Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Intense Navel-Gazing at the New Yorker

Apropos uninformed outsiders interfering in serious matters they know nothing about (see my previous post) the New Yorker's David Remnick is on a roll, with the second silly column on Israel-Palestine in two weeks. This time he lambastes Netanyahu, which is a popular pastime among journalists. There's nothing particularly new or insightful in his column, but the degree of his self-absorption is a wee bit overblown. Musing on Obama, he notes that "When it comes to domestic politics in Israel, he is in a complicated spot. For some Israelis on the right, his race and, more, his middle name make him a source of everlasting suspicion."

Uh huh. Let's see. Back in the day, when Anwar Sadaat came to Jerusalem and told the Knesset, in Arabic, that peace would require that Israel return the entire Sinai, it didn't seem to matter much that he had an Arabic name, did it. I seem to recollect that masses of Israelis were swooning all over the fellow. The "No more war, no more bloodshed" part seemed more important than his religion, unless perhaps the two fused into an overpowering climax. It may be true, perhaps, that some Americans are troubled by their president's name or skin color, though not enough to prevent his election, but what does that have to do with Israelis? The Americans have their historical neuroses, and Israelis have different ones, and if Remnick insists on understanding Israelis through the prism of his own society, he should probably stick to writing about things he knows.


NormanF said...

If there is ever an Arab leader who "gets" it, like Sadat did, there can be peace.

That is not possible today. Besides the moral pathology of Palestinian society I mentioned in the last thread, Israel's so-called peace partner, the PA, is composed of men who have no democratic legitimacy, who can't make an agreement their own people would accept and who are merely front men for the extremists in their regime who reject Israel outright.

I should add its not necessary to say anything about the elephant in the room every one studiously ignores, Hamas. David Remnick averts his eyes to the crucial facts presented here. But they - and not Israeli personalities or policy - constitute the greatest obstacles to attaining peace in our own lifetime.

Barry said...


Maybe you should have written, if Remnick insists on understanding Israelis through the prism of his own psychopathology
as I wouldn't lump all Americans under his particular neuroses. :-)

Barry said...


Another ignored pachyderm is that Abbas in 1994 drew up the "curriculum" for inciting the masses to murder.
The denigration of Jews in the classroom and in their media is apparently the "moderate" peace partner's work.

By the way Melanie Phillips has a post A terrible resonance

where she blames the West open incitement to hatred and murder of Jews and Israelis that pours out of the Arab world and the Palestinian Authority (and that’s without even considering Hamas, whose genocidal aims are written for all to see.) Indeed, how can the west draw attention to this incitement: they help fund it.

NormanF said...

Barry, I would add the West tolerates this anti-Jewish incitement because it implicitly approves of it. When you tolerate evil, you get more of it.

And it bears repeating that its not Israel that has prevented peace from arriving in the Middle East.

Victor said...

Maybe someone could forward this to David Remnick.

AKUS said...

Israel is probably the least "race-aware", to coin a phrase, country in the world. Whatever problems Israelis have with Obama's naivete and ignorance about ME affairs, I have never heard anyone talk about his race. He is, in any event, half "European".

AKUS said...

Remick wrote:

“That was the first and last time an Israeli Prime Minister succumbed to an American diktat.”

Far from it. In 1967 Israel halted its activity due to pressure from the UN, and obviously the US played a major role.

In 1973, Israel refrained from destroying the Egyptian 3rd Army in Sinai when Nixon and Kissinger made it clear what the "tag mechir" would be (though they were right, I believe, as it happens - the result was 40 years of peace).

In 1982 or thereabouts, Israel refrained from shooting Arafat in Beirut when America said "no", which was a grievous mistake that led to the deaths of hundreds of Israelis.

Alex Bensky said...

One interesting fact about the president's name is that if anyone in the US refers to it, that is ipso facto evidence of racism and Islamophobia. But I noticed that when speaking to certain foreign audiences, especially in the Middle East, the president himself uses it.

But Yaacov's main point is entirely in order: Israelis have their problems and faults, but I don't think Obama's name or skin color have anything to do with the fact that virtually no one is Israel thinks he likes or is supportive of Israel.

This conclusion is based not on prejudice but on an ample assessment of the available evidence.

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that Obama cannot simply be incompetent. Any criticism of his is racism or some bizarre islamophobia.

I thought this was how the "Israel Lobby" was meant to silence critics


Anonymous said...

AKUS, throw in ending the 1956 war and letting scuds be fired at Israel in the first Gulf War. So many examples


Silke said...

Remnick did that puff piece on Haaretz and Goldberg today quotes a doom-sayer from Haaretz, a believer in the demographic desaster.

Is there a Haaretz-lobby?

also Goldberg in another post praises reporters for their courage (which is undoubtedly justified) but I can't figure out whether he includes Madam Sherwood.