

  10. eljay on November 7, 2015, 10:20 pm

    … Friedman’s recommendation? Obama must end “the American monopoly over Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.”

    … it would demonstrate Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security and its viability as a democracy and a Jewish state …

    Her concern that Israel might not remain a supremacist “Jewish State” is touching…

  11. kalithea on November 8, 2015, 8:13 pm

    I agree that Liberal Zionists are desperate and scrambling at the 11th hour to rescue Zionism, and in this sense they deserve their self-inflicted penance of watching Zionism in the last throes of legitimacy led by Netanyahu and the settler ilk. Although, in my opinion Zionism never had legitimacy, but that’s just me and others to whom moral integrity and justice really matters. But as far as legitimacy in the perception of those with lesser standards in interpreting the law; Zionism is turning the corner into illegitimacy, where its so-called democracy will be exposed as a fraud and where Apartheid will be the vernacular or customary definition of Israel’s governing and social policy from which more vociferous condemnation will issue rather than the uncommon perception shared by Jimmy Carter and others at the time. Liberal Zionists should have heeded his warning and joined him in this criticism at the time, but instead they allowed him to be ridiculed and disparaged over it.

    Again, Liberal Zionists have not only severely harmed the struggle for Palestinians rights but in indulging and protecting their precious Zionism from criticism with all sorts of excuses for decades they have enabled facts on the ground and grave injustice that contributed in large part to the demise of its legitimacy.

    So GOOD! They deserve to be drowned out and outfoxed by the much louder and more radical comrades-in-arms.

    Liberal Zionists betrayed moral integrity and were shameless in their defence of injustice for way too long and this is the result they hastened by their own stupidity and selfish designs for shielding Zionism.

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