For how many decades will we pursue this diplomatic dead end? Mar 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 26 • By REUEL MARC GERECHT
To be outrageously iconoclastic among the Washington foreign-policy crowd is easy: Just suggest that the Israeli-Arab peace process is not merely pointless but actually damaging to America’s position in the Middle East and bad for both Israelis and Palestinians. Such a view is anathema not only to the liberal foreign-policy establishment, which instinctively does the peace process because Americans have been doing it for five decades (it’s what problem-solving, well-intentioned Americans do), but also to the establishment’s “realist” set, who usually view Israel as a strategic liability: Israel vs. 22 Arab countries; 6 million Jews vs. 425 million Arabs, with another billion Muslims howling from the bleachers.
Liberals and realists mix, of course, which is what we’ve got in Barack Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry. The president also gives off a whiff of a sentiment common on the left, especially in Europe and increasingly in Israel itself: The creation of Israel denationalized the Palestinians. America supported Israel’s birth, but failed, so the argument goes, to give equal justice to the Palestinians. And without justice for the Palestinians, the Middle East will not be stable. It’s a stunning tribute to the perdurability of this belief that even after the Great Arab Revolt—which has roiled the entire region, unleashing in Egypt the rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood and a new wave of fascism; in Syria, regime savagery and virulent Islamic militancy; and in the Gulf, Mesopotamia, and the Levant, a Sunni-Shiite rivalry that could well provoke the spread of nuclear weapons—serious people in Washington want to spend America’s capital on talks between West Bank Palestinians and the Israelis, neither of whom appear to care as much about these discussions as American officials.
Some do want to move beyond the peace process. In Europe, and in many academic quarters in the United States, Israel’s birth is akin to original sin, a naqba or calamity as the Arabs put it, which now can be relieved only by a “one-state solution”—the Jewish homeland ceases to exist—since the Israelis simply will not make the concessions necessary for a “two-state solution” to work. The one-state solution, like the two-state approach advanced by Westerners feeling guilty about the Palestinians’ plight, has a strong moral pull for its advocates since they see Palestinian claims as at least equal to Jewish ones. Israel’s founding generation mostly fled lethal anti-Semitism in Europe and the Middle East. But anti-Semitism wouldn’t have become so acute among Muslims, many suggest, if modern Israel had never been born. Therefore Jewishness ought to be the minority identity in the Holy Land. By their years in residence and their numbers, Arabs have the more compelling case.
It’s astonishing that thoughtful people can actually advocate this scenario. (See the former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent Hugh Pope’s memoir, Dining with Al-Qaeda, for a straightforward expression of a sophisticated Brit’s exasperation with Israeli “intransigence.”) Even the briefest trip to Israel, where rampant individualism and muscular capitalism have transformed a rather primitive socialist state into an economic, military, and cultural powerhouse, should suggest that the Jewish state isn’t going to self-immolate because of European distaste and Israeli angst. But bad ideas are sticky when fueled by Western guilt.
Although many anti-Zionists in America and especially abroad back the “peace process” as a way of righting a perceived wrong and, sometimes, camouflaging old-fashioned anti-Semitism, it is actually well-wishers of Israel who regard peace-processing as the eleventh commandment. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy both view the Middle East through an Israeli security lens, and both adamantly hope for a happy outcome through multilateral, American-guided diplomacy. Among members of the influential American Jewish Committee, which works hard to protect Jews worldwide, the peace process is almost as sacred as the determination to be politically bipartisan. American Jewry may not be overwhelmed by arguments about Palestinian rights, but it wants Israel to be secure, and the peace process is seen as the only path, however tortuous, to the permanent normalization of Israel’s existence.
Obama's scary interview.
11:35 AM, Mar 3, 2014 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
On the eve of the Netanyahu visit to Washington, President Obama gave a lengthy interview to Jeffrey Goldberg that shows a chief executive who has learned next to nothing about the world in his five years in office.
5:39 PM, Mar 1, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Elliott Abrams writes:
Today’s news from Ukraine is grim. It’s increasingly clear that Putin believes he has an opportunity to move in the Crimea, and perhaps to take eastern portions of Ukraine for Russia, while destabilizing the new government in Kiev. So far the American reaction has been pathetically weak: a few words from Kerry and Obama but no action. Not even diplomatic action like a UN Security Council session or a meeting of the NATO Council, or a Kerry visit to Kiev.
5:01 PM, Feb 26, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Marco Rubio delivered a speech on Iran on the Senate floor and called on Congress to take action:
Talking to Michael Rubin about his new book, Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging with Rogue Regimes.9:31 AM, Feb 22, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School, has just published a very timely book— especially for anyone interested in the likely success of the Obama administration’s diplomatic engagement with Iran.
The White House gets what it wants.Mar 3, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 24 • By LEE SMITH
The economic news from Tehran is good—good, that is, if you are a state sponsor of terror moving toward a nuclear weapons program. If on the other hand you were hoping that sanctions might persuade the Iranians to cease and desist, the news is disastrous.
House majority leader Eric Cantor challenges Obama’s foreign policy.2:41 PM, Feb 18, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Yesterday, in front of a Presidents’ Day crowd at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, House majority leader Eric Cantor unloaded one of the most comprehensive critiques to date of the Obama White House’s foreign policy.
1:37 PM, Feb 18, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Lawrence Freedman’s post, “Iran, History, and Strategy by Analogy,” in the strategic and military affairs blog “War on the Rocks,” is a thorough and respectful engagement with Elliott Abrams’s recent article in THE WEEKLY STANDARD, “A Misleading Cold War Analogy: Don’t count on containing Iran.”
4:31 PM, Feb 14, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Over at the Washington Free Beacon today, Adam Kredo’s report confirms what THE WEEKLY STANDARD has been reporting since the November meeting in Geneva where the P5+1 came to an interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear program: the
Feb 24, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 23 • By LEE SMITH
Two weeks ago the Treasury Department sanctioned a senior al Qaeda official, Olimzhon Adkhamovich Sadikov, also known as Jafar al-Uzbeki, for facilitating the flow of foreign fighters into Syria. The Levant appears to be ground zero in a struggle between al Qaeda and an Iranian-led axis of terror in a conflict now spreading from the Iraqi desert to the Lebanese coast. The Obama administration believes that in this contest for regional dominance, there are two clear sides and that it is al Qaeda, and not Iran, that constitutes the greatest threat to U.S. national security.
Talking to Matthew Levitt about his new book 'Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God.'1:19 PM, Feb 13, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Six years ago Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated when the headrest in his car was detonated in Damascus. While Israeli intelligence neither denies nor confirms its involvement, the Mossad is generally believed to have been responsible for his death. And yet there is no shortage of Western as well as Arab intelligence services that wanted Mughniyeh dead—including the CIA, whose station chief William Buckley Hezbollah abducted, tortured and killed in 1985. Moreover, Mughniyeh was responsible for the April 1983 bombing of the American embassy in Beirut that killed 17 Americans, and the Marines barracks bombing in October of that year that killed 244 American marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen. As founder and director of Hezbollah’s terrorism apparatus, Mughniyeh left a long wake of blood across the world. And even six years after his death, Mughniyeh’s legacy of terror lives on, as Hezbollah has recently plotted operations on several continents, including Europe, Asia and Africa.
Don’t count on containing Iran. Feb 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 22 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
The Israeli debate over Iran’s nuclear program is, perhaps oddly, not yet heated. For now, the action is with the Americans: Israelis watch the negotiations nervously and without confidence, but there is little sense of impending doom—or impending war.