American foreign policy Arab-Israeli conflict Israel Israeli occupation Middle East peace process Palestinian Authority Palestinians

Is there any hope?

We’ve been here before, of course. We’ve been here so many times I’ve lost count. Most of what needs to be said about the upcoming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks was expressed in a poem written nearly sixty years ago by the late, truly great Yehuda Amichai. In The U.N. Headquarters Headquarters in the High Commissioner’s House […]

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Obama should not be afraid of AIPAC

Despite recent tension with Israel, President Obama’s approval ratings have remained consistently high among American Jews, according to a new J Street poll. He was viewed favorably by 62% in March compared to 64% in October, 2009. That is true even though Americans as a whole are less enamored of him than they used to […]

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“Can’t anybody here play this game?”

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 […]

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Where are the “moderate” settlers?

The Israeli media are filled with dire warnings of escalating, violent resistance to the construction freeze proclaimed by Netanyahu. A recent, on-line headline in Haaretz announced: “Settlers Ready for More Clashes With Police.” Much of the buzz concerns a “Day of Rage” in two days, in which predictable passions will come to a head and […]

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The myth that “Israel has no partner” for peace

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 […]

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Is a breakthrough feasible? Alon Ben-Meir says yes

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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George Mitchell rejects the “F-word”

Much of the media are dismissing today’s Obama-Netanyahu-Abbas summit as an abject failure. Check out the Guardian, which uses the word “failure” no less than three times in its chronicle of the UN meetings, along with “meager results,” “inauspicious start” and other formulations to characterize negotiations that supposedly yielded nothing. I haven’t come across the […]

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The perils of American incrementalism

The pro-Israel peace camp, my camp, has been content to settle for incremental American diplomacy. We’ve rallied around the Obama team and its call for freezing settlements, for small but friendly policy changes from the Arab states, for “confidence-building” measures. That incremental approach didn’t work in the 1990s, but we are hoping beyond hope that […]

American foreign policy American Jews Dan Fleshler Israel Israeli occupation Middle East peace process

Poll: Many Israelis want American Jews to be “critical friends”

Do Israelis think American Jews should support Israel by sticking to the Israeli government’s positions? The answer is “a decisive `No,”’ writes pollster Dahlia Scheindlin in the Jerusalem Report (June 8, 2009), describing a May 12th survey. This question is still a controversial one within (parts of) the American Jewish community, which has not yet […]

Americans for Peace Now Israel Israeli occupation Israeli settlements Middle East peace process Palestinians Peace Now

Peace Now & APN: Freeze construction in the “settlement blocs,” too

Belated praise for Top Five Bogus Excuses for Opposing a Settlement Freeze, a detailed refutation of several canards by the estimable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now and Hagit Ofran, who run’s Peace Now’s Settlements Watch progam. All five responses to these “excuses” are worth perusing, but I found one of them to be […]