If you ever wanted to read a tired old American Jewish apologia for Ariel Sharon’s right-wing policies, take a look at Martin Peretz‘s Kerry the Clueless: Like Carter and Clinton, he’s a Democrat who offers Israel nothing but muddled ideas. Marty is a co-owner of the New Republic, which a close friend used to laughingly call the ‘New Republican.’ To be perfectly honest, the magazine’s politics are sometimes progressive, but never when it comes to Israel.
When it comes to that subject, you might as well be reading an AIPAC press release. And it looks like Marty hasn’t changed his stripes. Consider this: Carter, who was instrumental in negotiating the only peace settlement between Israel and another Arab state; and Clinton, who came within a whisker of securing a comprehensive settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict–represent “muddled ideas.” What a load of crap!
If anything it’s Peretz’s ideas which are muddled. They represent the same old tired ideas we’ve heard for decades from the mainstream American-Jewish communal leadership (Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations):
1. Israel is America’s only friend in the Middle East.
2. Israel is the Middle East’s only democracy.
3. If the U.S. would only leave Israel alone, then the Palestinians would realize their only hope for peace lays in accepting Israel’s terms for a settlement.
Blah, blah, blah ad nauseum.
So what is Peretz really afraid of regarding Mideast policy in a potential Kerry administration? He doesn’t want a president who sees himself as an honest broker in this conflict. He wants a George Bush type who hasn’t a clue how to deal with the conflict and who is content to let Ariel Sharon tramp across the stage in combat boots setting his own terms for everything relevant to this conflict. Peretz wants a president who can’t say ‘no’ to Israel.
Now, the question you must ask yourself is: is such a situation truly good for Israel? The answer in my mind is a resounding ‘no.’ Oops, I wasn’t supposed to use that word regarding Israel, now was I?
What good does it do Israel if U.S. policy allows it to have its way with the Palestinians and impose their will on them? Such a policy merely stokes Palestinian rage and increases the level of terror. Such a policy means endless and unremitting war.
Peretz is also ticked off with Kerry’s supposed fixation with the UN as an arbiter of world peace. Why I thought that was the view of George Bush and his cronies? Could it be that Marty Peretz is going Republican? Would it surprise me? Course not.
But it’s not only Democrats Kerry, Carter and Clinton, the dread Peretz doesn’t like. He also despises James Baker, Republican former secretary of state. Why? Because Baker was willing to tell the Israelis things they didn’t want to hear. And in the eyes of Israeli politicians, AIPAC and Marty Peretz, that is an unpardonable sin.
Peretz also hates the perfectly reasonable Kerry suggestion (made many times by quite distinguished Mideast scholars) that U.S. troops might act as a buffer between Israelis and Palestinians after a peace agreeement is reached. Why do Peretz and the Israelis hate this idea? Because it will limit their ability to project power against the Palestinians. No more extended forays into Gaza to “root out terrorists” (while also killing scores of innocent civilians). How terrible that Israel would have to rein in some of its worst impulses to “punish” Palestinians when they misbehave!
Marty categorically denies that Israeli’s continued occupation of the Palestinians is a motivating force for Al Qaeda and Islamic terror. For Peretz, Israel’s mere existence is what motivates Muslim militants. This flies in the face of what Arab leaders and Al Qaeda itself have said. The plain truth of the matter is that once Israel no longer occupies Palestinian land and reaches an agreement with the Palestinians, then most of the Arabs will accept Israel. It doesn’t matter what Al Qaeda says at that point. If they continue the fight against Israel, they will be doing it alone and in isolation.
Oh and by the way, in case you might’ve thought that Ariel Sharon’s rash and bellicose visit to the Temple Mount along with his right wing followers started the first Intifada, you’re wrong according to Marty. Who really started it? Why, Bill Clinton of course. How so? Well, if Clinton hadn’t given Yasser Arafat the idea that the U.S. and Israel were so desperate for peace that they’d give away the store to get it, then the Palestinians wouldn’t have been emboldened to begin the Intifada. What sheer and utter nonsense.
Peretz has nothing but praise for Bush’s so called “achievements” in the Mideast:
Bush has committed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to a Palestinian state and to a withdrawal from some, though certainly not all, of the settlements. In return, the president has recognized that the most populous and strategically pivotal settlements would remain in Israeli hands and has also ruled out what would be suicide for Israel, the return of Palestinian refugees after 56 years. The Palestinians have not yet signed on to these particulars. But they are the future details of any peace.
Isn’t it cute that Marty notes the “Palestinians have not yet signed on to these particulars.” Those pesky Palestinians. They haven’t gotten with the program. But don’t worry, they will. They have no other choice because (according to the clairvoyant Mr. Peretz) the Bush-Sharon policies “are the future details of any peace.” What a load of crap (did I already say that once here? If so, I apologize, I just couldn’t help myself).
Finally, in a statement that almost made me ill, Peretz says “Bush’s empathy for the government in Israel is particularly remarkable.” Remarkable indeed. What Israel needs from the United States isn’t constant doses of sugar which will only make it sick to its stomach. A little dose of vinegar now and then would work wonders on the constitution.