Monday, March 19, 2007

Kristof on the Israel Issue

Will these cracks in the wall allow some sun to shine in? We can only hope so.

Whether they have "learned to muzzle themselves" or they "just don't get it," US politicians should stop biting their tongues when it comes to Israel, New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof argues in Sunday's paper.

"Democrats are railing at just about everything President Bush does, with one prominent exception: Bush's crushing embrace of Israel," Kristof writes.

And since "[t]here is no serious political debate among either Democrats or Republicans about our policy toward Israelis and Palestinians," Kristof believes, the "silence harms America, Middle East peace prospects and Israel itself."

"Within Israel, you hear vitriolic debates in politics and the news media about the use of force and the occupation of Palestinian territories," Kristof notes. "Yet no major American candidate is willing today to be half as critical of hard-line Israeli government policies as, say, Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper."

According to Kristof, "Hard-line Israeli policies have profoundly harmed that country's long-term security by adding vulnerable settlements, radicalizing young Palestinians, empowering Hamas and Hezbollah, isolating Israel in the world and nurturing another generation of terrorists in Lebanon. The Israeli right's aggressive approach has only hurt Israeli security, just as in much the same way that Bush's invasion of Iraq ended up harming U.S. interests."

Discussing what happened after Hezbollah kidnapped and killed Israeli troops last summer, Kristof believes that "Bush would have been a much better friend to Israel if he had tried to rein in Olmert," after the prime minister "invaded Lebanon and thus transformed Hezbollah into a heroic force in much of the Arab world."

"So let's be better friends -- and stop biting our tongues," Kristof argues.

I thought this was interesting:

You can argue that Arabs pursue a double standard, focusing on repression by Israelis while ignoring greater human rights violations by fellow Arabs. But the suffering in Palestinian territories, while not remotely at the scale of brutality in Sudan or Iraq, is still tragically real.

The question is not whether Israel is better than the Arab states, which indeed have many problems, but rather whether Israel, at the very least, is it a true "western" nation" that deserves the level of support provided by the United States. Or whether Israel abuses this support by taking actions that place the US in danger by virtue of its commitment to back Israel at every turn.



Anonymous Charles said...

Folks might want to help stop muzzling before it happens.... visit and sign the petition that will protect him!

3/19/2007 05:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mullah Cimoc say very dangerous for this man talking against israeli masters.

This changing good for ameriki people. not good for israeli spy in pentagon and white house (them called neocon) controlling usa complete and ameriki now slave of the master.

3/19/2007 08:21:00 PM  

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