Yet More Throwing of Israel under the Bus

When will the madness end?

Joel Greenberg:

Israeli commentators pointed out Sunday that the 1967 lines have for years been considered the basis for any future border between Israel and a Palestinian state, noting that Obama had mentioned land swaps that could leave large settlements inside Israel, as Netanyahu has demanded.

“What did Obama say?” wrote Ofer Shelah, a columnist in the Maariv newspaper. “That any agreement with the Palestinians, if and when it is signed, must be based on the 1967 lines with border adjustments. Is there any Israeli or Palestinian who doesn’t know that this is what will happen? It’s the only game in town

Dov Weisglass, who was chief of staff to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said in a radio interview that “anyone here deluding himself . . . that the drawing of the new map will be based on any reference point other than the 1967 boundaries is simply disconnected from reality.”

First Obama, and then the blast from the past from Israeli PM Olmert and now this.

When will the madness end?

All sarcasm aside, the thing that I have found most vexing (to the point of annoyance) in watching reaction to Obama’s speeches on the Middle East is the notion that what was said about the 1967 borders was something radical, new and/or well outside the mainstream.  It was not.  Not only that, it was far from new.  One can debate whether it is a good idea or not, but to pretend like it is crazy talk (i.e., “throwing Israel under the bus” or the like) is crazy talk in and of itself (or, to be more kind, misguided and incorrect).

I do not know the editorial disposition of Maariv, but know full well that Ariel Sharon was well within the mainstream of Israeli politics and so would consider a quotation from his chief of staff to likewise be within said mainstream.  So please, if you think this is somehow outside the realm of the reasonable on this topic, you are simply incorrect.

And again:  that the notion is mainstream makes it neither right nor wrong, but it would help the discourse if we could at least agree to play in the same reality.

h/t:  Goldblog.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, US Politics, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Tano says:

    “The Prime Minister and the Secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals. The Secretary reiterated that “the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

    Joint statement issued by SoS Hillary Clinton and PM Netanyahu – 11/11/10
    h/t Andrew Sullivan

  2. CB says:

    politics, pure and simple. which is probably the very last thing that needs to be infused into the israeli/palestinian debate right now.

  3. Hey Norm says:

    C’mon…Netanyahoo snapped his finger and the right wing extremeists jumped in line. Obama is probably genuinely surprised at the uproar, but also probably knows peace will be amazingly difficult. Those raising the ruckus only see political points to be scored. And yet to idiots like Cain Obama is the one who is un-patriotic.
    Let’s stop funding Isreal until they start acting in our interest.

  4. ponce says:

    With Roger Ailes, head of Fox News, calling Sarah Palin an idiot and lamenting what he turned his network into, no doubt a lot of Republicans are rethinking the mindless belligerence that has become their default position on every.single.issue.

  5. A voice from another precinct says:

    And with Hey Norm, we have the entrance of the other extreme into the discussion–the “Israel is a client state that should only act in the interests of American Foreign Policy” wing.

    What was that about “agree[ing] to play in the same reality?” Is there a same reality? I must be missing something here.

  6. Hey Norm says:

    A voice…
    Isreal is free to act in any way it pleases…but the US should not fund states that act in direct opposition to the US’s best interest. Not sure what is so extreme about that.

  7. A voice from another precinct says:

    Just a note: “but the US should not fund states that act in direct opposition to the US’s best interest” is not the same as “Let’s stop funding Isreal until they start acting in our interest.” The key word is “until.” The use of “until” denotes a quid pro quo relationship that seems to imply a client nation status for Israel. You’re right, “the US should not fund states that act in direct opposition…” is not a particularly extreme position. Sadly, that’s not what you said in your post. I accept the revision on your part.

    Now, with the revision in place, what’s your point? Israel is acting in what it imagines to be its interests and others disagree. That’s just the world of politics at work as you noted. Cain believing that Obama is not a patriot is off topic.

    BTW and forgive me for asking, what IS in the US national interest as it relates to Israel and Palestine and how is the Israeli position working contrary to it? While it would be nice to have some settlement, we’ve been doing without one for longer than I have been alive (I’m in my late 50s), and the current status quo of hostile words and significantly empty threats on both sides are an improvement on the various large scale military actions seeking to “drive Israel into the sea” of the past. So, I’m not sure that simply sitting out a round or three might not be as good an idea as anything we’ve tried so far.

  8. ponce says:

    Israel is acting in what it imagines to be its interests and others disagree.

    I disagree.

    The Israeli fringe right is operating Israel as a personal criminal money making organization.

    I don’t think Netanyahu and his cronies are cynical enough to claim they are stealing Palestinian land and milking government contracts for the benefit of Israel as a whole.

  9. AllenS says:

    crazy talk?

    It you don’t think that going back to the borders of 1967 is crazy talk, then why not propose that the borders go back to what they were in 1948?

  10. george says:

    It you don’t think that going back to the borders of 1967 is crazy talk, then why not propose that the borders go back to what they were in 1948?

    Do you not understand the difference between using the borders of 1967 as a basis for swapping, and using the borders of 1967?

    This is a great example of how political spin works. Obama more or less re-iterates what has been the US position for almost two decades, and the right wing pundits are saying he’s throwing Israel under the bus, while left wing pundits are saying he’s courageously forging new ground.

    Basically he’s just saying what Bush and previous presidents have said, and for the legitimate reason that its the only thing that makes sense.

  11. ken says:

    I am tired of Israel. I don’t care if Israel continues to exist as a Jewish state or not.

    My only limitation would be: No pogrom to eliminate all Jewish people living in the Middle East.

    If the Jews could live in the area without a Jewish state then that would be an ok solutions.

    Israel could test this out by ceding a few of the illegal settlement back to the emerging state of Palestine with both sides agreeing to allow the Jewish settlers the right to continue living their if they wish under the protection of the local authority, just like everyone else.

    Its worth a try.

  12. mantis says:

    The anti-Israel perfidy continues, from rabid anti-semite Bibi himself! Joint statement from Netanyahu and Sec. Clinton from last November:

    The Prime Minister and the Secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals. The Secretary reiterated that “the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

    Bibi is a lying sack of shit, with plenty of lying wingnut followers here in the US more than willing to push his crap. Wingnuts always lie, regardless of what country they are from.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    The statement above adds another piece of evidence that Bibi’s slap at a sitting American president was simply at the behest of his Republican allies. The extremely thin thread (and as the above excerpt shows, it was actually a fabricated thread) they based their calumny on, the speed with which both he and the Fox News regulars rolled out their smears, and the similarity of their language, makes me wonder if they had it mapped out beforehand. No matter what Obama said, they had agreed on their response. The fact that I, and maybe a lot more people like me, think that Bibi is working in cahoots with what I consider the opposition political party, is not good for Israeli/US relations. Even if you think we are nuts, we are nuts who vote. And you have to admit, Netanyahu certainly seems to be taking sides in our internal politics.

  14. Pug says:

    So if Bibi Netanyahu issued the above statement with Hillary Clinton just last November, why did he react with such unhinged venom when Obama simply repeated something he himself had already said?

    What the hell is going on with this guy?

    Bibi Netanyahu doesn’t want peace. Unfortunately, neither do the Palestinians.

  15. mantis says:

    Pug,

    You said it. First, Bibi does not want peace. He wants the Palestinians wiped from the Earth. Second, he does not want Obama to get a second term, because if he did that would hamper accomplishing the first goal. He wants a neocon in office who will bomb Iran, look the other way while Bibi kills Palestinians, destroys their homes, invades a few more countries, and who will otherwise do Israel’s bidding.

  16. george says:

    Yes mantis, I’m sure Bib would love nothing better to personally put the knife to every Palestinian on the earth. Possibly torturing them first. Then he’d go after any puppies and kittens they had … and finish off by pulling the wings off of flies and dropping them into glasses of water.

    As far as I can tell, he’s responding to the idea of giving back land in the same way that most Americans would respond to giving back land to the Indians … which doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make him a monster, any more than an American who doesn’t want to give his home to the Indians a monster.

    What is it about this topic which drives everyone to extreme positions. The reason for using the 1967 borders as a starting position isn’t moral, or even legal – its just practical. The reason for opposing it is more emotional, but that doesn’t make people evil, just unwilling to give up their homes for something that happened many years ago (and there are Palestinians who oppose it as well, saying all the land should be given back … btw there are Indians who want all of Turtle Island (North America) back too).

  17. Pug says:

    george, I would just ask the same question again: Why did he (Netanyahu) react with such unhinged venom when Obama simply repeated something he himself had already said?

    What’s his motive?

  18. george says:

    george, I would just ask the same question again: Why did he (Netanyahu) react with such unhinged venom when Obama simply repeated something he himself had already said?

    What’s his motive?

    Not a mind reader, but I’d guess it has a lot more to do with internal Israeli politics than a desire to kill every Palestinian on the planet. Or even to do with American politics – most countries politicians responses are related to their own political situation, not the American one … the idea that every country’s politics revolves around America is flattering, but simply not true.

    My position is that the ’67 border is the only practical starting point; but I don’t think that people who think otherwise are monsters. Its the same reason I don’t think most Muslims want every Jew on the planet killed – most people just don’t think in those terms.