Thursday, April 29, 2010

Religion of Yes

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has always been divisive; now it’s being used as a wedge

Lee Smith
28 April '10

It’s a bright and warm spring Washington afternoon, a climate perfectly suited to a gathering of one of Washington’s most cheerfully sunny organizations, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. With U.S.-Israel relations at an all-time low, and both Washington and Jerusalem facing serious foreign threats, the institute’s 25th-anniversary meeting at the Renaissance Hotel is an optimistic, celebratory affair. With Lebanese lobbyists, Palestinian activists, and Turkish journalists mingling among institution trustees and other interested members of the American Jewish community, the scene in the beige ballroom resembles a gathering of a large extended family.

While the Institute produces sober analyses on a host of regional concerns from Turkey to the Persian Gulf, it is best known as the home away from home of the Arab-Israeli peace process. It is no surprise that the hottest topic of conversation at this family gathering is the seeming apostasy of everyone’s favorite uncle, Aaron David Miller. A former high-ranking State Department official who helped inaugurate the peace process in 1988 as an aide to Secretary of State James Baker and continued to knock Israeli and Arab heads together under President Bill Clinton, Miller just announced in a cover story in the new Foreign Policy that he no longer believes in the peace process. Recalling the hopefulness of the early 1990s and the Oslo process, Miller writes: “America had used its power to make war, and now, perhaps, it could use that power to make peace. I’d become a believer. I’m not anymore.”

Most people in the room don’t know what to make of Miller’s apparent about-face on the single issue that has united the major institutional players in the American Jewish community’s foreign policy establishment from the Washington Institute to American Israel Public Affairs Committee for the past two decades. Combined with the recent vitriolic public attacks on Obama adviser Dennis Ross from outside and within the Administration for his supposed “dual loyalties” and insufficient dedication to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which Ross oversaw under President Bill Clinton, Miller’s article suggests that a watershed moment has been reached in the history of the peace process, which once served to show how American Jews could serve their country while also helping to bring peace to Israel. It has become a dead letter—or, at worst, a wedge to pry Jews out of decision-making positions in the U.S. government and suggest that the interests of the United States and Israel are necessarily opposed to each other.

(Read full article)

If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

No comments:

Post a Comment