Editorial | Trump’s Failure in Jerusalem – The New York Times

The day the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem is a day the world has longed for, because of what it was supposed to represent: the end of a seemingly endless conflict, a blood-soaked tragedy with justice and cruelty on both sides. Israelis and Palestinians have envisioned a capital in Jerusalem, and for generations the Americans, the honest brokers in seeking peace, withheld recognition of either side’s claims, pending a treaty that through hard compromise would resolve all competing demands.

The day the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem is a day the world has longed for, because of what it was supposed to represent: the end of a seemingly endless conflict, a blood-soaked tragedy with justice and cruelty on both sides. Israelis and Palestinians have envisioned a capital in Jerusalem, and for generations the Americans, the honest brokers in seeking peace, withheld recognition of either side’s claims, pending a treaty that through hard compromise would resolve all competing demands.

But on Monday President Trump delivered the embassy as a gift without concession or condition to the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, and as a blow to the Palestinians. The world did not witness a new dawn of peace and security for two peoples who have dreamed of both for so long. Instead, it watched as Israeli soldiers shot and killed scores of Palestinian protesters, and wounded thousands more, along Israel’s boundary with the Gaza Strip.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner at the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.CreditMenahem Kahana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Unilateral action, rather than negotiation and compromise, has served the purposes of successive right-wing Israeli governments. They have steadily expanded Jewish settlements in the West Bank, on land Palestinians expected to be part of any Palestinian state.

And even when the Israelis uprooted settlements in Gaza in 2005, they did so without negotiating an agreement that would have empowered a more moderate Palestinian government. They acted to increase Israeli security in the short term while increasing Palestinian despair and the power of militant groups like Hamas. For years, Israeli governments have insisted they have no peace partner on the other side, while behaving in a way that perpetuates that reality. The possibility of peace has continued to recede, and Israel’s democratic character has continued to erode under the pressure of a long-term occupation of millions of Palestinians who lack sovereignty of their own.

via Opinion | Trump’s Failure in Jerusalem – The New York Times

David Lindsay:  Heartbreaking editorial.  This will unleash ten to twenty years of horrible bloodshed. I don’t agree with Bruce Rozenblit, that this is the end of a two state solution, but I do expect it to set back that solution by decades. My sense is that after Trump falls from office, a future administration will undo this damage, and remove the American Embassy back to Tel Aviv, and restore the position of the United States to honest broker. The Israelis and Palestinian will kill and maim each other until both sides get tired of it, and like the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, they just decide the ugly peace through compromise is better than the ugly, never ending war and bloodshed.

In the short term, the United States now has more blood on its hands, and has reduced again its position of leadership in the Middle East. If you listen carefully, you can hear Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs laughing as they toast another easy victory dividend, from their inexpensive effort to put the compromised narcissist and successful con artist Donald Trump in charge of the world’s most powerful country.

Steve Bannon Is Bad for the Jews – by Brett Stephens

“The Zionist Organization of America feted Stephen K. Bannon at a gala dinner in New York on Sunday night. What a disgrace.

What a mistake, too.

It’s a disgrace because no organization that purports to represent the interests of the Jewish people should ever embrace anyone who embraces anti-Semites. Jews have enemies enough. To provide those enemies with moral cover for the sake of political convenience or ideology corroborates the worst anti-Semitic stereotypes and strengthens the hand of those who mean us harm.”

via Steve Bannon Is Bad for the Jews – The New York Times

Complicated. I liked the top comment, about how some terrorists are OK, if they are on your side. Overall, Stephens has a point, Bannon is bad on many counts.

There was one critical comment that caught my perspective pretty well”

Tansu Otunbayeva

Palo Alto, California 5 hours ago

“Simply put, support for Israel is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being a friend to Jews.”

Simply? I guess it depends upon what you mean by “support”. I consider myself to be a friend to Jews. I see no quibble or hedge in my heart when I say that. I support the right of Israel to exist. And yet, I can’t support Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine.

Somehow, alone among nations, supporting Israel seems to boils down to supporting everything Israel does. Personally, I can’t extend that level of support to any nation.

Six Days and 50 Years of War – by Brett Stevens – NYT

“In June 1967 Arab leaders declared their intention to annihilate the Jewish state, and the Jews decided they wouldn’t sit still for it. For the crime of self-preservation, Israel remains a nation unforgiven.Unforgiven, Israel’s milder critics say, because the Six-Day War, even if justified at the time, does not justify 50 years of occupation. They argue, also, that Israel can rely on its own strength as well as international guarantees to take risks for peace. This is a historic nonsense.”

Here  again, the comments make one smarter. Stevens seems to make good points, until someone pokes holes in them. I found this top comment more informative than the op-ed itself.


Silver Spring, MD 12 hours ago

Stephens repeats many of the tired cliches used to justify Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian land. Most notable is the assertion that Yasser Arafat rejected a reasonable offer for a Palestinian state at Camp David. There is ample evidence that the offer made by Ehud Barak at Camp David could not have been accepted by Arafat — the West Bank was cut up into a patchwork of bantustans by settlement blocs, bypass roads and zones of “temporary Israeli control”. Israel would have controlled all border crossings. The Israeli offer was improved considerably at Taba later in 2000, but by that time Barak had lost the election; time ran out. Then there’s the cliche that Israel turned Gaza over to the Palestinians, who ungratefully responded with attacks against Israel. But the people of Gaza have never been free from Israeli control; Israel has tight control over everything entering and leaving the strip (including building material needed to rebuild after Israeli bombs reduce much of Gaza to rubble).
The greatest problem in Stephens’ piece is his confusion of cause and effect. He admits that settlement growth outside the historically recognized blocs was a “mistake” made by Israel, but doesn’t seem to see the connection between this ubiquitous — and growing — symbol of domination and the Palestinian resistance. He certainly doesn’t explain how any Palestinian behavior necessitates the continual construction of more Israeli settlements.

A Settler’s View of Israel’s Future – The New York Times

“HEBRON, West Bank — Last week, Israel’s Parliament passed a controversial bill that allows the government to retroactively authorize contested West Bank Jewish communities by compensating previous Palestinian land claimants. Opposition parties warn that this law could open Israel to prosecution at The Hague, and the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said, “Israel’s Parliament has just approved a law to legalize theft of Palestinian land.”

This theme has been echoed recently at the Paris peace conference, in a United Nations Security Council resolution and by a major policy speech by then Secretary of State John Kerry, which all condemned settlements.”

Here is the other side. I like the following critical comment:

S. C.

Midwesr 3 hours ago

“Wow, it’s so simple. The Palestinians actually have no right to the land they’ve thought was theirs for generations, because Jews always had a claim on it. We don’t have to discuss whether there is any competition between the claims.

And we can achieve a satisfactory solution by democratic means — although that “democracy” will not include freedom of religion, because only those who acknowledge the primacy of the Jewish character of the state will be considered to have full rights. And we don’t have to mention the strongly anti-democratic turn Israel has already taken. That proponents of the plans Mr. Fleisher mentions have made virulently racist statements is somehow ignorable in evaluating what their real effects are likely to be.

No. There really is a problem. The settlers’ view is fundamentally based on a grossly distorted, one-sided view of history, and a fundamentally dishonest representation that the kind of state they will envision will be democratic. They know full well that their conception of the future will not involve full rights for the Palestinians, and they are trying to avoid criticism over this. In fact, John Kerry was completely correct.”

President Trump- Will You Save the Jews? – Thomas Friedman – NYT

“Dear President Trump:

These are the moments that make or break a presidency.

First you were tested by a rival — Russia — and utterly failed to appreciate the corrosive impact on our democracy of your indulgence of Russia’s hacking our election. And on Wednesday you’re going to be tested by a friend — Israel — and its prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu. Can you appreciate the corrosive impact on Israel’s democracy of what it’s now doing in the West Bank? I ask because you may be the last man standing between Israel and a complete, self-inflicted disaster for the Jewish state and the Jewish people.

Let me explain it in terms you’ll appreciate: golf.  . . . . ”


Excellent op-ed Thomas Friedman. I am with you. “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”
I remain humbled by the complexities of these problems.
I still do not understand, and therefore oppose, our 3.8 billion USD subsidy to Israel, every year for ten years. Can you explain why it makes sense to share our treasure with this Israeli government? Wouldn’t it make Americans safer if we stopped supporting Jews over Muslims in Israel? China has announced that it will or is investing 350 billion USD in sustainable energy systems. Don’t we have better investments that we should be making, to stay competitive with the growing giant of Asia?

David Lindsay, blogs at OnVietnamAndtheWorld.wordpress.com

Who’s Afraid of Nonviolence? – The New York Times

“Issa Amro, a native of the city of Hebron and a prominent Palestinian advocate of nonviolent resistance, has been waiting now for nearly two months to find out when he can expect to face trial in an Israeli military courtroom. He has been accused of a series of offenses ranging from demonstrating without a permit to “insulting a soldier.

”The two most serious charges are for assaulting a pair of soldiers and a settlement security coordinator. In both instances, one in 2010 and the other in 2013, the military claims that Mr. Amro pushed his antagonists.Mr. Amro denies the allegations and points out that in both instances it was he who suffered physical injury. The charge of insulting a soldier includes an incident in which a border policeman took Mr. Amro’s ID. Mr. Amro says he told the officer: “I want my ID back, I am not wanted, and if you had called to check you would know this. But you have not called, I know, I am not stupid.” The officer, however, insists that Mr. Amro called him stupid and said that “he could not arrest him.” “

The Contest Over Israel Aid – The New York Times


“For many years, substantial assistance was warranted in recognition of Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt and its need to defend against hostile Arab states. There is a compelling need for the United States’ continued commitment to Israel’s security, which includes the sharing of advanced technologies. But it is worth asking whether the ever-increasing aid levels make sense, especially in the face of America’s other pressing domestic and overseas obligations.”

Source: The Contest Over Israel Aid – The New York Times

$38 Billion over 10 years in military aid to Israel is over the top. I’ve lost track, what is in it for us? Since our governments disagree about their policy of building illegal settlements in Palestinian lands, we should stop all aid to Israel, until they actually give peace a chance.