Monday, March 28, 2011

Contra Jeffrey Goldberg: Lozowick is an Anti-J Street Blog

Jeffrey Goldberg is angry that Israelis are fuming about J-Street, and has proclaimed on his blog that "Goldblog is a pro-J Street blog". I'm not going to cut and paste any segment of his; you should read it in its entirety. It's a good post, written with the passion of his anger.

I like Jeffrey, personally, and although I don't always agree with everything he writes, I like his blog - actually it's the first one I read every day. Yet in the Jewish spirit of a squabble among friends, I've got to say that Lozowick is an anti-J Street blog.

Since Jeffrey starts with his personal credentials, here are some of mine: I have gone to war for this country. Both of my sons have, too, as we raised them to. I have been in favor of a Palestinian state alongside Israel since the late 1970s. Just for context: back in those days Jeffrey may have been too young to have an informed opinion on the matter; Barak Obama almost certainly was, and for all I can tell, so was Jeremy Ben Ami, the boss of J Street. Also, the late 1970s were more than a decade before the PLO grudgingly began talking about the two-state solution; as late as 1989 their official and practical position was that Israel must be destroyed, preferably by the force of arms.

Also, I have been against the settlements for all those years, and am against them till this very day - though I know the large settlements that straddle the Green line will never be removed, and I'm strongly against the division of Jerusalem which will cause war, not peace. So far as I can tell, these are the positions of a large chunk, and probably a significant majority, of the Israeli electorate; contrary to what Jeffrey seems to think, no-one is shutting my mouth, banning me from saying what I think, or branding me a traitor for saying it. Nor do I need faraway outsiders such as J Street (or President Obama) to inform me what's good for Israel.

I am also a historian of Nazism, and a student of history. I know that words are dangerous things, since they are the tools with which we formulate ideas, and ideas are what motivate people to do things, and justify their actions for them. Persecution of Jews over many centuries was because of anti-Jewish words and the ideas expressed and disseminated in them. Call them a series of Big Lies about Jews. The freedom and equality enjoyed by America's (and these days, by Europe's) Jews are the result of words and ideas. Call them Rational Enlightenment.  The war against Israel is also first and foremost because of words. Because of a new set of a Big Lie.

The Big Lie of our day has a number or versions. The Jews are not a nation and deserve no state. The Jews have no historical rights to the land they call Israel, and even if they do, they're anachronistic and cannot justify harming the Palestinians. The Palestinians have been in their homeland for time immemorial, and were pushed out by the Jews. The Jews continue to aspire to ever more control of the land, and to ever more oppression of the Palestinians. The Jews' way in war is uniquely evil and cruel. The Palestinians yearn for peace, but the Israelis refuse to allow it, because they haven't finished taking Palestinian land, or because they don't recognize the Palestinians as equally human. The Jews protect their nefarious projects through sinister control of power-brokers, most importantly the United States.

One of the odder parts of the story is of course that the most important propagators of this Big Lie are not only Jews, they're Israelis. No one persecutes them for their malice: we're not Islamists, not Arab dictators, not Argentinian generals or Bolshevik commissars or Gestapo or anything of the sort.

Do Jeremy Ben Ami and his J Streeters believe in the full set of lies? No. But remember, the Knesset member who lead the hearing against him last week, Otniel Shneller, is from Kadima, not Likud; moreover, he's a settler who openly espouses the dismantling of settlements - probably including his own - if that's the price for peace. What distinguishes him from Ben Ami, therefore, isn't the idea of partition and dismantling settlements; what distinguishes them is the idea that Israel is the reason there's no peace; that pressure must be brought to bear on Israel to force it out of Palestinian territories; and also, alas, Israeli willingness to use force to protect its interests.

In other words, what distinguishes Otniel Shneller from Jeremy Ben Ami is that Ben Ami and his organization agree with parts of the Big Lie about Israel, and promote it. If in response a significant segment of Israeli society wishes to ostracise him and his organization, this seems to me a moderate and measured response.

In his final sentence Jeffrey seems to be saying that there are many American Jews attracted to J Street's message. This may be true - I'm too far away to judge. If so, it's a serious problem - first and foremost, of those American Jews who prefer the Big Lie to the Jewish State.


Silke said...

Jeffrey Goldberg didn't mention the cheering leering crowd whenever Roger Cohen and his co-discussers sneered at Israel. (second part of Nycerbarb's video)

If that is Zionist and if that is the equivalent to what Ben Gurion and the others he quotes says then so be it. I have a problem with understanding "isms" in general but that crowd during that discussion was not salivating for the welfare of people living in Israel.

They were into congratulating themselves on being sophisticated witty know-betters.

And Goldberg's reference to the finances of JStreet comes, given his honest sounding furor when it first broke more than lame, like what we call a Lässliche Sünde i.e. an inconsequential sin. I think finances never are and whose money you take whose song you sing.

Barry said...

Seeing that you mention the "Big Lie" I can ask if you've seen this video of Jacques P. Gauthier, a Canadian jurist, making the case for Jerusalem belongs to Jews in International Law ?

Bruce said...

Thanks for this, as someone (an American Jew) who admires both you and Jeffrey Goldberg very much.

Saul Lieberman said...

J Street advocates positions which advance the comfort of J Street’s members in America, at the expense of Israel. That non-Zionist motivation distinguishes J Street from wrong-headed Zionists.

In Jeff Goldberg’s interview of Ben Ami in June, Ben Ami explained that J Street’s members’ stake in what happens is Israel derives from the fact that the world's perception of Israel affects the lives of J Street members. He also explained that the rift identified by Beinart between Israel and the Diaspora was better understood as the difference between those who view Israel as the most important thing in the world and those [liberal Jews, including J Street] who do not. [see, 19 min and 44 minute marks]

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

How long until someone will quote your paragraph 6 leaving off the first sentence?


Yaacov said...

Nycerbarb -

Back in the 80s I published my first academic article; something about Nazis murdering Jews. A few months later someone showed me I had been cited in a publication of Holocaust deniers, who cherry picked some words I'd written and slashed some sentences, then wrapped the concoction with the comment that "Even this Lozowick fellow, who works at Yad Vashem, says that...".

Anonymous said...

There you go.


PetraMB said...

Hmh, Yaacov reads Goldblog first thing in the blogoshpere, I read Ruminations first thing in the blogosphere...

nadine said...

I think Jeffrey Goldberg sees J Street as sticking up for Shimon Peres' dream of a New Middle East, which he shares; therefore he is angry at attacks on J Street. But the whole thing is incoherent. How can he call J Street Zionist? If J Street were Zionist, NIAC and George Soros wouldn't be funding it.

You don't have to accuse J Street of singing every note to order; just give NIAC and Soros credit for brains enough to understand if J Street is the kind of organization they like, or not.

Sylvia said...

I don't know what's all the fuss about. Why can't he be pro-JStreet? I am not pro-settlement yet I am labeled a rightist. Does he owe us anything? He owes only to himself and his paper.
I enjoy reading him despite his anachronisms.
This antagonistic attitude is not helpful.

Has anyone read -actually read - the mission statement of the Third Intifada page on Facebook.
I translated it manually and trust me, it doesn't look good.
My opinion on the matter is that we shouldn't be taken off guard when it happens. It should be thoroughly discussed. This is very very serious.

NormanF said...

The reason there is no peace has nothing to do with Israeli personalities, policies or where Jews live in their homeland.

It has to do with Arab opposition to the existence of a Jewish State of any size or shape and the virulent Jew hatred in their society that is used to reinforce that consensus.

Where we part company, Ya'acov, is that I don't believe the settlements are the obstacle to peace. Jews living peacefully alongside Arabs is not the problem as the Israeli Left and much of the world contends.

If a single Jew never went to live in Yesha or in east Jerusalem - there would still be no peace.

You and the Israeli Left managed to get every last Jew evicted from Gaza to show the Arabs peace was possible with land being cleansed - made "Judenfrei" - with Israel's open connivance. There was still no peace.

And the truth is the problem the Arabs have is not that Jews are building homes in cities and villages in the biblical cradle of their country. Its that the Jews exist in the first place.

Thankfully, the majority of Israeli Jews are coming to around to understanding that being "nice" to the Arabs will never produce peace. Only insisting on Jewish rights may lead to that - one day in the future.

nadine said...

@Sylvia, like any commentator, Jeffrey Goldberg owes us intellectual coherence, and we can criticize him if we think he's not providing it.

@Moshe, I believe Hamas takes fighters from the age of 16 up, as well as using younger children as scouts, rock and grenade throwers, etc. Naturally, all these young combatants count as "children" to Amnesty et. al. if they get hurt or killed.

Y. Ben-David said...

I read Goldberg's piece, and I see he falls into the usual trap the Israeli and Zionist Left fall into...that they think they "own" Israel and Zionism. Goldberg claims that Ben-Gurion opposed "occupying Arabs" (but he also opposed dividing Jerusalem and he supported settlements in places like HEVRON) so therefore that is the last word on the subject. Goldberg claims that since J-Street opposes "occupation" and Ben-Gurion also supposedly opposed "occupation" (our Arab friends will say that he substituted "Nakba" for "occupation") therefore J-Street is "Zionist" the same way BG was.
The only problem is that neither Ben-Gurion nor the Labor Party nor the rest of the Zionist Left own Israel or Zionism. Israel is owned by THE JEWISH PEOPLE. Their views are approximately voiced in election results and the formation of government coalitions based on those election results. Election results since 1967 (and not just 1977 when the Likud came to power) have repeatedly elected governments that support settlement in Judea/Samaria to a greater or lesser degree (I think Yaacov would agree with that point). J-Street has NO RIGHT to try to undermine Israeli government policy by lobbying foreign governments to pressure Israel by use of boycotts, condemnation in the UN and such. That is anti-Zionism. They are claiming "the ends justify the means". Well, they don't. Thus, to me J-Street is an anti-Israel organization and an enemy of the State of Israel and I have no doubt Ben-Gurion would agree with me on that and not Goldberg.

Irvin A. Mermelstein said...

Perhaps Jeffery Goldberg, whom I read every day and believe is a very smart man, just doesn't like a politician using the Knesset to beat up a group of Jews with opinions (even if somewhat misguided ones, in MY opinion).

But even if Goldberg (did I mention that I think he is smart?)defends J Street, I won't. I think they are Jews who are ashamed of who they are and what Israel does to continue to exist.

On this point, Lozowick knows what he is talking about. And on this particular point, and rarely, Goldberg doesn't.

Barry Meislin said...

All this is very entertaining.

But why speculate about what's in the chopped liver?

Let's be scientific! Let's run THE TEST.

What's THE TEST?, you ask.

I'm glad you asked.

In fact, I'm very glad you asked.

No, THE TEST is not chopped liver.

It's not even kasha varnishkhes.

It's not even my grandmother's apple strudel.

THE TEST is this:

That Jeffrey Goldberg should stand up smack in the middle of a J-Street conference and state loudly and firmly the following:


(Oh, and maybe he should bring a decibel meter. You know--- scientific.)

Silke said...

Jeffrey Goldberg rants against too devoted to the cause settlers but he shrugs off truly disgusting cheering crowds at JStreet. That's not a behaviour I build trust on.

I largely dismiss Max Hastings since I know he has an Israelbug i.e. if somebody has such a warped worldview in one area, how can I trust him with the rest except for verifiable facts.

If somebody writes it is the whole person who does so. In private life I wouldn't trust somebody who smiles to my face and badmouths me behind my back, so why should I trust a writer who kind of does the same. That Goldberg is quite often amusing to read and can at times be perceptive. OK but trustworthy no.

BTW I doubt that Goldberg is so very very intelligent. He is a good writer, that isn't necessarily proof of very high intelligence.

The same about Beinart. He seems to be still peddled as a great intellectual. He underwhelms me. His famous still talked about peace was an emperor with no clothes IMHO

Which reminds me that when I was in school kids who wrote the best essays (Aufsätze) more often than not were not the genuinely smart ones.

and last but not least:

the IDF has a video up about the Iron Dome - very dull to watch and very uplifting at the same time

Sylvia said...

Nadine an opinion is not Torat Moshe miSinai. It can change the other way too. It can be nuanced. What I am saying is DON'T BURN THE BRIDGE. Don't push him in yet a farther corner with sweeping condemnations.

What is very clear is that JStreet is lining up their political stance with the Palestinian (official) view and therefore are NOT pro-Israel. When they say they're pro-two state they mean return to the 67 insecure "line" which will condemn both sides to perpetual war. Actions speak louder than words and that is what they indicated when they called for Obama to vote against Israel at the UN. Not to mention their campaign to oppose sanctions on Iran which Goldberg seems to have forgotten.

A pro-Israel stance would be two states with negociated secure, defensible borders. There is a big difference.

Ben Ami's provocations every time he comes to Israel are never reported. G. has only JStreet side of the story. Goldberg has no way of knowing that here Ben Ami acts like a bully (albeit a polite and composed one). His contempt for government institutions is infuriating. You can't expect a Prime Minister to drop all his prior engagements to receive you because you just happen top be in the neighborhood. And then complain that he refuses to receive you. Yet, Ben Ami does that every time.

Again, leave the door open. I expect he'll realize what they are sooner than later.

Yaacov said...

Sylvia -

I assure you I'm not pushing Goldberg into any corners. On the contrary, I e-mailed him yesterday to keep our lines open, and they are.

Silke said...

Something tells me that I'd better be not hopeful that the outcome of not telling Goldberg in no uncertain terms is going to be what you hope for.

If Goldberg doesn't know how Ben-Ami behaves in Israel, who is to know? After all he tells me all the time that he knows all about Israel. He should have enough friends and acquaintances, knows Hebrew? knows Arabic? and so on and so on - no the ignorance card doesn't trump for him.

Beinart is now a cherished and wooed "in-between" for how long? His much discussed and praised soufflé of an essay must have been published almost a year ago.

If there is a pro-Israel line in the middle Goldberg reads for an outsider like myself as just barely still on the pro-side.

To take decisions is adult behaviour as is to keep the door open for anybody who wants to reverse the decision but to allow people to waver endlessly and reap the benefits of being loved by both sides i.e. eat the cake and keep it is not conducive to giving the rest of the world a clear picture.

As an example: after Yaacov's initial post I had no clear picture whether Netanyahu was right or wrong in not receiving him. After listening to Nycerbarb's video and that lusting for you know what crowd I found my place.

(and of course I know that I don't count but my experience is that I tend to feel like Lieschen Müller and so I assume I am not alone)

Sylvia said...

Saul Lieberman
"He also explained that the rift identified by Beinart between Israel and the Diaspora was better understood as the difference between those who view Israel as the most important thing in the world and those [liberal Jews, including J Street] who do not."
JStreet do'nt see Israel as the most important thing in the world? Is that why they made Israel their only raison de vivre?

I am repeatedly baffled by those Jews who don't care about Israel, yet make it their majort worry at their every waking moment. Can anyone explain to me why they just don't go on with their lives and just forget about it?

Y. Ben-David said...

MJ Rosenberg said it best and said it openly: He fears the next 9/11 (G-d forbid) will be directed at him because the terrorists will assume that all Jews support Israel. That's why virutally all his ranting at TPMCafe is against Israel and prominent people who he considers "Islamophobes"...he wants to show that he is one of the "good" Jews and so they will then leave him alone. I repeatedly asked him if he is indeed correct and the "Islamphobes" are wrong and Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims would never harm innocent people, then what is it he is afraid of? I have never received an answer from him.

Barry Meislin said...

Can anyone explain to me why they just don't go on with their lives and just forget about it?

Oh that's pretty simple:

The entire philosophical underpinning of their moral universe, that is, their highest moral imperative---that is, Tikkun Olam---is informed by GIGO.

And since they do not---they cannot---acknowledge the GI part of their ethical worldview, they are fated---reduced---to spouting GO as their ethical conclusions.

As their highest goal.

As the world's most elevated aspiration.

Kind of like they've all become the braying, preening, comical ass of "Midsummer Night's Dream".

(Alas, not that comical.)

But they really cannot be faulted. Many if not most of them are good people. Lovely people. Loving people.

Their consciences---their entire sense of morality---are based on carefully and deliberately induced falsities, repeated on a massive scale.

And so, their view of that highest of all goals---Tikkun Olam---is based on a conscience perverted by false information.

Essentially, they have become slaves to this "higher" falsity.

And since they are not aware of it, they must perforce react angrily when you even hint that this is the case.

As I mentioned, they are, essentially, not responsible for it.

(Though the question of "free will" complicates the picture....)

File under: "Bottoms Up!!"

Barry said...


Jeffrey Goldberg can be pro-JStreet all he wants to be but his writing is tendentious in its incitement to dislike if not hatred of Israelis.
And as Melanie Phillips points out in this interview on Channel 11 how British media incites to mass murder
so does the writing of Goldberg fan the flames especially among those East and West Coast types - JVP, rabbis for Soros ...

Anonymous said...

This note is from a J Street supporter.

Yaacov, I found your blog through Goldberg's, and have always enjoyed your perspective. As soon as Jeff posted, I knew it was only a matter of a few days before he aired one of your dissenting views, so I thought I would skip the wait and find it myself.

I enjoy your blog because it expresses a center-right position (forgive that characterization if you see yourself otherwise; placing others along a spectrum inevitably says as much about the subject as the object) that eschews conspiracy theories or ad hominem attacks. You're also a clear and expressive writer.

Obviously, as a J Street supporter, I disagree with much of this. I wanted to push back on a specific point.

You illustrate versions of the "Big Lie," which you capitalize. Given this label, and the context which you provide - Nazi Germany - we readers are to understand that you are referring to fundamentally antisemitic beliefs, which are immune to reason. (The most generous possible reading of these beliefs would be to ascribe them to "new antisemitism," which is so obsessed with Israel that at times its practitioners don't even seem to realize they are grounded in a fundamentally racist outlook.)

Belief in the "Big Lies" as you define them even transcends the political, because it is ultimately belief about the nature of a people rather than a political dispute. Up to this point, I think we're in agreement.

I sense a disconnect, however, between Big Lies and J Street's position, and I think the onus is on you to provide that connection. After all, accusing people or an organization of a fundamentally racist viewpoint is a serious charge.

In your post as currently written, you circle around this connection a couple of times, without explicitly making it. You begin to approach the needed connection at "Do Jeremy Ben Ami and his J Streeters [that's me!] believe in the full set of lies? No." and finish in the next paragraph - yet at no point do you really answer the implication of your own rhetorical question. You cannot ascribe to us the full weight of Big Lies, but you feel comfortable giving us a big chunk, because...why? You accuse, but where is your evidence?

I believe you fail here because you cannot make the connection, and I believe you cannot make the connection because it doesn't exist.

J Street the organization has been in existence since 2008, just barely preceding the most recent Knesset elections. Since then, it has often been at odds with the Netanyahu coalition.

I'm sure you'll agree that this alone, however, is not proof that J Street subscribes to part of the "Big Lie." Last I checked, Tzipi Livni has also spent the last three years hounding Netanyahu - surely, though, she does not believe in the Big Lie. You rightly note that Otniel Shneller is a member of Kadima, her party. He certainly does not believe in the Big Lie, or take orders from anyone who does.

Livni and Shneller have hounded the Netanyahu coalition because they have major policy disagreements. My challenge to you is to illustrate for me, a J Street supporter, why J Street's three years of disagreement are qualitatively different than Livni's and Shneller's. What is it about J Street that causes you to believe that their objection to Israeli policy is rooted in a rejection of Israel, rather than a simple disagreement over policy?

I truly don't believe you can successfully answer that question; and by extension, I believe your position as an anti-J Street blog is based on a number of unexamined assumptions on your part, driven (I suspect) by the company you keep. The comments to this post are Exhibit A.

Eagerly awaiting your response.

Yaacov said...

J Street supporter,

Next time, please leave an identifier. We don't need your social security number, but a recognizable moniker that distinguishes you from other "anonymouses" would be nice.

I regard myself as scrupulously centrist, not center right, and think I can back that up with evidence, but it's not very important.

Your push-back comes after a number of similar e-mail I got today, though yours is a bit more thoughtful. I'll indeed be responding.

Silke said...

since I am one of those making "unexamined assumptions" as you claim - so please explain the ugly deriding laughter I got from the public cheering that panel discussion on following Dennis Ross presentation.

The sound of that laughter and applause rings in my ears and it doesn't credit you and your organisation.

And while I am at it: where are satisfying explanations for your organisation keeping Soros support under the radar and what about that Hongkong-Racing track?

One thing is for sure from all I have seen and heard about you you don't strike me as nice considerate people.

Sylvia said...

Y. Ben David

"he wants to show that he is one of the "good" Jews and so they will then leave him alone."

There was an Algerian Jew named Daniel Timsit (indigenous to the region as his name indicates). He also wanted to show the Algerians revolutionaries that he was a "good Jew" - unlike the others sitting on the fence - and participated actively in the Algerian revolution. He actually prepared explosives and was a regular terrorist for the FLN.
This didn't help him a bit. With the independence in 1962, he was kicked out by the "socialist" Algerian revolution just like all other Jews by constitutional act - which required a Muslim grandfather as prerequisite for Algerian citizenship. He was tried in France and died just a few years ago.
This is only one of countless examples Americans (most of whom are of Ashkenazi descent) know nothing about because their experience has been with Christians and never with Muslims. So I can't say it is his fault. It is the fault of those of us who do not share this kind of information.

Sylvia said...


"Goldberg doesn't know how Ben-Ami behaves in Israel, who is to know? After all he tells me all the time that he knows all about Israel. He should have enough friends and acquaintances, knows Hebrew? knows Arabic? and so on and so on - no the ignorance card doesn't trump for him."

You can know all that and read the Hebrew papers and all and still if you don't live in Israel miss the little pieces that clarify the big picture. One example, there are many more: you hear on radio that there were some arrests in E. Jerusalem and that two who provided weapons were former employees of the British Consulate in East Jerusalem. Then a blackout on those two and their connection to the British Consulate What is likely to have happened is that the Embassy's lawyer quickly filed a gag order. This happens all the time.

Sylvia said...

I don't know much about American affiliations but I was under the impression that Tikkun Olam is a religious concept associated (other than the Kabbalah) with Reconstructionism. Is that not so?

Carrie said...

Where did you see those videos? Do you have a link?

Anonymous said...

American politicians are now distancing themselves from anything J Street for fear of being associated with their radical politics. J Street is a failure.

Silke said...

I got it from Nycerbarb and the earlier J-Street thread and she? is right, it is about 43 minutes in - The first part seems to be the Dennis Ross address which I didn't watch - but while I'm at it they also had quite a bit of fun remarking that Dennis Ross didn't stay around for their precious panel, so I assume Ross had said some sensible things.

and here's the direct link

Draper said...

J-Street is not pro-peace, but rather for Israel to end the occupation and settlements, knowing neither will result in peace.

They're not even a liberal organization, as they quite deliberately defend/support the PLO/Hamas with both their silence (never criticizing them) and taking their positions (in demonizing Israel and dehumanizing Israelis). And BTW, Yaakov is a liberal, not center right. Unlike J-Street he doesn't fear criticizing the 3rd world far Right, like Hamas, Hezbollah and their Syrian and Iranian masters. J-Street's advocacy is based on 3rd world far rightwing anti-Israel, anti-American ideology.

Lastly, Levy's comments prove it's not a Zionist organization (he admitted months ago Israel was a mistake in 1948 in addition to his recent comments).

Barry Meislin said...

I think it's the height of chutzph that Israel will accept American dollars (loads of it, at that, oh yes!) but they then turn around and refuse to accept that Americans can lie about and slander Israel, particular when these lies and slanders are in Israel's highest interest.

Can you imagine? These selfless American Jews are intentionally impugning their own credibility "for Zion's Sake"!!!

Destroying whatever shreds of honor they have for their brethren in Israel!!

And what is the Israeli response?

Bupkes! Criticism (and they sure do know how to criticize, yes, they are experts when it comes to that!)! Total lack of empathy! Utter ingratitude!

It will come around to bite them---as the prophet Ovadiah says. Israel's sheer ingratitude at such acts of selflessness---of CHESSED!!---is monstrous. Unfathomable.

It makes me so ashamed, I tell you.... If my grandmother of sainted memory only knew....

Barry said...


Seeing I'm Barry here's my pennies worth, but you are most probably addressing Barry M.

Tikun Olam, after that pseudo rabbi Lerner got hold of it, is just another cliché, just like "Human Rights"and the other varied rhetorical clubs to push the agenda.

Justme said...

J-Street supporter's bias of viewing Yaakov as right-wing is symptomatic of a much deeper problem.

At this rate, standing up for a majority Jewish Israel based on the 1930s Peel Commission borders will be considered an extreme right-wing position in a few years.

The more J-Street sticks up for Iran, Goldstone, and other shady characters, while at the same time knocking the democratically-elected government in Israel, the more vitriol it will deservedly receive from people who understand this NGO's agenda.

Justme said...

One more irony - if Hamas and the PLO were to run for elections in a Western country, they would deservedly be classified as ultra-right wing extremists.

But of course, in our cynical world where Bibi freezes settlements and goes further to the Left than even Peres and Rabin, the Palestinians are "moderates" to be negotiated with while it's those hard-liners in Israel who are the stumbling blocks.