October 1, 2014

Middle East Media Sampler for July 15, 2012


1) About that isolation

From Beyond Cairo Israelis sensing a wider siege by Ethan Bronner (New York Times, September 10, 2011):

With its Cairo embassy ransacked, its ambassador to Turkey expelled and the Palestinians seeking statehood recognition at the United Nations, Israel found itself on Saturday increasingly isolated and grappling with a radically transformed Middle East where it believes its options are limited and poor.

From Israel Isolates itself by Roger Cohen (New York Times, September 5, 2011)

“We need not apologize,” Netanyahu thundered Sunday — and repeated the phrase three times. He’s opted for a needless road to an isolation that weakens Israel and undermines the strategic interests of its closest ally, the United States. Not that I expect Obama to raise his voice about this any more than he has over Dogan.

From Israel adrift At Sea by Thomas Friedman (New York Times, September 17, 2011)

Unfortunately, Israel today does not have a leader or a cabinet for such subtle diplomacy. One can only hope that the Israeli people will recognize this before this government plunges Israel into deeper global isolation and drags America along with it.

From Israel is in Good Shape Because So Many Others Decided Not to Be by Barry Rubin (The Jersualem Post, July 13, 2012)

An extremely important point to note is how completely Arabs, and especially Palestinians, threw away the greatest opportunity they’ve ever had to gain more U.S. support and widen the cracks between Washington and Jerusalem into a chasm. If properly motivated, the Obama Administration was ready to become the most actively pro-Palestinian government in American history, to offer more concessions to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and to put more pressure on Israel than ever seen before.

Instead, they refused to cooperate with Obama and rejected his initiatives. The PA wasted Obama’s entire term in refusing even to negotiate with Israel. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the PA repeatedly showed the U.S. government that it was the intransigent party. And even if American officials would never publicly admit this, they certainly had to give up as a result.

I provide this list not to rejoice at the misfortunes of others, even those who are hostile, because their people are the real victims. But these misfortunes are the result of decisions they made. This is the reality of the Middle East today.

In the cases of Cohen and Friedman note the contempt in which they held Israel. I don't expect either (Cohen is on a sabbatical right now) will revisit this issue and acknowledge that has successfully waited out many of the reasons for its isolation.

2) Kicking the can

Jeffrey Goldberg weighs in on the JNF (an organization he previously expressed his contempt for):

But, as Andrew Sullivan suggests, rightly (when he's right, he's right), Palestinians aren't the only ones who publish maps that subvert the idea of a two-state solution. Click here to see the photograph of a Jewish National Fund pushke, a modern version of the age-old Jewish fund-raising device. The map on the JNF collection can depicts the West Bank as indivisibly part of Israel. A two-state solution, an idea to which the current, Likud Party prime minister says he is committed, would of course mean that most of the West Bank would be within the territory of Palestine. If I were a Palestinian looking at this collection can, I might ask myself if the Israelis are actually committed to the idea of territorial compromise.

First of all as Jonathan Schanzer tweeted, Goldberg (and Sullivan) were reading too much into a highly stylized picture.

Getting Talmudic here, Gaza is removed & button covers a chunk of WB. "Extremism" is everywhere, but a stretch in this case.

More generally, Israel over the past nineteen years has made significant concrete concessions giving land, money and even weapons to the Palestinian Authority and, for the most part, found peace further than before it started. And yes, Israel does promote peace even if it doesn't receive it in return. The maps on the Palestinian side are emblematic of the way the PA treats peace; they are not isolated exceptions.

About Daniel Goldstein

Daniel Goldstein is a media critic and recovering blogger. He has been critiquing media bias against Israel since his first letter to the editor in 1987.