Nov 13: Weekend Reading
The New York Times ran an editorial on Friday calling out Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for deciding that “his hard-line coalition is more important than working with President Obama to craft a peace deal,” and acting as if the new Republican House majority means he will enjoy American support “no matter what he does.” The Times editorial concluded by calling on Bibi to “stop playing games, reinstate the moratorium, get back to negotiations and engage seriously in a peace deal.”
Young California Jew Matthew Taylor discussed the tensions between the aging American Jewish establishment and younger Jewish voices calling for just Israeli policies in an Haaretz Op-ed on Friday. Taylor was one of the hecklers attacked and thrown out of the North American Jewish Federations General Assembly last week after interrupting Netanyahu’s speech with shouts of “The occupation delegitimizes Israel” and “The settlements betray Jewish values.” Lamenting how critics of Israeli policies are dismissed as “delegitimizers” sans any calm discussion on the merits of the criticism, Taylor recalled a Ghandi quote: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Modifying the sentiment for contemporary American Jewish circles, he wrote: “First they ignore you, then they call you a self-hating Jew, then they call you a delegitimizer and fight you with $6 million.”
The Haaretz editorial from Friday was similar to the NY Times editorial in calling out Netanyahu’s Hutzpa for what it called, taking “advantage of the stage he was given [at the Federation General Assembly] to embarrass the Obama administration.” Haaretz concluded:
Netanyahu apparently tried to show that the Republicans’ victory in the congressional elections rendered him immune to the administration’s pressures and that he had the upper hand in the controversy over the settlements. This is a shortsighted approach that endangers Israel’s interests. Israel needs a steadfast friendship with the United States.
Finally, for those who read Hebrew, the Haaretz Magazine ran a short piece on Friday that investigated military orders put in place immediately after the 1967 war – during which Israel gained control of the West Bank – “prohibiting entry [by Israelis] into the territories occupied in the Six Day War.” The order was updated in 1970 to allow permits for entry into the territories, but for a maximum of 48 hours. The article explains that the military order was never really used until recently when the IDF was looking for a legal avenue to expel two foreign peace activists living in the West Bank (it had also been used in the past to expel Gazans who moved to the West Bank). When asked how many permits for entry into the occupied territories have been granted since 1970, “the IDF checked and responded: Absolutely none.” In fact, the article reports that the army admitted that, “actually there is no procedure for the implementation of the order.” So basically, anyone who moved to the West Bank since 1967 did so illegally under Israeli law (the West Bank is ruled under military law).
* Note: I will post a link to the English version of this article when it appears online on Sunday.