John B. Judis of The New Republic Joins the Israel-Bashers
Judis then argues that the case against a Palestinian state is the very same that could have been made in 1947 against those arguing on behalf of creating a Jewish state in the former Mandate Palestine. Here, he confuses “UN membership” for Palestine with the issue of the right of establishing statehood. The truth is that the UN did not give the Jews a state. They created a very real one on their own, before its existence was recognized by the UN. Those who have read the book my wife and I wrote, A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel, will find a thorough discussion that shows that everyone, from U.S. diplomats in the Middle East to journalists, made that point over and over. The Arabs began fighting the Haganah (later the Israel Defense Forces) before a state was proclaimed, and after it was announced in May of 1948, various Arab nations invaded Israel in an attempt to destroy it at the start. The areas in which Palestinians lived were occupied by Egypt and Jordan, and no Palestinians then asked for an equivalent state of their own.
Next, Judis argues that just as some Palestinians today do not accept recognition of Israel, in 1947 many Zionists in the Revisionist movement “denied the right of the Palestinians to a state.” As Jeffrey Herf, Paul Berman and others have shown, the head of the Palestinian community in the Mandate was a notorious pro-Nazi, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin-Al Husseini. And he was adamant about one thing: there could never be any Jewish state in Palestine, or indeed, any Jews at all in Palestine.
Moreover, when Judis writes that the Revisionists of the Irgun denied the rights of the Palestinians to a state and “wanted all of Palestine and even Jordan for a Jewish state,” and that they “were willing to use terror and assassination to achieve their ends,” he is descending to total fabrication. First, the so-called Jewish extremists were a minority of the Zionists in Palestine. And they disbanded their military, united their forces with the official Haganah, and when they first ran for the Knesset and formed a political party, they received less than 10 percent of the Israeli vote. And today, if Israel pulled out of the West Bank in advance of negotiations the way Judis would prefer, Hamas might be able to do precisely what it did in Gaza: take the area over as soon as Israel withdrew, making the territory they inhabited a center of terror aimed at Israel.
Finally, Judis argues that J Street, “which began as a bold alternative to AIPAC,” has now “ended up mimicking its subservience to Israeli aims.” So even J Street is seen by Judis as too pro-Israeli, and not tough enough. Here, he completely misreads what J Street is all about. It was not formed for the purposes he suggests, but as a stalking horse for the Obama administration in the Jewish community so the administration could argue that AIPAC was not a representative group and that the real Jewish community supported the concessions to the Palestinians that hard-liners were not willing to accept.
Judis also is angry that what he calls “right-wing Christian groups” support “a greater Israel,” and are attacking compromise. He does not like it that “Republican presidential candidates” argue that Obama “threw Israel under a bus” and is guilty of “appeasement.” But as for Ed Koch, who, until his sudden change a few days ago, made the very same arguments about Obama’s policy, Judis ignores the reasons for the charge, simply saying it is a “right-wing” campaign. As for the evangelical Christians who support Israel, like Reverend Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI), why shouldn’t they have the right to do so? Indeed, CUFI has become a large and powerful lobby supporting Israel, and uniting Christians to support the existence of a Jewish state. Israel needs all the support it can get, and as Ed Koch also pointed out at his speech last week at the anti-Durban III conference, Jews who are upset about this are “simply crazy.”