Wednesday, April 28, 2010

“The Palestine Peace Distraction,” "The False Religion of Middle East Peace,” And Other Significant Recantations

Marty Peretz
The New Republic
27 April '10

Barack Obama came into office with one messianic mission. It was to bring statehood to the Palestinians. Of course, even he understood that he couldn’t quite put it that way. But statehood for the Palestinians necessarily also meant Palestinian peace with Israel, an aim worthy enough for any American administration. So that became his primary foreign policy mission. Still, the fact is that he saw the shadings of the conflict only through the eyes of the “disinherited.” And they really had nothing much to give in any transaction. Ipso facto, it was from the Jewish state that all the concessions were to be had.

However committed he was to this formula, the president required another rationale to make his pitch sound like a genuine argument. He found it in the security interests of the United States. As it happens, having put the Muslim world at the very center of the American universe through signs and secret signs, he was able to make Israel bear the burdens of our troubles or, rather, to make it responsible for our failures in diplomacy and our casualties on the battlefield. Indeed, Obama may actually believe that this Islamic atrocity or that (or, for that matter, all of them) can be attributable to Zionism, about which he has never, never said a good word.

There is a long (pseudo)realist tradition in American foreign policy that puts the Jews at odds with our national interest. Eisenhower’s foreign policy tutor, John Foster Dulles, thought he could lure Gamal Abdel Nasser away from his Third World revolutionary fantasies if only Israel would not stand in the way. James Baker, who found ample common cause with Saddam Hussein, found the Israelis awfully incompatible. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, about whom I’ve written several times, are the shoddy intellectual heirs to this morally corrupt tradition.

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