Last week, the Seattle Times published a ‘stealth’ op-ed by Nevet Basker, local board member of StandWithUs, that attacked Obama administration’s settlement freeze policy. It essentially argued that settlements were not the problem, but that the Palestinians were the real obstacle to peace. One of many things that was laughable about her piece was that she called herself a “moderate dove.” If she’s a moderate dove then Bibi belongs to Meretz and political terms have lost all meaning. That’s what I meant by using the term “stealth” above, since Basker was trying to mask her politics so that they would appear more centrist than they really are. It was also an attempt to inveigle SWU’s political agenda into the mainstream of the Jewish community, a place it does not deserve to be.
The Times agreed to publish my own op-ed supporting the settlement freeze and it was published last night. Given the nature of daily newspapers, I couldn’t address point by point the fallacies of Basker’s article. Rather, I put forward a positive vision of how a peace process would proceed and what it would look like, starting with the settlement freeze. I also emphasize that the freeze is supported by most American Jews. The position of the Israel lobby as expressed by Basker is not.
One point I found intriguing about Basker’s op-ed which I couldn’t address in my own piece is that she’s in favor of allowing settlers to remain within the Territories after a peace agreement. What she doesn’t clarify (naturally) is whether she accepts the principle that these 300,000 Israeli settlers would fall under Palestinian sovereignty and become citizens of the new Palestinian state. I’m guessing she rejects this idea in which case her supposed openness to a Palestinian state is actually anything but.