American Jews Israel Israeli occupation Israeli settlements J Street

J Street: Support Bob Simon and “60 Minutes”

The J Street gang is trying to organize a response to the burgeoning smear campaign against Bob Simon of “60 Minutes,” whose segment castigating Israeli settlements on Sunday was a first for network T.V. Here is their message:

Tell Bob Simon you thought his 60 Minutes segment on Israeli settlements was an accurate and thoughtful portrayal of the threat Israeli settlements pose to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Simon’s already getting an earful from CAMERA (the Orwellian-named Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) and others accusing him of anti-Israel bias. He needs to hear from us

You can get marching orders from J Street and see clips from the segment here.

Bob Simon has been around a long time and I don’t think he or his paymasters are worried about objections from right wing American Jews, which they must have expected. But surely they will be pleasantly surprised if they get praise from thousands –or tens of thousands– of people affiliated with a decidedly pro-Israel, left-leaning Jewish organization. J Street deserves a lot of credit for its nimble response.

20 thoughts on “J Street: Support Bob Simon and “60 Minutes”

  1. Did it neglect to chastise Hamas sufficiently for your ultra-nationalist sensitivities?

    Did Bob Simon forget to mention Hamas’ charter?

  2. And you are predictably condemning.

    “Informing” isn’t meaningful a word for you.

    How can I know that information is “accurate” or not. I wasn’t there fact-checking.

    Its enough for me to state what I do know.

  3. Dan,
    What do you do when Netanyahu wins the election and forms a right-wing cabinet, enacting his commitment to never negotiate with Hamas, to never permit a sovereign Palestine ANYWHERE in the West Bank, and to increase the size and presence of the settlements?

    Wait until the annexation is complete, then work to make a single democratic Israel, renounce sympathy with Israel if it becomes apartheid Israel, assist Israelis to migrate out en masse?

    I’m at a loss.

  4. Confront Bibi and the Israelis with hard choices. Create a political buffer to enable Obama’s team to lean on both sides rather than just one side. Get American Jews ready to face the prospect that costs might need to be imposed on Israel if it does not get with the program. None of this is likely; all of it is possible. Obama is the last president who will be able to do it before it really is too late.

  5. He’ll have hard choices, but he’s a very slippery character.

    When he was prime minister in the mid-90’s, he “obeyed” the law, but found incremental and intentionally provocative ways to stick to the Palestinians, like authorizing the digging under the Al Aqsa Mosque, that had been deferred since 1949.

    His current platform includes establishment of additional settlements and enhanced growth of current, and adament refusal to grant any functional sovereignty to Palestine in the West Bank.

    And, its likely that his coalition will be to his right, rather than Kadima in any prominent role.

  6. Dan:

    I went on to CAMERA’s website and I saw an article that was critical of Mr. Simon’s report. and of course it was standard Israel right or wrong stuff. But I didn’t see anything on the website urging readers to give 60 Minutes an earful. Any links to this campaign against 60 Minutes, or are we assuming facts that are not in evidence?

  7. Dan,

    The clip of the story looked good, so I signed the letter. But the map of Israel and Palestine was a lousy map.

  8. Richard Witty said:
    ————————————————
    He’ll have hard choices, but he’s a very slippery character.

    When he was prime minister in the mid-90’s, he “obeyed” the law, but found incremental and intentionally provocative ways to stick to the Palestinians, like authorizing the digging under the Al Aqsa Mosque, that had been deferred since 1949.

    His current platform includes establishment of additional settlements and enhanced growth of current, and adament refusal to grant any functional sovereignty to Palestine in the West Bank.

    ———————————————–

    Richard, you are way off base on this one. First of all Netanyahu said explicitly there will be “no new settlements”…there is no need for them because most of Judea/Samaria is off-limits to Jewish settlement already from the Oslo Agreements, the existing “outposts” are all found on land already set-aside for settlements and are in close or fairly close proximity to existing settlements.

    Regarding “digging under the Al-Aqsa Mosque”, this is totally incorrect. I assume you mean the Temple Mount, but Israel has never dug under the Temple Mount, the project you were referring to is what in Israel is called “minharat haKotel”, a tunnel that runs along the outer Western Wall of the Temple Mount, in a continuation of the famous “Western Wall” that is the site of Jewish prayer for centuries. It has not been “off limits” for digging since 1949 to Israel because Israel only came into control of the area in 1967.

    I am no fan of Netanyahu, but why is he “slipperier” than his rivals? Olmert and Livni went from the “far Right” to the far Left, entering the Likud explicitly promising NOT to destroy Gush Katif and then doing a 180 when Sharon decided to betray his promises and voters. Olmert and Livni promised to get rid of the settlements in Judea/Samaria and then did the opposite. Olmert and Livni gave Israel 2 wars within 3 years. Nobel Peace Prize Winner Shimon Peres was the first Cabinet Minister to push Jewish settlement in Judea/Samaria, now he curses it. At least Netanyahu has stayed more or less in the same camp.

    Regarding Bob Simon’s report: I am surprised that someone who lived in Israel so long would put out such a superficial piece, however, I only wish it was true that the settlements are too firmly entrenched to get rid of them. There is always the Gush Katif precedent where the settlement leadership simply folded up and told the people to leave quietly, which they did.
    Regarding the “superficiality”, I mean his extended segment about the poor family who has their house used as an observation post really has nothing to do with the settlements. He also repeated the myth that the roadblocks are primarily for protecting the settlements which simply isn’t true…even the Palestinian fellow Mustafa Barghouti admitted there are legitimate security concerns behind at least some of them.

    If the Palestinians don’t like the settlements, all they have to do is make peace with Israel and they will go….a formal offer of peace in return for withdrawal to the pre-67 lines and the Palestinians giving up the “Right of Return” would be accepted even by a “Right-wing” gov’t. But the fact is the Arabs will never make such an offer. The Palestinians prefer the status-quo WITH the settlements to a peace on that line because any Palestinian leader who accepted such terms would be marked as a traitor, and the Palestinian Authority and HAMAS are doing fine now without peace, their pockets being lined with large amounts of EU and US money in the first case, and Iranian, Qatari and other Gulf States’ money in the second. Why ruin a good thing? What does the Palestinian leadership need a peace agreement for? To help their people? When was that ever a consideration for them?

  9. You’re wrong on nearly all accounts Y Ben David.

    Today, there was an announcement of a new development. Your quote, “First of all Netanyahu said explicitly there will be “no new settlements”…there is no need for them because most of Judea/Samaria is off-limits to Jewish settlement already from the Oslo Agreements, the existing “outposts” are all found on land already set-aside for settlements and are in close or fairly close proximity to existing settlements.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1060392.html

    Israel plans to build up West Bank corridor on contested land
    By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
    Tags: West Bank, George Mitchell

    Israel has invested close to NIS 200 million during the past two years in preparing infrastructure for construction of housing units to create a contiguous block between Ma’aleh Adumim and East Jerusalem.

    The neighborhood of Mevaseret Adumim, slated to be built on Area A1, has so far not been built because of strong American opposition. However the construction of a police base in May 2008 opened a window for massive construction in the area.

    It is doubtful all this construction was meant to serve several hundred policemen and civilians traveling to the headquarters daily. …

    “the project you were referring to is what in Israel is called “minharat haKotel”, a tunnel that runs along the outer Western Wall of the Temple Mount, in a continuation of the famous “Western Wall” that is the site of Jewish prayer for centuries.”

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3361816,00.html

    Jordan attacks Israel over mosque excavations

    Reuters
    Published: 02.06.07, 18:21 / Israel News

    Dig in Old City (Video: Nadav Anker)

    “What Israel is doing in its practices and attacks against our sacred Muslim sites in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa is a blatant violation that is not acceptable under any pretext,” the monarch was quoted by the state news agency Petra as saying.
    Harsh Threats
    11 arrested in riots following J’lem works / Efrat Weiss
    Police arrest rioting youths protesting Israeli works at Mugrabi Gate leading to Temple Mount, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threaten attacks if works continue. Israeli archeologists say works nowhere near mosques, city officials divided over legality of work permit
    Full Story

    “These measures will only create an atmosphere that will not at all help in the success of efforts being undertaken to restore the peace process,” the monarch said.

    Israeli excavation work on Tuesday near an entrance to a compound in Jerusalem that houses the al-Aqsa mosque drew Palestinian protests and Israeli assurances the dig would not harm Islam’s third holiest shrine.

    ***Israel’s opening of an entrance to an archaeological tunnel near Haram al-Sharif in 1996 touched off violent Palestinian protests and led to clashes in which 61 Arabs and 15 Israeli soldiers were killed.***

    On Netanyahu’s slipperiness. While prime minister he kept to the “letter of the law”, but did everything that he could to make it impossible for a Palestinian state in the West Bank, as he as restated recently.

  10. Richard-
    Yes, Israel has done archaeological excavations around the Temple Mount, but they have NOT “dug under” the Mount as you have indicated. The “Moghrabi Gate” is outside the Temple Mount. Moshe Dayan gave control of the Temple Mount to the Waqf (Muslim Trust) and so it couldn’t dig under the Temple Mount even if they wanted to. Thus the mosques are not “in danger”. There is no reason why Israel can’t do excavations around the Mount and has done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future. If the Arabs don’t like it, too bad.

    Regarding the building in the corridor between Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem, this is in area “C” in Judea/Samaria in which Jewish settlement is permitted, as I indicated above. The Arabs (and the US, for that matter) oppose all settlement in all areas, even in area “C”. I guess you could still call it a “new” settlement, although it is really an extension of Jerusalem and Ma’lei Adumim. However, the Leftist governments have also, in principle at least, supported building there as well, so that has nothing to do with Netanyahu, per se.

    Richard stated:
    ————————————————-

    On Netanyahu’s slipperiness. While prime minister he kept to the “letter of the law”, but did everything that he could to make it impossible for a Palestinian state in the West Bank, as he as restated recently.

    ———————————————–

    The Oslo Agreements make no explicit promise of a Palestinian state. President Clinton never promised a Palestinian state. The first President to specifically promise one was the accursed (to pro-Palestinian “progressives”) President Bush, actually. When the Oslo Agreements were being debated in the Knesset in 1993 or 1994, Shimon Peres explicitly stated “There will never be a Palestinian state”. I think Rabin also stated this. The Olso Agreements also barely mention the Jewish settlements in Judea/Samaria, there is no promise to “freeze” them or evacuate them in the agreements.

    Again, regarding the “minharat haKotel”, Netanyahu had nothing to do with the excavations there, they began years before he became Prime Minister. All he did was order an entrance opened allowing tourists to visit them, which Arafat used as a pretext for murder and mayhem.

  11. Whether the specific Oslo agreements specified the realization of a peer Palestinian state or not, it was implied and the promise of evolution towards that was the BASIS of the agreement.

    I deal with contracts periodically, and have witnessed a case where it went to court. The clarifying discussion that accompanied the contract signing was noted as part of the agreement, and even with a clause in the written contract itself, “this writing is the complete contract”, the consented discussion (with e-mail notes supporting) was regarded as legally clarifying.

    Failure to realize a peer and viable Palestinian state, on a permanent basis, will force Israel into the three choices that Carter elaborated:

    1. Full democracy in the entire jurisdiction (one person, one vote)
    2. Segregated regions of Palestinian self-administration, but without full civil rights in any significant self-governance (parallel to apartheid)
    3. Forced removal of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza

    The first would be just in a way, but likely result in the change in status from a Jewish state to a civil state, and to get there would likely involve a quite brutal civil war among the various “stubborn”.

    The second and third would be horrible, and put Israeli in the role of Mitzrayim, hardened hearts and punitive ways.

    Its a question as to whether the “jewish” state that emerged, would be Jewish in any comprehensive sense.

    We would be owners of the land, unable to perform our God-given role in the world as a “nation of priests” evoking “the rain in its time”.

    The two statements are mostly metaphorical. A “nation of priests” heals the world (not only metaphysically, not only by ritual, but by practice in every step and breath). “The rain in its time” is a description of harmony, of a joyful life as it should be.

  12. There are all kinds of people in the world who don’t have full sovereignity, but manage quite well. For example, Puerto Rico. They are American citizens yet can not vote for President nor are they represented in Congress. Residents of the District of Columbia only got the vote for President in 1960 and still have no representation in Congress. Many others (e.g. Chinese in Malasia) have the vote but the vote is always along ethnic lines so there is no chance of a Chinese being elected head of Malaysia. Same for the Muslims in India (although there have been Muslim Presidents, but there is no real prospect of there being a Muslim Prime Minister). Same for non-Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Same for Chechens and other non-Russian nationalities in Russia. The Arabs of Judea/Samaria will have autonomy and perhaps, if they want it, sovereignity expressed in Jordan, as was the case before 1967. But Israel can not and will not give up Jewish rights, including settlement and security, in Judea/Samaria. This is at least partly because the Arabs won’t allow it, by their refusal to reach a contractural peace with Israel. You are just going to have to face the fact that certain problems are not going to solved according to nice, neat solutions that you like.

  13. Y Ben David,
    You are rationalizing.

    It is tragedy, a functional oppression, for a people that nearly unanimously desire to not be a subordinated and isolated self-administration, but rather either a sovereign state themselves, or equal citizens in a sovereign state.

    Its a revision of Zionism, and its a revision of Judaism.

    I advocate for the rights of Jews to reside in sovereign Palestine, a minority as Arabs are a minority in Israel, but NOT as dominant and supported by Israel.

    If there is any action that will radicalize American Jews, and get them to renounce their sincere kinship with Israel, its the rationalization that Palestinians are not a people, deserving real and viable self-governance.

  14. Did Y-Ben David just allude to more violence to be justified here?

    Throwing crumbs like “autonomy” won’t lessen the nationalism. Would “autonomy” have been enough for the Zionists back in pre-Israel days?

  15. For those that seek a relationship with Palestine of a “good neighbor to a good neighbor”, the prospect of a Netanyahu led government is nearly as challenging as a Hamas led government (without it changing its historical stripes).

    Even though the Israeli election is only a week away, there has been VERY LITTLE discussion of his platform, policies, record on even the left-leaning blogs.

    And, very little effort to communicate with cousins in Israel to even suggest the kinds of consequences for Palestinians, Israelis, the world, is likely with a Netanyahu regime.

  16. Richard,

    If you go to RealClearWorld there is a small section on the elections that has a link to a FT comparison of Netanyahu and Livni’s positions on the major issues.

    Most Israelis who want to know, can either remember Netanyahu’s last term in office, or they enquire about it from parents, friends, et al. That is those who want to research beyond the slogans of the election posters and electronic ads.

  17. Richard-
    Most Israelis today feel it makes little difference who is in power, they all carry out the same policies. That is why there is unprecendented apathy about the elections and there will probably be a record low voter turnout. I remember when I first came to Israel 22 years ago there was real excitement regarding elections, many people volunteered to canvass voters and distribute election material, people put political party signs in their windows and stickers on their cars. Today there is NOTHING. I have not seen one sticker. There are almost no volunteers on the streets. All we see are gigantic billboard with pictures of the leading candidates and the few TV and radio ads which are restricted to an hour per night.
    Thus, there is no point about worrying about Netanyahu’s policies. Sure Livni and Olmert talked about “peace negotiations” with Abbas. What came out of them? Nothing. They also promised in the last election to unilaterally dismantle dozens of settlements in Judea/Samaria. Did they do it? No. Barak in 1999 ran on a platform of drafting Haredi yeshiva students to the IDF. Did he do it? No. Sharon ran on a platform in 2003 of NOT destroying Gush Katif, won big, and then turned around and destroyed Gush Katif. No one believes any of the candidates anymore and we see a basic inertia in Israeli policy , both foreign and domestic, that makes the government pretty powerless and the Knesset a rubber stamp.
    Thus, I wouldn’t worry about Netanyahu. He already promised that he will form a coalition with the Left, so certainly nothing will change.
    Keep calm.

  18. I hope something changes.

    The prospect of the right further annexing, forcing the issue of democracy vs Zionism and in what weight, might result in some improvement for Israelis and Palestinians.

    The prospect of the left successfully negotiating, forcing the issue of annexation vs viable 2-state, might result in some improvement for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Otherwise, continued and escalating hostility is likely. With Hamas possessing rockets that can now reach 20 miles (Beersheba), and can soon likely reach 40 miles (Tel Aviv), war will be urgent.

    When Hamas could only reach Sderot, it was just smart not to live there. When they can shell all of Southern Israel, that is not ignorable, ever.

    If the had the capacity to shell, and CHOSE NOT TO, that would be a basis of trust and peace.

    If they have the capacity to shell, and CHOSE TO, then they initiate war.

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