01 November '10
On rare occasions it may be appropriate to assert that "everybody is crazy but us."
The risks are considerable. Asylums are crowded with individuals who say the same.
Not everybody but us is crazy. We have friends who admit that they agree with us. And we suspect (or hope) that others who criticize us are doing no more than offering lip service to those who have more votes than we do in international forums.
Several things have spurred these comments.
Most prominently is an editorial in the New York Times that, along with a slight nod in the direction of balance, says that the greater responsibility for the stall in the peace process is the "game playing" of Prime Minister Netanyahu.
"We think the burden is on Mr. Netanyahu to get things moving again. The settlements are illegal under international law, and resuming the moratorium, which expired on Sept. 26, will in no way harm Israel's national interest. . . . President Obama made a very generous -- too generous, we believe -- offer to Israel, to get Mr. Netanyahu to extend the moratorium. . . . Mr. Netanyahu still refused, insisting that the hard-line members of his coalition would never go along. He then added to the controversy by proposing that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. . . . the Israelis cannot bet on the infinite patience of the Palestinian people -- or the international community."
The New York Times columnist Roger Cohen also knows how to add a bit of balance to his op-ed pieces, but has been predictably even more forceful toward Israel than the paper's editorial writers. He accuses the prime minister of "unseemly bartering" with respect to the issue of the settlement freeze. He goes on to ask how can Israel dare stand against the international guarantees provided in a speech by President Obama, and his promise of a Palestinian state by September, 2011 backed up by comments made by representatives of Russia, the European Union and other United Nations member states. Cohen urges the American president to say, " to heck with your coalition, Bibi, bring in Kadima."
Cohen claims that the Palestinians have made clear their position:
"The 1967 borders plus or minus agreed land swaps, meaning a state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital. In return, President Mahmoud Abbas has said, Palestinians will drop all "historical claims" and live alongside a secure Israel in peace."
Cohen may think that this is the Palestinian position, but he has left out the refugees. His piece does not mention them.
That is reason enough to assign Cohen to an asylum, or at least to raise the issue of his ignorance, sloppiness, or inclination to deceive.
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