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– Israel is shown merely as responding to Obama’s orders, without pointing out that Israel has been trying to get negotiations restarted for 12 years.

– The tone of the letter suggests: Look at us! We’re the good kids! We don’t defend Israel’s past actions, we don’t criticize U.S. policy or the Palestinians! The job of Jewish leaders is to criticize their own side and urge it to be nicer, even if that costs the lives of other Jews (Israelis), while they risk nothing.

– The outrageous reference to “painful territorial sacrifices.” It is revealing of the cringing nature of the letter that this phrase is totally unnecessary, since the letter is about immediate, short-term confidence-building measures and not about a final peace treaty. Why focus on a huge Israeli concession when the issue is just to get talks restarted?

– The word “painful” communicates to me that Israel should have to undergo pain and take risks — while signers of this document won’t even risk criticizing anything that Obama has done toward Israel. In other words, they want Israel to suffer real risks and pain while generally — there are exceptions on the list — they are not willing to themselves suffer the minor pains of being a dissenter to the dominant narrative of the American elite today.

“Painful” in this case should mention that the last time Israel made painful concessions, about 2000 Israelis died from terrorism and the country’s security was badly damaged.

– How can such a letter not mention this Oslo-era experience or Israel’s other sacrifices for peace?

– The letter maintains the absurd approach that first Israel makes painful and risky concessions, and only afterward are the Palestinians required to do so. This suggests the typical anti-Israel narrative that the Palestinian leaders are moderate and want peace, while Israel is the barrier to successful negotiations.

– It openly says that Israel needs to make big concessions, even if the Palestinian leadership gives nothing back.

One thing that is sad about this is that the letter could have been written differently — to support both Israel and show their support for Obama’s new “friendly” policy toward Israel — and I would bet that all the same people would have signed it.

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Top Rated Comments   
I read the first couple of paragraphs of your post. Got the gist of what was coming and just COULDN'T STOMACH what I knew was coming.
Does anybody, including those who write these stupid letters of 'concern' really believe they get read?
I think it is like signing "Save the Whales" petitions, done at a high end cocktail party or gala ball, in front of your peers, solely for social aggrandizement.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (18)
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This post and the ensuing comments just go to serve my theory: American Conservatives love Jews, just not American Jews. Classic projection, how we wish American Jews were rather than how they are. The "self-hating Jew" argument is insulting to Jews everywhere, as if one faction, especially a non-Jewish faction, has the right to define the "good Jew".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When will American Jews learn that the Palestinians have no intentions of living in peace with Israel as a Jewish state, even as every one of Israel's neighbors is a religiously cleansed Muslim state. In addition to 65 years of hard evidence and a steadfast refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist, the Palestinians have been nice enough to put their objectives to wipe Israel off the map and kill Jews IN WRITING. Here's one example:
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp

What is Israel's compromise position supposed to be in any talks with such an adversary?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Barry Rubin is a scholar and a highly moral and upstanding person. So I hope the criticism that follows is not taken personally.

Barry Rubin writes

"I support a two-state solution based roughly on the pre-1967 borders with relatively minor modifications, which is supposedly the same thing the signers want. But — and here’s where the letter misses the point — only based on a real deal which must be based on mutual compromises, an eagerness by both sides to make a lasting peace, and a structure that seems likely to make the peace lasting."

Barry Rubin seems to be advocating Barack Obama's position stated when Benjamin Netanyahu first visited Washington.

The concept of "two states for two peoples" implies that the Arabs who now call themselves Palestinians are a people. The Jewish People ARE a people with a four thousand year history. The Palestinians as a people were invented after the 1967 Six Days War as a tool with which to destroy Israel. Are the Arabs a people? Yes.

From Wikipedia:
"The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 countries and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast.[1] It has a combined population of around 340 million people, with over half under 25 years of age."

This does not include the non-Arab regional Islamic nations of Iran and Turkey.

When are we going to stop repeating the nonsensical statement "two states for two peoples" ?

Let's consider this further. Before the Iranian revolution, Israel had very close relations with Iran. Israel imported most of its oil from Iran and there was a lot of trade and cooperation. Iran also received a huge supply of advanced weaponry from the U.S. Then the Shah was overthrown, and we know the rest. Iran is now Israel's greatest existential threat.

A similar thing happened with Turkey. Before the current Islamist regime took over, Israel had very good relations with Turkey. There was a lot of military cooperation, and Israel sold a lot of advanced weaponry to Turkey. Israel sent teams of rescuers and doctors to help Turkey when they had an earthquake. Now all that goodwill has completed evaporated. It has been replaced with open hate speech by the Turkish leader. How many people predicted that Turkey would revert from many decades of institutionalized secularism to Islamism?

So how, even in the most ideal hypothetical fantastical circumstances of present day peace, can Israel ever trust that a Palestinian state would not revert to Islamism? The reversion to the 1967 borders is suicidal.

But besides that, Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron) is Jewish land. It is the very heartland of the Jewish nation. Israel is a tiny spec on a world map; the Arabs have lands whose area is continental in size.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Anybody with enough money or political clout can proclaim themselves to be a ," Jewish Leader ". Most of these self proclaimed poseurs are actually neither.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They will never accept our existence, full stop.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
These sorts of letters are all too frequent and tedious (no doubt the signers wish/need to express their servility to their political Messiah). I'm sure Obama couldn't care less.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The job of Jewish leaders is to criticize their own side and urge it to be nicer, even if that costs the lives of other Jews (Israelis), while they risk nothing."

Is there a "not" missing from this sentence? As in "The job of Jewish leaders is NOT to criticize their own side...."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I read that sentence as being deeply sarcastic (a "not" is not missing)...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Those Brethren of yours are detached on the actual plight of Israel. Giving away the Land as a piece of meat to silence a growling bully. It won't solve the problem as proven through years of unreciprocated concessions. No Israel, no !!! Islamic culture is: they won't stand on their word. You yourselves can attest to that. The Holy Scriptures stated, time comes you will be pushed back further ...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
J Street is run by Jews who are anti-semiites. Bibi knows what he is doing for the most part. Concessions will not work with the Fakestinians. It has been tried many times and the end result in each case it has led nowhere or has to led increased violence against the Jews/Israel. The letter is asking Bibi to roll over and play dead. When will Jews learn that this does not work, that it is nothing but a pipe dream? The world as it stands today walks all over nice people, especially in the middle east.

If there is a war in the middle east involving Israel, I am sure that I can count on J Street and similar organizations not to back Israel.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tel Aviv 1930
Dear Barry you write:
There’s nothing wrong with the letter’s specified intention to ask Netanyahu to cooperate with President Barack Obama and facilitate confidence-building measures to try to buy a Palestinian Authority willingness to negotiate.
and
I support a two-state solution based roughly on the pre-1967 borders with relatively minor modifications, which is supposedly the same thing the signers want.
It proves, even garnished with assorted ifs, that you also don't get it. May i recommend to you Martin Sherman?
Yours
Ted Siman

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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