In the Northern Ring, the Scooter Libby Trial...
Applied Utilitarianism: The Price of Oranges in Berkeley

Israel's Friends and Foes

For no sane reason anybody can think of, Marty Peretz attacks George Soros:

The Spine: I've got a short essay about George Soros, only a faux intellectual, self-corrupted as both an American and a Jew. OK, maybe the point is that he isn't a Jew. So to what extent does he think of himself as an American, he who is so vexed by tribalism and so animated by greed?...

Glenn Greenwald writes on the meaning of Marty Peretz:

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: The Meaning of Marty Peretz: UPDATE: From former TNR writer Spencer Ackerman, responding to Chait:

Jon. You know very, very well Marty, um, isn't really fond of the Arabs. For instance, he likes to flirt with descriptions of Arabs as subhuman. Everyone who works at TNR knows Marty is a racist. Don't make me tell stories. You shouldn't really be contesting this point with Matt. And, if you insist on it, you certainly shouldn't write about how someone else "wants to pretend he doesn't know that's the case."

This is the point. It is common knowledge that Peretz is an anti-Arab bigot. One barely needs to make the case because he makes it himself in almost everything he writes (I only documented it this extensively because Chait was denying it and because if an accusation of bigotry is made, it should be accompanied by proof -- something, incidentally, which Peretz and other casual purveyors of that accusation rarely provide)). Yet this well-known fact doesn't seem to generate many ripples. Peretz's magazine is deemed more or less acceptable and, in most mainstream circles, so is Peretz. The fact that such a well-known bigot can be so accepted in so many places obviously has meaning.... Admiration for Peretz's views of Arabs and Muslims, and a desire for more unrestrained and indiscriminate slaughter in the Middle East, are not unreleated, to put it mildly. That is why tolerance for Peretz is so significant...

Well, I'll tell a--relatively innocuous--story:

I've only seen Marty Peretz up close for any length of time once, at... I think it was the 25th anniversary dinner for Harvard's Social Studies major... in 1990 or so. He and I were at the same table. He dominated the conversation.

He argued that the Israeli government's biggest mistake had been to intervene to prevent Syria and the PLO from overthrowing King Hussein and the government of Jordan at the start of the 1970s. If Yasir Arafat had become president of Trans-Jordanian Palestine, he said, then Israel and Palestine would have been two normal countries with a border dispute. And the border dispute would eventually have been settled as all border disputes are settled, by a combination of border-line adjustments and transfers of populations. I understood this to be a complete buy-in of Likud's annexationist fantasies: that pushing Palestinian Arabs across the Jordan was the way things ought to work, and would eventually work if only the Israeli government was far-sighted enough to plan for it and to grab whatever opportunities history would throw up.

It seemed to me at the time--it seems to me now--that such buy-in to Likud's annexationist fantasies was likely to substantially raise the chance of utter disaster--raise the chance that Tel Aviv becomes a radioactive abattoir (along with Damascus, Baghdad, and Tehran) sometime in the next fifty years. Ariel Sharon decided to put a settlement on every West Bank hilltop where it would have been nice to have a firebase in 1948, thus making Israel not more but less secure. Every day that Israeli settlers sit on the West Bank in Sharon's wanna-be firebases weakens Israel's long-run strategic position. And a mass expulsion of the Palestinian Arab population from the West Bank would be a total strategic disaster for Israel. Yet that is the future that Peretz hoped--and probably still hopes--to see.

The true friends of Israel are trying to loosen not tighten the knot of war. All the cheerleaders for Likud annexationist fantasies--and those who carry water for them and defend them--are not Israel's trues friends.