Hertzberg continues with the usual bromides about how Netanyahu represents “the religious Right, Israeli and American.” He tells us that they occupy the West Bank. He attacks Netanyahu for demanding Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state “as a precondition” for negotiations, and for refusing to “negotiate with a Palestinian political entity in which Hamas is represented,” and for refusing to recognize a Palestinian right of return, and for wanting to control the Jordan river, and maintain an undivided Jerusalem.
All of the above, of course, echo the intransigent demands of the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s enemies, and Hertzberg accuses the Israelis of intransigence while not saying one word about how time after time the Palestinians have turned down every magnanimous deal offered by the Israels — most recently, that by Ehud Olmert before he let office.
And even worse — having claimed that Netanyahu represents the religious right — is our own Congress, who showed “mindlessness” and hence “rewarded [Netanyahu] with ovation after standing ovation.” Oh, if only they read the New Yorker and would learn the truth from the great Hertzberg!
Don’t worry, he tells them, the Palestinians “are beginning to discover the possibilities of nonviolence.” And Israel shouldn’t forget how a UN resolution in favor of creation of a Palestinian state “would damage Israel’s legitimacy.” Really? Don’t Israel’s opponents already claim it has no legitimacy, a task made easier for them by the kind of writing Hertzberg offers — ostensibly in Israel’s defense?
Writing in the Canadian paper the National Post, Conrad Black provides a great corrective that would teach Hertzberg a lot, if he is willing to learn. At the G-8 meeting in Paris last month, Black notes that Canada’s new PM Stephen Harper openly contradicted Barack Obama, thereby vetoing the G-8’s approval of Obama’s declaration about peace based on the 1967 borders. Black points out:
The problem with the Obama formula was not the concept of 1967 with land swaps, it was the call for peace to be achieved by “negotiation” between Israel and a party that in 44 years has never ceded a square inch of territory or renounced the right of self-proclaimed Palestinian fugitives from inundating with non-Jews what was established and recognized as a “Jewish state.”
The pre-1967 borders were entirely accidental, and left Israel nine miles wide at its narrowest, and the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem in Arab hands. They had no legitimacy and even the United Nations resolutions called for agreed and defensible borders, and a two-state solution. Israel has accepted a two-state solution and Palestine, its government comprised of both Hamas and Fatah, has not, and has shown no disposition to agree on borders, especially any that Israel could defend. It has been clear for decades that the pattern of international intervention in the Middle East has been to promote tangible and practically irrevocable concessions of land by Israel in exchange for insubstantial, easily and instantly revocable professions of reduced hostility, supposedly culminating in peaceful co-existence, from the Arabs. This is the problem of Land For Peace: Israel cedes the land but gets no closer to peace.
Today, the new self-proclaimed “friends” of Israel like Hertzberg would like Israel to satisfy their demands, made from the comfort of the Upper West Side and Park Slope, where it is so easy for them to tell Israel what is in its very best interests.
Somehow, I don’t think most Israelis are going to take their advice.