Friday, June 26, 2009

Andrew Sullivan Misses Some Points

Andrew Sullivan doesn't allow comments on his blog.The best you can hope for is that he'll cut a section from a letter you send him, and post it annonymously, as "A reader writes".

Well, yesterday I wrote him, not something I often do. While my readership is but a tiny fraction of his, you folks can see it, no censorship here.


Hi Andrew –

Your link to Mark Lynch is a bit problematic.

Yes, it's likely American pressure is causing Israel to open many roadblocks.

No, it didn't start with Obama. No conceivable American pressure would have made any difference if opening roadblocks had immediately enabled terrorist attacks, as was the case for much of this decade. There has been significant improvement in the PA's ability – and WILLINGNESS – to combat their own thugs; this has enabled Israel to open roadblocks without endangering innocent lives. This Palestinian change of tack should be attributed to their fear of Hamas taking over the West Bank, and also to the efforts of the Bush administration. I realize it will be hard for you to accept that the Bush administration did anything right, but this is a clear case, and it has been discussed in the Israeli media repeatedly over the past year or 18 months – long before Obama was president.

The efforts of the Obama administration, so far, are peculiar. True, pressure on the Netanyahu government is yielding some results. Yet the potential of this pressure, at its greatest, will be to bring the Israeli positions back to where they were when President Clinton dictated his final terms for peace on December 24th 2000, which Israel accepted; probably even that is no longer achievable, since the experience of this decade has taught a broad consensus of Israelis never to accept any significant Palestinian right of return. Meanwhile, even if the Obama administration pushes Israel all the way back to December 2000, the Palestinians – as we all remember, even if you've forgotten – rejected Clinton's diktat. Unless the Obama administration puts massive pressure on the Palestinians to change their fundamental positions, no peace is possible. So far, such pressure is not in evidence.

A comment on the 600 roadblocks Lynch mentions. They don't exist. I wrote about this recently here, but you should look at my post only so as to reach the United Nations report behind it. Even according to their own data, the 600-roadblock story is counterfactual. Or put in simpler language: it's a lie. A widespread lie, true, one repeated so often that many gullible people repeat it thoughtlessly since "it must be true", but it's still a lie. And the propagators either know it (Palestinian and UN), or should know better (Andrew Sullivan).

Finally, I see you're deeply troubled by the claims of the Iranian regime that the CIA shot Neda. I can understand why you're troubled, but I'm mystified by the surprise in your voice. Since when it is news that regimes that are willing to murder people are also willing to lie about it? Isn't that one of the main stories of our age? Yet why should we castigate only the vicious regimes, when even you, Andrew Sullivan, participate in dissemination of a Big Lie about Israel?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sullivan is a hopeless case
he will always go for the romantics in a 19th century German way
the world will be saved etc etc
read his piece on how EVERYTHING will change if only Obama is elected in the Atlantic -
it gave me the shivers and still does whenever I think of it
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/obama

and by the way its title "Good Bye to all that" is the title of Robert Graves' memoirs up to the 1930s whose center part is life in the trenches of WW1 -
the book is such a classic that a former English like Sullivan is sure to know it and to take its title for his hommage to Obama is more than dubious -
in German I would say only an Angeber*) does something like that and as Graves' admirer since childhood I felt personally offended by it.
I would bet on it that Sullivan should need be will only be on Israel's side if it is blameless like a newborn
rgds,
Silke

*) somebody who pretends to be more than he is who adorns himself with other peoples' feathers (schm├╝ckt sich mit anderer Leute Federn)

Gilad said...

I have tried to write Sullivan numerous times in response to his anti-Israel diatribes especially after Operation Cast Lead (he seemed to be a little more tame about it beforehand, but his anti-Israel sentiment really spiraled to hell after that), and, for what it's worth, never got cut and paste into a post of his either. I guess handling responses to your blog that way gives you the luxury of picking and choosing and censoring.