Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Israel's Other Existential Threat

Jeffrey Goldberg in the NYT, circa 2008:
I am not wishing that the next president be hostile to Israel, God forbid. But what Israel needs is an American president who not only helps defend it against the existential threat posed by Iran and Islamic fundamentalism, but helps it to come to grips with the existential threat from within. A pro-Israel president today would be one who prods the Jewish state - publicly, continuously and vociferously - to create conditions on the West Bank that would allow for the birth of a moderate Palestinian state. Most American Jewish leaders are opposed, not without reason, to negotiations with Hamas, but if the moderates aren't strengthened, Hamas will be the only party left.
The people of AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents are well-meaning. But what's needed now is a radical rethinking of what it means to be pro-Israel. Barack Obama and John McCain, the likely presidential nominees, are smart, analytical men who understand the manifold threats Israel faces 60 years after its founding. They should be able to talk, in blunt terms, about the full range of dangers faced by Israel, including the danger Israel has brought upon itself. But this won't happen until AIPAC and the leadership of the American Jewish community allow it to happen.

As Matt Zeitlin correctly points out, the gap between the "Chait/Wieseltier/Goldberg wing and the Yglesias/Beinart/Ackerman/Klein wing of the American Jewish punditocracy" simply isn't that large, and I'm perplexed at efforts -- by anybody, from either side -- to exaggerate it.

1 comment:

joe said...

Tangent: What could possibly give the impression John McCain is smart and analytical?