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Ron Radosh

Andrew Sullivan Formally Joins the Arabist Crowd

June 14th, 2011 - 7:05 pm

Last week,  Eli Lake of the Washington Times reported that “[t]he White House is pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly adopt President Obama’s view that Israel’s pre-1967 borders should be the basis for future peace talks.” As Lake explained, “Mr. Obama’s position would effectively reopen border negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that had been mostly settled in the last round of peace talks that ended in 2008.”

While the Obama administration has given Israel an ultimatum — negotiate with the Palestinians on the basis of the 1967 borders as a starting point - Andrew Sullivan cites a poll to argue that while Americans are pro-Israel, the same Americans who support Obama believe that the president is also.

That isn’t good enough for Sullivan. In an astounding blog post, Sullivan makes it more than clear that in his eyes, the American people are wrong, and that it is time for the United States to put an end to the special relationship with Israel that all American presidents, despite ups and downs, have essentially maintained since Israel’s creation in 1948. “There is no likelihood,” he writes, “that the US will do the logical thing and vote for Palestinian statehood in the UN this fall.”

Why is it logical that the US vote for Palestinian statehood, since the Palestinians, from the start of Israel’s existence, have made it quite clear that they have rejected any chance given them over and over to actually form a state that would live in peace side by side with Israel? Instead of supporting negotiations with the Palestinians that would result in an actual two-state solution, Sullivan accuses the U.S. of being an “enabler of Israeli intransigence.”

In his eyes, there is no intransigence from the Palestinians; only from the Israelis. The Arab Spring, he writes, “is a reckoning for the U.S.-Israel relationship.” Actually, as the crowds demanded the upsetting of rulers who have tyrannized them for decades; they acted without any mention of Israel. Their motivation was local and based on the forces the people considered oppressors. For years, their rulers used Israel as a wedge to keep them from rebelling. It no longer worked.

So Sullivan concludes as follows: “if Israel continues to refuse a 1967-based partition, the US should, in my view, end this dysfunctional relationship, until it can be re-established on saner lines. Ideally, as a warning sign, the US should abstain in September’s vote, unless settlements are frozen and talks begun.”

For Sullivan, then, the burden of making peace rests alone on Israel. Nothing is required of the Palestinians, who have for decades rejected every deal offered them. Of these, Sullivan says not one word. In fact, Jonathan Tobin of Commentary notes that President Obama is ignoring the importance of the Fatah-Hamas agreement, which effectively ends any true partner willing to negotiate a peace with Israel. As Tobin writes:

But rather than draw the obvious conclusion peace will be impossible until Fatah disassociates itself from Hamas, the president and Secretary of State Clinton are proceeding on the false assumption  the PA will return to the talks and accept the concessions Washington is attempting to squeeze out of the Israelis. Instead of seeking to appease the Hamas-Fatah government, Obama and Clinton ought to be warning the Palestinians that the presence of terrorists in a PA administration will legally obligate the United States to put an end to the flow of American aid to the PA.

Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post adds:

So it should not be surprising that Obama wouldn’t dream of threatening the PA, which is instigating the U.N. gambit, for forcing him to exercise the veto. It’s clear why Obama isn’t demanding a repudiation of the unity government as a condition of talks. He plainly finds it much easier to savage Israel than to stand up to the Arabs’ threats. And of course, in his view, Israel is the stronger power, so it must give up more to level the playing field. As [Mark] Dubowitz put it, ‘In the choice between a democratic, pro-American Israel and her enemies, who are also America’s enemies, how many Western leaders have the courage to say what Canada’s prime minister, [Stephen] Harper, said this weekend at his party’s convention: ‘Moral ambiguity, moral equivalence are not options, they are dangerous illusions.’” None, it seems.

Except, of course, for Andrew Sullivan, a man so delusional and so opposed to the only democracy in the Middle East that he sides with the very Arab regimes who, if they had their way, would throw a gay man like Sullivan into jail or put him to his death. A British expatriate, Sullivan clearly still feels at home with the long tradition of the Arabists in Britain, who, from the start, sided with the Arab governments and did all they could to prevent the Jewish state from being born.

At least unlike the J-Street crowd, Sullivan’s hatred for Israel is upfront. Unlike the others, he does not hide his disdain for Israel, and he does not pretend to be advocating a pro-peace, pro-Israeli position. Give him credit, if you can call it that, for honesty.

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