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Jeffrey Goldberg Talks About How AIPAC (and Richard Cheney, and the New Republic, etc.) Are Anti-Israel

It is a nice article:

Israel’s ‘American Problem’: WHEN the prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, arrived at a Jerusalem ballroom in February to address the grandees of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations... he was pugnacious, as is customary, but he was also surprisingly defensive... scattered about the audience were Jewish leaders who considered him hopelessly spongy — and very nearly traitorous — on an issue they believed to be of cosmological importance: the sanctity of a “united” Jerusalem, under the sole sovereignty of Israel.

These Jewish leaders, who live in Chicago and New York and behind the gates of Boca Raton country clubs, loathe the idea that Mr. Olmert, or a prime minister yet elected, might one day cede the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem to the latent state of Palestine... places like Sur Baher, Beit Hanina and Abu Dis... that the Conference of Presidents could not find with a forked stick and Ari Ben Canaan as a guide. And yet many Jewish leaders believe that an Israeli compromise on the boundaries of greater Jerusalem — or on nearly any other point of disagreement — is an axiomatic invitation to catastrophe.

One leader, Joshua Katzen, of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, told me, “I think that Israelis don’t have the big view of global jihad that American Jews do, because Israelis are caught up in their daily emergencies.” When I asked him how his Israeli friends responded to this, he answered: “They say, ‘When your son has to fight, you can have an opinion.’ But I tell them that it is precisely because your son has to fight that you have a harder time seeing the larger picture.”

When I spoke to Mr. Olmert... he was expansive, and persuasive, on the Zionist need for a Palestinian state. Without a Palestine — a viable, territorially contiguous Palestine — Arabs under Israeli control will, in the not-distant future, outnumber the country’s Jews. “We now have the Palestinians running an Algeria-style campaign against Israel, but what I fear is that they will try to run a South Africa-type campaign against us.”... This is why he, and his mentor, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, turned so fiercely against the Jewish settlement movement, which has entangled Israel unnecessarily in the lives of West Bank Palestinians... today, the settlements are seen, properly... as the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority democracy....

There are some Jews who would be made anxious by Mr. Obama even if he changed his first name to Baruch and had his bar mitzvah on Masada. But after speaking with him it struck me that, by the standards of rhetorical correctness maintained by such groups as the Conference of Presidents and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, Mr. Obama is actually more pro-Israel than either Ehud Olmert or Ehud Barak.... This is an existentially unhealthy state of affairs... what Israel needs is an American president who... 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.... And the best way to bring about the birth of a Palestinian state is to reverse — not merely halt, but reverse — the West Bank settlement project. The dismantling of settlements is the one step that would buttress the dwindling band of Palestinian moderates in their struggle against the fundamentalists of Hamas.

So why won’t American leaders push Israel publicly? Or, more to the point, why do presidential candidates dance so delicately around this question? The answer is obvious: The leadership of the organized American Jewish community has allowed the partisans of settlement to conflate support for the colonization of the West Bank with support for Israel itself... unthinking American support does hurt Israel.

The people of Aipac and the Conference of Presidents are well meaning, and their work in strengthening the overall relationship between America and Israel has ensured them a place in the world to come. But what’s needed now is a radical rethinking of what it means to be pro-Israel.... But this won’t happen until Aipac and the leadership of the American Jewish community allow it to happen.

Three quibbles:

  • First of all, Obama's first name is Baruch. To say "some Jews... would be made anxious by Mr. Obama even if he changed his first name to Baruch.." makes exactly as much sense as to say "some Welshmen... would be made anxious by Mr. Cameron even if he changed his first name to David..."
  • Second, the leaders of AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents are playing some psychological game by which they take steps that harm the long-run security of Israel just so that they can feel that they are good strugglers. They are not well meaning--except to the degree that people who are delusional and psychotic are "well meaning".
  • Third, the "leadership of the organized American Jewish community" has not "allowed the partisans of settlement to conflate support for the colonization of the West Bank with support for Israel itself." It has led the conflation. Sane American policy toward Israel will not happen until AIPAC and the current leadership of the American Jewish community are marginalized and replaced.

But Jeffrey Goldberg has revealed himself as a mensch.

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