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Ron Radosh

Writing in today’s New RepublicJohn B. Judis once again shows how little he knows about the situation in the Middle East, and about which party is responsible for the forthcoming failure of the so-called “peace process.” About the only point about which he is correct is the one stated in his headline: “John Kerry’s Peace Process is Nearly Dead.”

Judis, as in his recent book Genesis: Truman, American Jews and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict (which I wrote a negative review of here), proves that he is seeking to present himself as an expert on policymaking in the Middle East, so that he can add to the chorus of those seeking to delegitimize and attack Israel as the sole power responsible for lack of movement towards peace in the region.

The truth is, as Jennifer Rubin points out, that President Obama was carefully orchestrating the talks to be able to paint Israel as the power that was obstinate, having attacked Israel before the talks while painting Mahmoud Abbas as a man of peace. As she writes: “In fact, Abbas last year forced out the only true Palestinian reformer Salam Fayyad, has refused to hold elections and occupies the presidency beyond the legally allotted term.” Moreover, he has agreed with the claim that Palestine will never give up “the right to return,” which would mean that Israel would be all Palestinian, as any Palestinian, even those born recently, could return to present-day Israel and take back the homes they claim were once theirs.

Abbas has also made it clear that the Palestinians will not accept Israel as a Jewish state. Already, Obama’s loyal troops in the Jewish community — in particular J-Street — have demanded that the Israeli government give up that demand. Its president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, wrote a letter to his supporters arguing that the issue of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state must not be raised by Israel, and if Israel does insist on this, Israel alone will be responsible for failure of the process. He echoes John Kerry, whom he quotes as saying that the issue of a Jewish state cannot be made into “the critical decider of their attitude towards the possibility of a state and peace.”

Judis also makes this claim, revealing how little he knows about the issues. He writes that Netanyahu has made what he calls “the new demand” for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, made only so that “the Palestinians would reject it and that he could then blame the failure of the talks on them.” Here, as Rick Richman points out, he is only repeating what the New York Times previously argued, “that recognition of a Jewish state is a new issue, allegedly raised by Netanyahu to prevent peace.”

But Judis and the anti-Israel New York Times are wrong. Judis, clearly, does not know that Dennis Ross has said that when he was negotiating with the Palestinians during the Clinton administration, that issue was part of the negotiations. Earlier this month, Ross said the following in a talk titled “Israel, America and the Middle East:Challenges for 2014”:

When I hear it said that this is the first time this issue has been raised — the people who say that think that no one knows history. Now maybe it’s true that most people don’t know history. But they should never say it to me. When we were at Camp David, this issue was raised. In the period after Camp David, before we did the Clinton Parameters, this issue was raised. This issue has been raised for obvious reasons. From the Israeli standpoint, there is a need to know that the Palestinians are committed to two states, meaning in fact that one state is Palestinian and one is the state of the Jewish people. They need to know the Palestinians are not about two states, one Palestinian and one bi-national.

Ari Shavit, author of the best-selling My Promised Land:The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, has also beautifully stated the need for acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. Shavit, a man of the Israeli left, writes in Haaretz “that it is the most natural and justified demand imaginable.”  To this day, he writes, “the Palestinian national movement refuses to see the Jewish people and recognize in this way its right to a Jewish state.” Their refusal to do so, he points out, is what is responsible for the 100-year war “between them and us.”

It is Israel that now recognizes the need for a Palestinian state, and as a man of the left, he argues that they indeed have “legitimate rights.” Israelis know there is another people living in the land they share, while it is the Palestinians who have not and will not recognize that right for the Jews. As for the “right of return,” Shavit accurately notes that no Palestinian leader dares tell his people that in fact they will never return to the villages and cities they lost in the 1948 war. The Jewish people, he sarcastically writes, “is a people of this land, and it did not arrive here from Mars.” The Jews of Israel, he writes, “are not colonialists but legal neighbors.”

And that point brings me back to the reprehensible John B. Judis. He believes, contrary to historical fact, that Zionism is a “settler-colonialist” movement, and that it was created in order to oppress the Arabs and to take the land from them that was rightfully theirs. His entire book is based on the premise that Israel should not have been created. No wonder he supports what Shavit calls a one-sided peace process, in which “Israel gives and the Palestinians receive.”

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One can quite reasonably argue that the founding of Israel as a Jewish state was a mistake. More reasonably one can argue that the issue was forced by the Holocaust and the post-WWII dismantling of the British Empire. However most reasonably of all one can say "Hey, s*** happened!" and try to accurately and honestly look at the FACTS of history in the area.

The Zionists moved in under Ottoman and British empire rules and legally and lawfully bought land and settled, and then what with one thing and another war broke out in 1948, in 1967, in 1974, and as many other times as you care to name counting each terrorist attrocity anew. All previous claims are erased by blood in such events.

To summarize for those who haven't the time to read actual histories, the Arabs have been vile and violent throughout the process, from the 19th century right through today. They have been dealt with in the only way they have allowed themselves to be dealt with.

Israel may make peace with Saudi Arabia before the Palestinians ever grow up. The Palestinians can have a state and peace overnight if they act honestly and in good faith, but this is exactly what they refuse to do. None of the ongoing friction has been necessary since 1948, the two-state solution could have been had BEFORE the fighting in 1948, or AFTER the fighting in 1948, or at any time since. By 1966 things were actually much more peaceful than today, and then surrounding Arab nations decided to try to kill Israel, and the Palestinian situation got much worse and has stayed worse. A regional solution would send the bill to Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and yes Saudi Arabia for any continuing grievances that any Palestinian might have, not to mention compensation for all the Arab countries purging their ancient Jewish populations after 1948.

Kerry, much less Judis, are unbelievably ignorant and stupid in their positions. Facts, gentlemen, or you are just disgusting fools.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Obama peace process is a success. It is doing exactly what it was intended to do.

1. Israel has been forced to release horrific murderers, thus enshrining the important principle that there is no penalty for Arabs who murder Jews.
2. Kerry is legitimized as a possible candidate.
3. Abbas, the terrorist Arab dictator of an area ceded to him by Israel, can continue holding office without elections and denying the Arabs any civil rights.

Was something else supposed to happen? On what planet?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am all for the Israelis giving up the demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state.

That is...the moment that every other land in the region give up the notion of a Muslim state. Otherwise, they can Copt a plea...but I throw the Book at them.

Only an imbecile or a leftist...but I repeat myself...would suggest that Israel be something other than a Jewish state and that it be allowed to be recognized as such.

Frankly, to even up the not only should be recognized as such, but to make it "egalitarian"...non-Biblical adherents should be taxed at a higher rate, should be either forced to convert...or be subject to a death sentence.

Because if you want have to install equality.

Judis is a stranger to Judaism...and the truth.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Christians are probably saying Islam is a settler-colonialist movement and Judaism precedes each so it's weird to stake out claims like that. Probably best to deal with the here and now and ask if the new Palestinian state will agree to not be an Arab-Islamic state and ask Egypt if they'd do the same just for kicks.

A few Jewish settlers immigrating into the Ottoman empire in the 1890s must've been the most conceited men who ever lived if they planned on oppressing Arabs. After WW I Jewish folks had the here-today-gone-tomorrow institutional backing of Great Britain for a Jewish state but one which wouldn't discomfit Arabs - an impossible task. At the outbreak of war no Jew illegally owned anything.

In any event the Arab leadership wasn't forced into war but tossed the dice heavily weighted in their favor. Sadly, they lost. Now they've spent 6 decades trying to pretend that didn't happen. Again, probably best to negotiate the here and now.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Only when the major sources of public opinion in the liberal community that was on[c]e supportive of Israel have turned into the Jewish state’s critics."

Professor Radosh, when you gutted Judis' meretricious book, you acted as a critic: You value books, writing and history, and because of that love, defended them by demonstrating that Judis betrayed all three.

If Judis had his way, he would set conditions on Israel that would at best make its survival... conditional. If someone claimed to love books except for the the fact that he despises the idea of writing things down for posterity, plus the waste of paper, and the pollution caused by ebooks and so on and so on, you would describe him as a book-hater.

So too with Judis and Israel. Like much of the liberal community, he is its enemy.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Only when the major sources of public opinion in the liberal community that was on[c]e supportive of Israel have turned into the Jewish state’s critics"

They have not turned into Israel's "critics;" like Judis, they are Israel's enemies.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why engage in endless debates with weasels like Beinert, Judis and Ben-Ami about a two state solution, a "solution" which would involve trusting in a peace treaty with a terrorist state and returning Israel to the “Auschwitz borders” of 1949.

Instead, extend Israeli law to Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”), just as it already covers the Golan Heights and Jerusalem. Israel would have effective security, Arabs would enjoy the protection of Israeli civil rights, the Middle East would be more stable and Israel, the entity with the only lawful “right” to those territories would rightly exercise sovereignty.

This proposal is the subject of Caroline Glick’s new book, The Israeli Solution:
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
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