Every time I think liberals couldn’t be more shallow, they (as Elaine said about Jerry on Seinfeld) take a little more water out of the pool. Shallow (and delusional) thinking seems to most afflict liberals when it comes to Israel and her current prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Today, we have the New York Times’ columnist Roger Cohen, the savant who opined for months about how the Iranian regime was grossly misunderstood by the West, an opinion he held right up until the mullahs started shooting people in the street for protesting a rigged election. Here Cohen praises another deluded Jewish liberal, Peter Beinart:
Peter Beinart’s “The Crisis of Zionism” is an important new book that rejects the manipulation of Jewish victimhood in the name of Israel’s domination of the Palestinians and asserts that the real issue for Jews today is not the challenge of weakness but the demands of power.
“We are being asked to perpetuate a narrative of victimhood that evades the central Jewish question of our age: the question of how to ethically wield Jewish power,” he writes. That power, for 45 years now, has been exercised over millions of Palestinians who enjoy none of the rights of citizenship and all the humiliations of an occupied people.
When Cohen and Beinart say that Israel should use Jewish power “ethically,” they mean in keeping with the American Democratic Party’s agenda of pacifism and appeasement. How many times does it need to be said that the Arabs could “enjoy” the rights of citizenship and their own state if they only accepted Israel’s existence as a Jewish state?
Then Cohen deploys what Michael Kinsley once referred to as the “to be sure” paragraph, where you acknowledge the possibility of an obviously extreme (to liberals) opposing opinion:
Threats persist, of course. The annihilationist strain in Palestinian ideology, present since 1948, has not disappeared. Arab anti-Semitism festers, although at least in Tunisia it’s being debated. Hezbollah and Hamas have their rockets and missiles. Iran has a stop-go nuclear program. Terrorists can strike in New Delhi or Tbilisi.
Threats persist? And the annihilationist strain has not “disappeared” from Palestinian ideology? “Strain” and “has not disappeared” implies that the desire to annihilate Israel is a view held only by a few bitter enders which somehow would disappear if only the intransigent Bibi would bend a little. And who says Iran has a “stop-go” nuclear program? The only time the mullahs paused (briefly) in their effort to get a nuclear weapon is right after 9/11 when they feared that they, rather than Iraq, would be next in line for regime change.
The “greatest danger,”Cohen claims is that Israel, “…will squander the opportunities of power or overreach militarily (Iran) through excess of victimhood, rather than that any imaginable coalition of its enemies will deliver a crippling blow.” Spoken like a truly “ethical” Jew from the relative (for now) safety of London.
And then there’s Leslie Gelb, former Times foreign policy maven:
…But you know, Bibi [Netanyahu], that most times this White House is too nice about saying hard things to you. And maybe you won’t get the message.
Let me spell out what I think President Obama is saying to you: the unprecedented economic sanctions against Iran are already hurting and will hurt a lot more over the next year. Let them bite more. Meantime, the U.S. and Israel are both underlining to Tehran that all options are on the table. (That’s not a trivial phrase from a great power.) Israeli threats won’t reinforce the pressure from the sanctions; they’ll harden Iran’s heart. And we’ll all be heading for an incredibly dangerous war…
Harden Iran’s heart? Where has this genius been since the mullahs took over? Can he present one shred of evidence that the regime has ever responded to any thing but the real threat of force? Then he tells us what he believes American and Israeli intelligence agencies believe.
…Now look at both American and Israeli intelligence judgments:
First, we both estimate that Iran’s leaders won’t surrender to Israel’s threats.
Second, we both reckon that either you reverse your rhetoric or you go to war.
Third, your attacks probably will destroy most of Iran’s nuclear facilities, but these can readily be reconstructed in one to two years—deeper and less vulnerable to future attacks. (Startling, last week, your Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the chief of Israeli military intelligence, stated publicly that Iran already had enough fissile material to build four nuclear bombs in one year. If true, that’s already enough to destroy Israel. So what’s to be gained by your attack?)
U.S. officials are not blind to your tactics to circumvent these joint judgments of reality. One tactic is to convince us the costs of war won’t be so great. Just the other day your defense minister, Ehud Barak, tried to minimize the aftershocks: “There will not be 100,000 dead or 10,000 dead or 1,000 dead. The state of Israel will not be destroyed.” He should not be so certain or so cavalier…
How can Gelb (again from the relative safety of America) be so certain or so cavalier? He too inserts a “to be sure” paragraph:
Israelis are quite right to look on the dark side of things and to worry that it’s getting “too late.” Last week, International Atomic Energy inspectors visited Iran only to be denied access to key Iranian nuclear facilities. The inspectors will return shortly, but can’t be expected to fare much better.
But it is not now or soon “too late.” And we should not permit ourselves to think we’ve run out of time and choices. There can be no doubt that the sanctions are causing ever deeper pain, and no doubt that background military threats reinforce the message. But what’s really needed to round out a plausible policy is a comprehensive U.S. and Israeli proposal that gives Tehran some incentive to compromise and protects Israel’s and America’s vital interests.
Good luck with those comprehensive proposals. When did Iran ever respond to proposals and incentives that we and the Europeans have been making for decades?
Finally, we have the “truther” brigades who believe in preposterous schemes hatched by those crafty Jews to make their innocent would-be murderers look bad:
…Foreign correspondents and their military beat colleagues stationed overseas sometimes drink too much of the local water. Usually their editors catch the nonsense, but sometimes craziness slips through. Thomas Ricks, at the time a military correspondent for the Washington Post, and now a blogger for ForeignPolicy.com, suggested that Israel purposely allowed Hezbollah to launch missiles into northern Israel in order to have an excuse to retaliate. According to Ricks:
“One of the things that is going on, according to some U.S. military analysts, is that Israel purposely has left pockets of Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon, because as long as they’re being rocketed, they can continue to have a sort of moral equivalency in their operations in Lebanon.”
Ricks never named those military analysts; he appeared to simply couch his own bias in made-up sources, and later left the newspaper.
Now, it seems the craziness has spread to former journalists’ commentary about the terrorist attacks on Israeli diplomats in Georgia and India. Genieve Abdo, a long-time correspondent for London’s Guardian, and a frequent contributor to The Economist and New York Times, is now a fellow at The Century Foundation, a progressive think-tank. She has also been affiliated with the National Security Network, a group with close ties to the Obama White House. At the think tank, she no longer has an editor to screen away personal biases, so her radicalism shines through. Yesterday, for example, she told Australian public radio that Israel had bombed its own diplomats in order to have an excuse to blame Iran:
ELEANOR HALL: Iran’s leadership says it’s sheer lies that it’s behind the attacks and that the Israelis have planted the bombs themselves to discredit Iran?
GENEIVE ABDO: Well I think that’s entirely possible. I mean, if you consider what the Israelis did for many years in Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East, that theory is not so farfetched.
What progressive analysis would be complete without obsessing about the dark shadow of a “Jewish lobby?”
ELEANOR HALL: So how dangerous do you think the situation is right now?
GENEIVE ABDO: Well, I think it’s very dangerous. It’s far more dangerous than probably any escalation tension that we’ve seen in 30 years. So, you know, you have the Israelis not willing to live with a nuclear Iran. You have the Iranians going forward with their nuclear program. And you have an American president trying to be re-elected with a Jewish lobby in the United States that’s extremely powerful…
There you have it: It is all the fault of Netanyahu and the “Jewish Lobby” cleverly manipulating dumb Americans into a war to defend Israel. And all of it coming from the left wing, largely Jewish intelligensia.