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On the Hamas-Fatah pact, which “experts” should we believe?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

JJ Goldberg reported, via Israel’s Channel 10, that Prime Minister Netanyahu “has instructed his cabinet ministers to stick to a single message regarding the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement [announced last week and signed today in Cairo]…The message: “there is no possible positive component in the reconciliation agreement.” That’s right: Cabinet ministers are forbidden even to speculate […]

In Israel, a nation brainwashes itself on the Gaza flotilla

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Writing about the Israeli reaction to the attack on the Gaza flotilla, Larry Derfner, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, sent the following note to a small group yesterday. He was kind enough to let me quote it in full: For those of you in the U.S., you’re missing out on the experience of a […]

U.S.-Israel relationship will survive, but what about Abbas?

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

This current tiff between Israel and the U.S. over settlements in East Jerusalem will probably blow over soon. The bonds between Israel and the U.S. are too tight to be unravelled. But Israel’s provocative behavior might be weakening Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Anyone who wants an end to this […]

Boycott supporters: which side are you on?

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

The BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement is growing, causing alarm in Israel and the American Jewish establishment. But the arguments being employed by the mainstream Jewish community are not likely to make headway with those who support BDS or the larger, more important group that is trying to decide whether to endorse it. When […]

Is there really “no one to talk to?” Maybe, maybe not…

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

The premise that there is no viable Palestinian partner is widely shared, conventional wisdom among the Israeli public and center-right pundits. At the same time, to the far-left and other bashers of all things Israeli (including some regular commentators on this humble blog) this premise is just an Israeli pretext for clinging to the status […]

“Can’t anybody here play this game?”

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

In A Peace to End All Peace, David Fromkin’s history of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the making of the modern Middle East, we follow British statesmen and military leaders as they make one foolish miscalculation after another. They persistently misread the Middle East, made major decisions based on false intelligence and crackpot […]

The Israeli response to Goldstone: “Trust us, we know what we’re doing”

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The first half of the official Israeli response to the Goldstone report is a detailed explanation of why the world should trust the second half of the Israeli response to the Goldstone report. It offers a summary of Israel’s system for reviewing alleged military misconduct, and refutes the charge that the military is not capable […]

Is it time to give priority to the Syrian track?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Thomas Mitchell, in a guest column pasted below, asserts that the U.S. and the EU should place a higher priority on peace talks with Syria. I have spoken to two people engaged in Track 2 diplomacy who have been exploring this option for the last 18 months (trust me on that one). They have met […]

The myth that “Israel has no partner” for peace

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

The claim that “Israel has no partner for peace” is often trotted out by Israeli and American Jews. Sometimes it is backed up by the argument that the Palestinians are in political disarray, and that relatively moderate Palestinians don’t have the power to stop violent extremists from wrecking any agreement. That argument deserves to be […]

Is a breakthrough feasible? Alon Ben-Meir says yes

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

NYU Professor Alon Ben-Meir sees reasons for hope. It seems to me that ALL of the scenarios he envisions would need to occur in order for a breakthrough to occur. That is unlikely. But stranger, more unlikely things have occured on this planet, including the birth and development of a Jewish state. As I noted […]

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