Price for Jonathan Pollard’s Release Should be a Done Deal on Palestine

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200px-Jonathan_Pollard.pngJonathan Pollard was paid for his espionage by a foreign government. Whether that government was the Soviet Union, China, Great Britain, or as it turned out — Israel — Pollard was a compensated enemy of the US national interest and convicted.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just signed on to a letter addressed to President Obama appealing for Pollard’s release.
As one former Reagan administration official stated, Pollard ferreted away and transferred to Israel, which allegedly passed along the information to the Soviet Union, the “crown jewels” of America’s national security strategy. In virtually any other country outside the United States and Europe, Pollard would have been executed for his deeds.
Some want him released — but I don’t support this — unless the price is very high.
Convicted spies can be bargaining chips. If Netanyahu were to commit to collapse his government, reassemble with sensible pragmatists in the Knesset, and deliver definitively on an internationally-accepted two state arrangement between Israel and Palestine, then I would support releasing Pollard to the Israelis.
There is nothing less than that that would suffice as the price for the release of this person who betrayed his nation. Israelis and Palestinians say that they could do a deal — if both were serious — in just a few months.
If so, then do the deal — and release Pollard after the leaders have signed the pact and the Quartet and Arab League have blessed the arrangement.
That would be a price worth giving up a spy for — but Obama giving him up for anything else would reinforce a view held by some that he is weak while simultaneously sending tremors of outrage through the intelligence community who see Pollard on par with Aldrich Ames and Richard Hanssen.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

136 comments on “Price for Jonathan Pollard’s Release Should be a Done Deal on Palestine

  1. Kathleen says:

    Pollard should never be released. Period. Steve is completely wrong on this.
    Israel should stop expanding illegal settlements. Period.
    If any other group of people of congress people were pushing for the release of an American traitor such as Pollard the MSM would be all over it.
    This is absurd and traitorous.

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Steve Clemons, I have no idea what you are talking about. What is supposed to be the bad word? “Terrorist”? “Suicide-bomber”?”
    Like I said, its a real shame that Steve removed Nadine’s bigoted slurs and defending rhetoric. In doing so, he unwittingly enabled the “poor innocent misunderstood little ‘ol me” bullshit we see above.
    In restoring her remarks, and allowing the above post to stand, Steve would definitely be doing his readership, and himself, a favor.
    Its the unseen snake that always bites you.
    But that being said, I must confess that I find Nadine’s assertion of innocence even more offensive than the now erased racist remarks were. Her contrived confusion as to the reason behind Steve’s censorship is so blatantly dishonest, and such an open admission of how cavalierly dismissive she is of her own bigotry, that it is despicable in the extreme.
    It is as if I called an African-American a “nigger”, then, when censored, questioned the censorship, claiming I merely said “he’s got rythym”.
    This thread has been a rare glimpse into the REAL Nadine. Its a shame some of the unusually enlightening and self-revealing commentary of Nadine’s has been removed. People deserve to know the motivation behind such a prolific contributer’s efforts.

    Reply

  3. nadine says:

    Steve Clemons, I have no idea what you are talking about. What is supposed to be the bad word? “Terrorist”? “Suicide-bomber”? Rather standard description of those who practice these all too common techniques, I should have thought – for which I/P was the dress rehearsal, but we can now see the performances all around the world.

    Reply

  4. Mark says:

    Steve,
    Thank you for cleaning up Nadine’s posts. Nadine’s rather loathsome rhetoric called to mind the Hutu radio station speakers in Rwanda calling the Tutsis “cockroaches” before their horrific genocidal slaughter of 700,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus (a horror perpetuated mostly with machetes) in 1994.
    Sadly, and in light of Nadine’s and Wiggy’s endless attacks on Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and WikiLeaks and corresponding endless, blind support of Jonathan Pollard, Jenny Rubin, Avigdor Lieberman, Shas, and Yisrael Beiteinu, one comes to expect such frightening polemic and inhuman sophistry from this pair.
    Thankfully, neither Wiggy nor Nadine appear to have much interest in border wars and/or immigrants in Arizona.

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If you don’t think Israel is being seriously threatened by a world-wide delegitimization then you are even more out of touch than I supposed”
    You are correct, Nadine, Israel IS delegitimizing itself to the global community. Particularly targeted by this self-imposed delegitimization effort is the premise that Israel is democratic in nature, or interested in peace with the Palestinians.
    BTW, I am more than a little dissappointed that Steve chose to remove your use of racist slurs and invectives, and your justifications for using them. It is one of the most honest and revealing commentaries I have yet seen you engage in.

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  6. Steve Clemons says:

    Nadine – I have removed all of the references to the term you were using to describe Muslim insurgents. I have no tolerance at all for that kind of dehumanization of people — even those fighting US forces, Israel’s interests or anyone else. Dehumanization campaigns were used actively in WWII and have learned much about the technique from John Dower’s work. I won’t have this practice go unchallenged on my blog.
    No debate. Engage in it again — and there will be a pause in your ability to comment here.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  7. nadine says:

    jd, there’s a difference between criticism and blood libels, one you seem quite unaware of. The function of the foreign-funded radical left NGOs is to give blood libels the cover of being Israeli, and therefore to be taken seriously and regurgitated by the worldwide MSM.
    If you don’t think Israel is being seriously threatened by a world-wide delegitimization then you are even more out of touch than I supposed.

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Now a bunch of Palestinians with popguns and bottle rockets cause Israel to shrink from democracy and hide behind a curtain of censorship”
    The Palestinians are but an excuse. The REAL reason behind Israel’s current course is a national affliction, a disease that is infecting Israeli society and its governing body. Its called “racism”. The Palestinians merely provide the excuse.

    Reply

  9. jdledell says:

    Come on Nadine – what about the funding from outside Israel that goes to support west bank settlers? What about all the money that the diaspora has sent to Israel over the past unpteen decades. It’s not the outside money that bothers you – it’s the criticism of Israel. Some of that criticism is deserved and some is not just as some of the hasbera is correct and some is not.
    However, in a democracy both voices should be heard – the left and the right. As I said to you before, there is a swelling movement in Israel dump democracy in favor of a Jewish nation. Watch how the laws are manipulated to crowd out all opposing opinion. Israeli arabs are already scared that even legitimate criticism will end in jail on treason and terror conspiracy charges. If Lieberman, Ayalon and Mofaz etc get their way left wing Jews will be next.
    I remember Israel when 3 Jews gathered for discussion there were 8 different opinions and each was vehemently supported. This was when Israel was SERIOUSLY threatened by the arabs such as in 1967 and 1973. Now a bunch of Palestinians with popguns and bottle rockets cause Israel to shrink from democracy and hide behind a curtain of censorship. Shame

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  10. nadine says:

    “The Knesset plenum voted Wednesday [January 4] to order the House Committee to consider establishing a parliamentary panel of inquiry into left-wing Israeli organizations that allegedly participate in delegitimization campaigns against Israel Defense Forces soldiers

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Testimonies reveal IDF campaign to dismantle Palestinian society
    By Roi Maor
    IDF soldier testimonies, collected by Breaking the Silence, and published exclusively on +972 (here and here), confirm that the intent of the IDF during the Second Intifada was to undermine the ability of Palestinian society to politically challenge Israel, by destroying its capacity to function as an integrated whole
    continues….
    http://www.shovrimshtika.org/post_e.asp?id=30

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Breaking the Silence member:

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here we see this arrogant bigot and criminal Netanyahu describing the actions of a “democracy”, while his Gestapo clones and jackboots prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, (by Netanyahu’s own definition), that ISRAEL IS NOT A “DEMOCRACY”.
    http://972mag.com/netanyahu-democracies-dont-send-armed-agents-to-mow-down-demonstrators/

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “So the protesters were “peacefully” trying to stone the Israelis, who responded with teargas, a non-lethal weapon”
    Here is a five minute video of the demonstration, that shows clearly that Nadine is a shameless piece of shit liar.
    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/israeli-bloggers-question-israels-use-of-tear-gas-against-protesters/

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Israel’s Attempt To Blame Victim Fails
    The death of a 36-year-old woman, Jawahar Abu Rahmah, at a protest against the route of Israel’s “separation wall” in the West Bank village of Bil’in last Friday, is deeply troubling on many counts.
    Abu Rahmah died at the hands of the IDF simply because she was standing in the general vicinity of the protesters when the soldiers started shooting off tear gas.
    Almost as bad, the Israeli authorities intentionally set out to lie about the circumstances of Abu Rahmah’s death. The IDF both lied to journalists and then actually enlisted a group of bloggers to spread the story that she died of natural causes (asthma or cancer), and that her supposed killing by soldiers firing tear gas was some kind of Palestinian stunt.
    Frankly, I find this story sickening. As critical as I am of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, I still believe in Israel itself. And it is painful to see that the Netanyahu government will do anything, say anything, lie about anything

    Reply

  16. samuelburke says:

    Report: Chile recognizes independent Palestinian state
    Chilean President Sebastian Pinera’s announcement preceded by
    official recognition of Palestine by Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil,
    Argentina, and Uruguay.

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    jd, dignity is a two-way street. The Israelis would like the dignity of having it acknowledged that the Jews originally came from the Mideast, Jewish history really happened, there once was a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, and the Holocaust really did kill 6 million Jews. And oh, yes, that a two-state solution means two states for two peoples, not an Arab Palestine, but an indefinite Israel destined to soon become Arab as well.
    Did you miss that it is the OFFICIAL policy of the PA to deny Jewish history? By now they have raised a whole generation of Palestinian children on this false Palestinian propaganda. Why don’t we ask for a concession from the Palestinian side for once? Let Abu Mazen admit the Holocaust happened – in Ramallah & in Arabic! – then we can talk about Israeli concessions for ‘dignity’.

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    “If a Palestinian state on the West Bank were to allow its territory to be used for aggression, wouldn’t that be the situation that existed in 1967 when Israel occupied it in the first place? Does international opinion really have a veto on Israel’s ability to act in self-defense?” (David Billington)
    It certainly thinks it does. Look how Israel was villified for responding to cross-border attacks from Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2009. The Palestinians have been greatly encouraged to refuse to negotiate and wage ‘lawfare’ for the delegitimization of Israel instead, in which vetoing its right to self-defense is just Step One.
    You have to internalize the truth I keep repeating: for the Left, the Palestinians are innocent victims BY DEFINITION; their behavior does not matter. It is ALWAYS Israel’s fault, no matter what.
    This wasn’t true back in 1967. Back then, Israel was a socialist country and the Left supported it against an attack by Jordan. None of these conditions apply today.

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    “It is my opinion that the Palestinians are far more ready to make peace with Israel than the reverse. Provide them a peace paln that allows them to live in dignity” (jdledell)
    Your opinion is not backed up by the polls of Palestinians, where they oppose a solution resembling the Clinton parameters by about 60% to 40%.
    http://www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2010/p38ejoint.html
    The Palestinians have been continually told for the last generation that Israel is a temporary phenomenon without a shred of legitimacy in Palestine, which is an Arab country since the dawn of time, Jewish history being all a lie. These are good not conditions for peace-making.

    Reply

  20. nadine says:

    “In your Jan 7 3:35 PM post, you said that American-trained Palestinian security personnel were capable of controlling the West Bank. Could you clarify now what you really mean to say? Thanks.” (David Billington)
    What I mean to say is that they are keeping order on the West Bank as of right now, with backup from the IDF. I don’t know anyone who really believes they could continue to keep order without the Israeli backup. Fatah is an unreformed mess and Hamas is an Iranian client.
    I see jdledell showed up to give you an example of the reasoning of the world’s beautiful souls of the Left. Every time there is a clash, it is a “hit to Israel’s moral standing”. In the telling, Israel is always murdering some “peaceful” protester. The latest reports from Bil’in that even the Palestinian-supporters are citing say that the woman who died was standing outside near her home near a group of youths throwing stones.
    So the protesters were “peacefully” trying to stone the Israelis, who responded with teargas, a non-lethal weapon, a women winds up dead, God knows from what, and it’s a hit to Israel’s moral standing. You see how it’s arranged: the only thing the Israelis can do to keep their moral standing is get killed without lifting a finger to defend themselves. Just imagine what defending Tel Aviv from rocket fire would do to their moral standing.

    Reply

  21. David Billington says:

    “According to reports that I’ve read, Abbas has given Mitchell a detailed offer on borders and
    security that Netanyahu would not look at.” (jdledell)
    Could you identify one or more of these reports? Thanks.

    Reply

  22. David Billington says:

    “Israel is NEVER allowed to take anything back…” (Nadine)
    If a Palestinian state on the West Bank were to allow its territory to be used for aggression, wouldn’t that
    be the situation that existed in 1967 when Israel occupied it in the first place? Does international
    opinion really have a veto on Israel’s ability to act in self-defense?
    “David, when the Israelis speak of ‘managing the conflict’, which is now a majority opinion in Israel, they
    talk about an indefinite truce with autonomy, not statehood. The open secret is that Fatah needs the
    presence of the IDF as backup to keep Hamas down in the West Bank. So Fatah doesn’t want statehood,
    though they can’t admit it.”
    In your Jan 7 3:35 PM post, you said that American-trained Palestinian security personnel were capable
    of controlling the West Bank. Could you clarify now what you really mean to say? Thanks.

    Reply

  23. jdledell says:

    Nadine – If Israel is so fearful of establishing a Palestinian state on the West Bank why don’t they simply annex the land and the Palestinians? That way they can have the IDF perpetually keep order in the West Bank.
    I’m sure you are aware that Israel wants Judea and Samaria but not the people to go with it. That has been Israel’s dilemma since 1967. Some day they will have to make a decision – aquire land with Palestinians or give up the land. The status quo cannot endure for additional decades.
    Episodes like the killing of a Palestinian man at the checkpoint last week, the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmeh and the shooting in bed of 65 year old Omar Kawasmeh are just the latest hits to Israel’s moral standing. As long as the occupation persists, these events will occur on a regular basis and Israel’s International standing will sink even lower. Eventually, this will result in a crippling BDS movement. I’m sure you are aware that the world’s opinion of Israel is steadily becoming more negative and no amount of hasbara can overcome it, even though you and wigwag try.
    I find it amausing that you and wigwag has such definite opinions about Palestinians. Neither of you have even met a single Palestinian yet you both think you absolutely know how they feel,how their society and political system works. I have spent decades learning first hand how Israel and Palestine work first hand. I even learned enough arabic to get by conversing. I’ve listened to Israeli politicians in Hebrew and Palestinian politicians in arabic.
    It is my opinion that the Palestinians are far more ready to make peace with Israel than the reverse. Provide them a peace paln that allows them to live in dignity – not one where Israel continues to control all ingress and egress of everythink and everybody. That is why Barak and Olmert plans failed.
    Israel should make a counter offer to the Arab Peace Plan. They could say we agree except for the right of return and then haggle with the arab league as to how few could come back. According to reports that I’ve read, Abbas has given Mitchell a detailed offer on borders and security that Netanyahu would not look at. I’m sure you are aware of what Netanyahu and his gang of 7 are offering. Begin, Danon, Ayalon are all spouting it to anyone who will listen. Area A&B to the Palestinians and Area C to Israel. Why negotiate with someone so unrealistic – it’s a waste of time.
    The occupation is corrupting the very soul of Israel and it’s people. I’ve seen how it has changed for the worse over the last 53 years. It’s a society that is starting to come apart at the seams and the lack of a peace agreement is at the heart of it’s problems. Visit and I’m sure you will begin to understand.

    Reply

  24. just FYI says:

    “IDF (IOF) lies about Bil’in tear-gas killing”
    http://justworldnews.org/archives/004120.html

    Reply

  25. nadine says:

    “It is really shocking how little attention has been paid by political elites to the worldwide Jihadist pogroms against Christians.” (Wigwag)
    But not surprising. You can’t really say much about Jihadist pogroms when PC makes you either ignore the role of Islam in fomenting the pogroms, or claim in the next breath that American “Christianists” like General Boykin are just as bad, as Steve Clemons did. That is so absurd that even for PC’s sake, you can’t do too much of it.
    So the beautiful souls of the Left all avert their eyes from the rising tide of barbarism in the Middle East.

    Reply

  26. nadine says:

    David, when the Israelis speak of ‘managing the conflict’, which is now a majority opinion in Israel, they talk about an indefinite truce with autonomy, not statehood. The open secret is that Fatah needs the presence of the IDF as backup to keep Hamas down in the West Bank. So Fatah doesn’t want statehood, though they can’t admit it.

    Reply

  27. nadine says:

    “An indefinite truce with statehood would be sufficient to test whether the Palestinians as a government and as a people are ready to
    coexist with Israel in a de facto sense, leaving to an unspecified future a final and official end to the conflict. If they fail even this test, then we would know that the Palestinians will never coexist with Israel. ” (David Billington)
    When the Palestinians fail this test, you will have replicated Gaza in the West Bank. Because of the difference in location, Israel will lack the ability to blockade the import of arms and the Israeli population centers will all be in missile range. Israel will have given away its leverage and achieved nothing but to empower an Iranian-backed enemy next door to its cities. Remember that at its coastal waist, Israel is only 9 miles wide.
    Not only will Israel not be allowed to take it back (Israel is NEVER allowed to take anything back, even offers are spoken of as staying on the table forever) they will not be allowed to defend themselves against incoming missiles without the entire world Islamist-Left alliance, backed by the MSM, screaming about massacres of innocent civilians, as they did in Gaza.
    Not a very enticing prospect, is it? Why should the Palestinians, who have flunked all previous chances to ‘run their own affairs’ and no longer even talk about peaceful coexistence, be given such a gift? Not that it would be any kind of gift to most of the Palestinians themselves.

    Reply

  28. David Billington says:

    “The Palestinians have refused many states on the West Bank which they could have had.” (Nadine)
    My understanding is that what Clinton offered them at the end of his second term required a final
    status agreement. Have the Palestinians more recently been offered sovereignty over the West Bank
    without such an agreement being a required part of it?

    Reply

  29. David Billington says:

    “I think your notion of what it takes to maintain the status quo right now is based on the mistaken premise
    that the Palestinians actually want a state on the West Bank and that Israel is preventing this.”
    (Nadine)
    What I would like to determine is whether there is a way to test Palestinian intentions under a new set of
    circumstances that would still not be irreversible for Israel.
    “The Palestinian leadership (both Fatah and Hamas) does not regard a two-state solution as a prize, but as a
    shameful defeat that must be avoided at all cost. The only thing they are even willing to contemplate is a two-
    state non-solution, i.e. two states as a temporary truce with no end-of-conflict declaration.”
    The latter is what I propose (see the end of my post upthread on Jan 5 at 8:01 PM). An indefinite truce with
    statehood would be sufficient to test whether the Palestinians as a government and as a people are ready to
    coexist with Israel in a de facto sense, leaving to an unspecified future a final and official end to the conflict.
    If they fail even this test, then we would know that the Palestinians will never coexist with Israel. But if they
    accept an indefinite truce with statehood, something they do not have now, there could be a different answer,
    and I am asking if the benefit to Israel might be worth the risks of finding out.
    “In short, it would be more accurate to say that both sides of the I/P conflict think time IS on their side.”
    Yes, in the sense of changing geopolitical alignments. But a nuclear war between Iran and the Arab states in
    which the former targets Israel can hardly be a temporal outcome to which Israel looks forward. And if the
    Arab side wins and Israel survives, the Arab-Israeli dispute will resume.

    Reply

  30. nadine says:

    “What I think is true is that Israel’s sense of what it would lose by allowing and then retracting a Palestinian state on the West Bank is greater than its sense of what it costs to maintain the status quo right now. But that can’t go on forever. My scenario of testing a two-state solution won’t change the views of those who already hold Israel to a tougher standard. It would make it harder for anyone purporting to support Israel to continue to make a two-state solution a condition of support.” (David Billington)
    I think your notion of what it takes to maintain the status quo right now is based on the mistaken premise that the Palestinians actually want a state on the West Bank and that Israel is preventing this.
    In my opinion, nothing could be farther from the truth. The Palestinians have refused many states on the West Bank which they could have had. They are afraid of a deal increasing support for Israel, and are far more rich, comfortable and safe as they are now (I’m speaking of PA and Fatah leadership here) than they would be in a state, which would likely fall to Hamas with even greater bloodshed than we saw in Gaza in 2007. Being the world’s prime unaccusable victim group is a very good living indeed for the PA & Fatah leadership.
    The Palestinian leadership loves to whine about how oppressed they are by “the occupation”. Don’t be fooled by this! If they really felt so oppressed, they would feel pressure to negotiate to end the occupation; but as we have seen, they run from negotiation at every turn and nobody but the US even tries to pressure them to negotiate.
    The Palestinians have really convinced themselves that they will get everything for nothing in the end by saying “NO” to everything.
    The International Left supports them in this delusion because for the Left, the stalemate is 100% Israel’s fault by definition. The Palestinians, being the non-Western “oppressed,” are incapable of incurring blame no matter what they do.
    It is also important to remember that the core goal of Palestinianism has never been building Palestine, but destroying Israel. Any Palestinian leader who signed a two-state solution deal on any terms that left Israel standing, would immediately be condemned as a traitor by the majority of the Muslim world; even by the majority of Palestinians, as recent polls show.
    The Palestinian leadership (both Fatah and Hamas) does not regard a two-state solution as a prize, but as a shameful defeat that must be avoided at all cost. The only thing they are even willing to contemplate is a two-state non-solution, i.e. two states as a temporary truce with no end-of-conflict declaration.
    Meantime, the Palestinians, with wide backing from the OIC and the Euro Left, are waging an active campaign of delegitimization against Israel in the UN and elsewhere. The purpose of this campaign is to deprive Israel of all right to defend itself in the short term, and withdraw all international support for Israel’s existence in the long term. They like their chances with this campaign and certainly don’t intend to spoil it by agreeing to any two-state deals.
    “Time is not on anyone’s side. The Palestinian issue could soon become a sideshow to the
    impending nuclearization of Iran and the more important Arab states”
    I would argue that the Wikileaks cables show that the Palestinian issue is already a sideshow for the Sunni Arab states. The Israelis know this. The Israelis, like the Arabs, are focused on Iran and think the West Bank can keep as it is, esp. since Fayyad and the US-trained forces are keeping good order there for the moment and the local economy is booming.
    In short, it would be more accurate to say that both sides of the I/P conflict think time IS on their side. Which it why it was so unbelievably boneheaded for Obama to use up all his fp capital trying to force Mideast negotiations on a situation so unsuitable for negotiations that he couldn’t even get the parties to sit around the table.

    Reply

  31. David Billington says:

    “David, just ask yourself what would be the international reaction if Israel tried to reoccupy Gaza
    and you can see that the answer is “no”. Heck, look at the international reaction to a very mild
    blockade of Gaza where Israel trucked in tons of aid every week to make sure there was no
    humanitarian crisis. Look at the reaction to Israel defending itself after 10,000 rockets – the lies,
    the accusations, the ‘lawfare’ at the UN. Any reoccupation would ratchet this up to the nth power.
    You can see that Israel has been deterred, even though Abu Mazen and Hosni Mubarak were both
    rooting for Israel to smash Hamas – in private of course.” (Nadine)
    I don’t want to minimize the importance of world opinion but I don’t see it as a necessary
    constraint on Israeli action. The burden of having to police Gaza may be more of a deterrent to
    reoccupying the place than what European or American critics would think of Israel doing so.
    However, if Hamas ever got tactical nuclear weapons, you can be sure that Israel would reoccupy
    Gaza, whatever the cost, and world opinion wouldn’t matter.
    What I think is true is that Israel’s sense of what it would lose by allowing and then retracting a
    Palestinian state on the West Bank is greater than its sense of what it costs to maintain the status
    quo right now. But that can’t go on forever. My scenario of testing a two-state solution won’t
    change the views of those who already hold Israel to a tougher standard. It would make it harder
    for anyone purporting to support Israel to continue to make a two-state solution a condition of
    support. Of course, there will be those who find fault with the solution or its implementation and
    if it breaks down will go on urging endless diplomacy to find a compromise. But those who
    advocated a two-state solution in good faith will have their answer one way or the other: either it
    will work or it won’t. America at least is likely to be stronger in its support for Israel as a result,
    and that likelihood – stronger support either way – is what Israelis ought to consider as they look
    to the future.
    Time is not on anyone’s side. The Palestinian issue could soon become a sideshow to the
    impending nuclearization of Iran and the more important Arab states, and the rapid advance of
    China’s asymmetric military capabilities will change America’s defense priorities in about a
    decade and possibly sooner. But the Arab-Israeli dispute, even though not in my view the key to
    solving other conflicts in the region, is still a dispute worth trying to settle. Israel needs to
    consider taking risks that may look prohibitive today but may not be as serious as those on the
    horizon.
    “The answers are in there too. Look at Bethlehem, which used to be 80% Christian. Now 10% and
    dropping. The Christians are being driven out of the West Bank. The Christians are being driven
    out by the rising tide of Islamism all over the Middle East. Look at the Iraqi Christians. Look at
    the Egyptian Copts.”
    This is why I accept the principle that partition of the former Palestine mandate into two states is
    for now the only way to share it between Arabs and Jews, if majorities in both groups are willing
    to share it.

    Reply

  32. nadine says:

    Paul, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which is massively funded by oil money and has the clout of 56 nations at the UN, is working overtime to create a virtual bubble of sharia law around every Muslim, wherever he is.
    A more accurate way to speak of it is not that sharia law is being imposed over entire European countries (yet), but rather that European civil law is being withdrawn from Muslims and Muslim-dominated areas inside Europe, under pressure from the Islamic radicals in alliance with the multi-cultural European Left, backed by the OIC and the UN.
    Those Europeans who protest are called fascists, like Geert Wilders. Some of them may be; more will certainly be so in the future, if the mainstream parties continue to refuse to see or address the issue. Meantime the OIC pushes the UN to adopt Islamic versions of blasphemy laws under the guise of respect for religion and anti-Islamophobia.
    This is the process described by the historian Bat Ye’or in her various books on Eurabia.
    Can you say that Swedish law still operates in Malmo, or French law inside the banlieus around Paris? The last time an Israeli tennis team played in Malmo, the authorities banned all fans and made them play in an empty locked stadium. Local authorities admit they have lost control, yet the European mainstream parties still pretend nothing is amiss.

    Reply

  33. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag, I agree that the pogroms against Christians in parts of
    the Muslim world is deeply troubling, and deserve much more
    attention.
    I am, however, surprised by your gloomy description of the
    situation in Europe. The wishes of radicalized Muslims is one
    thing. Reality is something else. Could you please mention one
    European country which is even close to implementing Sharia
    today?

    Reply

  34. WigWag says:

    “The Christians are being driven out by the rising tide of Islamism all over the Middle East. Look at the Iraqi Christians. Look at the Egyptian Copts.” (Nadine)
    It is really shocking how little attention has been paid by political elites to the worldwide Jihadist pogroms against Christians. You mention the Iraqi Christians and the Egyptian Copts, Nadine, but as you know, it goes far further than that. Attacks by Muslims against Christians occur almost every day throughout the Muslim world. Think about Nigeria or Pakistan or even supposedly moderate Muslim nations like Indonesia or Malaysia. Christians are being slaughtered by Muslim extremists at an alarming rate for no reason other than their religion and very little is being done about it.
    Undoubtedly this will change before long. Several newly elected members of Congress have remarked on the issue and so has Eric Cantor, the new majority leader in the House. Of course we hear hardly a beep out of the Obama Administration about it.
    There is something deeply pathological; one might say sociopathic, afflicting wide swaths of the Muslim world. There is nothing unique about this to Muslims; Christendom spent more than a millennium butchering those who didn’t practice Christianity or practiced it in unorthodox ways. Anyone who reads the bible knows that Old Testament Israelites were also good at mass slaughter for no reason other than religion. Jews and Christians have largely put this history behind them; it’s the Muslim world that is smearing itself with infamy now.
    Dealing with this is complicated; there are no easy answers. But one thing is perfectly obvious; Barack Obama’s inclination to genuflect (literally) to every Arab potentate he meets is unlikely to solve the problem. Pleading friendship to an increasingly radicalized Muslim “street” is also a fraud masquerading as a policy. Those who think that a smaller U.S. footprint is a solution to the problem are deluding themselves; a larger U.S. military footprint in the Muslim world will be required; perhaps for decades.
    I do hope, though, that the United States never ends up like Europe, a place with a radicalized Muslim population trying to impose Sharia throughout the continent while the clueless Europeans prove pathetically incapable of a response.

    Reply

  35. Paul Norheim says:

    Off topic: There is an excellent essay by Francis Fukuyama in
    the latest issue of “The American Interest Online” – raising
    several important questions. Excerpt:
    “Scandalous as it may sound to the ears of Republicans
    schooled in Reaganomics, one critical measure of the health of
    a modern democracy is its ability to legitimately extract taxes
    from its own elites. The most dysfunctional societies in the
    developing world are those whose elites succeed either in
    legally exempting themselves from taxation, or in taking
    advantage of lax enforcement to evade them, thereby shifting
    the burden of public expenditure onto the rest of society.
    We therefore raise a different and more interesting set of
    questions regarding the relationship between money and power
    in contemporary America. All these questions come together,
    however, in a paramount puzzle: Why has a significant increase
    in income inequality in recent decades failed to generate
    political pressure from the left for redistributional redress, as
    similar trends did in earlier times? Instead, insofar as there is
    any populism bubbling from below in America today it comes
    from the Right, and its target is not just the

    Reply

  36. nadine says:

    “The record in Gaza is certainly discouraging, although it raises the question of why Israel
    doesn’t simply reoccupy Gaza if so many terrible things have resulted from evacuating it.
    The danger of an independent West Bank state to Israel can only exist if Israel is unable to
    reoccupy the area. The premise of my question is that Israel can reoccupy the area. ” (David Billington)
    David, just ask yourself what would be the international reaction if Israel tried to reoccupy Gaza and you can see that the answer is “no”. Heck, look at the international reaction to a very mild blockade of Gaza where Israel trucked in tons of aid every week to make sure there was no humanitarian crisis. Look at the reaction to Israel defending itself after 10,000 rockets – the lies, the accusations, the ‘lawfare’ at the UN. Any reoccupation would ratchet this up to the nth power. You can see that Israel has been deterred, even though Abu Mazen and Hosni Mubarak were both rooting for Israel to smash Hamas – in private of course.
    “The test will be the position of Palestinian Christians in any West Bank state”
    The answers are in there too. Look at Bethlehem, which used to be 80% Christian. Now 10% and dropping. The Christians are being driven out of the West Bank. The Christians are being driven out by the rising tide of Islamism all over the Middle East. Look at the Iraqi Christians. Look at the Egyptian Copts.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I saw an interesting conversation on the FP blog between one commenter and another who identified himself as a US Jew and very sincerely said he would take up arms against the US if….”
    An American Muslim, making the same threat online, would by now be in DHS custody, accused of making terrorist threats.

    Reply

  38. Dan Kervick says:

    John, I was trained in philosophy and taught it at the college level for 18 years. My dissertation adviser was Edmund Gettier – he of the famous Problem.

    Reply

  39. davidt says:

    Hi Steve,
    Happy New Year and thanks for the “hat tip”
    regarding your comments regarding Admiral Mullen
    on MSNBC.
    A few things.
    First of all, while I would not be unhappy if
    Secretary Clinton were able to work out the deal
    you suggest should be the price for Pollard. Can
    you think of a comparable situation / resolution?
    Is this an opportunity to lay a landmark down if
    any deal is made for Pollard which will be vastly
    more modest (unless there’s a chance that Mitch
    McConnell will swear fealty to any and all
    initiatives proposed by this president)? Why ask
    for so little? How’s about we throw in insisting
    that the Israelies eliminate all poverty in sub-
    Saharan Africa within 5 years? Or perhaps change
    their national language to Italian?
    Secondly, I find your approach here rather
    Manichean and may reflect less your views on how
    we deal with the unauthorized sharing of highly
    sensitive information than your views regarding
    Israel. I would suggest that you might consider
    trying as best you can to tease out the Israel
    elements and the spy elements. I’m no big fan of
    the current government and am concerned that our
    alliance with Israel may do us more harm than
    good. But if Pollard had shared the same material
    with, let’s say, Mexico or Jordan or even the
    government of Saudi Arabia, would you still view
    him as the same as Ames or Hansen? Aren’t there
    degrees here? If there aren’t, does not this
    argument put you closer to the vilification of
    Bradley Manning (no he didn’t share “crown jewels”
    but he did share quite a bit of secret information
    so the principle you suggest here would apply even
    if the consequences might be less severe).
    Finally, this might be an opportunity for you to
    broaden your point and posit a more general
    framework, for your wide readership, on what prism
    through which they can assess this issue whoever
    is president, whoever is the divulger of
    information and whoever is the other entity /
    country / etc. on the other side. If a particular
    diplomat shares war plans or weapons information
    with _____, are there any extenuating
    circumstances? I agree that what Pollard did was
    unacceptable. What I’m unclear is whether or not
    it might make sense to measure the crime partly
    based on how we view the entity the information
    was supplied to.
    Thanks.

    Reply

  40. John Waring says:

    Dan,
    What is your academic training? What subjects did you teach at the college level? Did you leave teaching and why?

    Reply

  41. Dan Kervick says:

    “These people are actually concerned about the harm their profession has done.”
    Of course they are, questions. But they are moral and tough-minded people, so they respond to a crisis with renewed vigor and a determination to do better the next time.
    For example, I don’t think Quiggin has any trouble at all with his “narrative”. He’s willing to tell a very compelling story about precisely where things have gone wrong.
    And DeLong laid out a bullet-pointed and analytically phrased list of errors and reassessments, not a soliloquy on woe and darkness and dust.
    Crisis, yes. Existential despair, no. I was still a college professor when 9/11 happened. Two days later, I chucked the textbook in my Critical Thinking class, and devoted the remainder of the semester to a collaborative class effort to collect information and evaluate the arguments that were already beginning to rage in the political discourse. My attitude was, “Now I really get to earn my salary.” And the change of direction really helped me put together a bunch of new ideas on the nature of the subject I was teaching. The students loved it and were very appreciative, and we all learned a lot. I was invigorated, not despondent and diffident. Rather than experiencing a sense of disorientation and loss of meaning, I had never felt such a strong sense of purpose. That’s the vibe I mostly pick up when I read what is written by today’s economists.
    On another personal note, my son has decided to declare an economics major. I told him I thought that was really great, because the next several years are bound to be very exciting, paradigm-upending and innovative times in the field of economics.

    Reply

  42. questions says:

    Do you honestly think that the broad range of economists who missed the bubble, who really thought the technocratic fixes would take care of things for all times, who thought it had been figured out aren’t having, I don’t know, some kind of emotional response to the failure of their profession?
    It’s not just “reason-based analysis” — when you spend a lot of policy years advocating one way, and you have to do u-turns after a disaster, you don’t just reappraise. You have a crisis.
    Mike Konczal, I think it is, has a little more emotion in his writing, Krugman is occasionally excruciating at this point, the Quiggen book is mystified that the zombie ideas keep coming back. None of this is mere technocratic analysis. These people are actually concerned about the harm their profession has done. I take this to be a good sign, actually.
    As for “I hate seeing you drive yourself…” I’m fine with my melancholia over public policy issues. After all, I now have the complete idiocy of the Republican Congress’s not reading the “icky” parts of the Constitution to cheer me up!

    Reply

  43. Dan Kervick says:

    questions,
    I read the DeLong piece, and it all sounds like careful, reason-based analysis and re-appraisal to me, not spiritual psychodrama.
    What DeLong, Quiggen and Krugman appear to be worrying about is large and important mistakes and intellectual failures in their chosen field of economics, which is a social science. Now it’s fine to call what that field of study is going through a “crisis”, so long as we understand that sciences go through crises of these kinds all the time, and crises push the practitioners of that science to improve their product. But it’s not a crisis of “meaning” or “self-worth”.
    If I am following a map, and it shows a street where no street actually exists, or doesn’t show a street where a street does actually exist, then I have learned that the map is defective and I need a better map. And when that gets back to the mapmakers, they will want to rework their map. And if there are many and wide-scale failures in the maps they produce, they will want to reexamine their map-making procedures and assumptions at a deeper level. If some people were severely hurt by their defective maps, they might and should feel really, really bad about their failures and be very determined to fix the problem and do better in the future.
    None of this means that:
    – The map-making profession has lost its “narrative core”.
    – Mapmakers now suffer from widespread feelings of forlorn meaninglessness, and worry that maps are insignificant tales told by idiots as mapmakers strut and fret upon the mortal stage.
    – Everything mapmakers ever learned about map-making, going back to grad school, has been revealed to be wrong.
    – Mapmakers no longer know where they fit in, or even whether their existence is worthwhile.
    – All of the secure boundaries of life, death, sex and desire have been thrown into disorder, doubt and perplexity by the bungling of maps.
    – Nobody even has any clear and plausible ideas about what is needed to fix the problem, or knows where to turn next.
    Economics failed in 2007 and 2008, on the whole, to predict the depth of the severe economic downturn that was just ahead, or to provide policy-makers with adequate warnings and policy tools to avert the downturn or adequately mitigate its effects. And that means that economic theorists need to go back to the drawing board and re-examine their assumptions, improve their intellectual product and do better. It doesn’t mean their spirits and humors are disordered.
    My impression is that social and scientific crises actually tend to have the opposite effect on people. They give them a set of serious and important problems to address and think hard about, and stimulate energy and renewed purpose.
    As for the “we” stuff, that’s just annoying. I hate it when people try to tell me what I’m thinking and feeling, or what “we” are going through. As in … “We all spent a lot of time worrying about Brad and Angelina in 2010, went crazy over Taylor and Justin, and texted and tweeted our brains out.”
    And I hate seeing you drive yourself into existential despair and Mercutio-like melancholy over political problems.

    Reply

  44. David Billington says:

    “This is just what we heard before Israel withdrew from Gaza, which was supposed to show
    us ‘how the Palestinians could manage their own affairs’ and to rally international support
    behind Israel as an obvious good-faith ‘step toward peace’.” (Nadine)
    The record in Gaza is certainly discouraging, although it raises the question of why Israel
    doesn’t simply reoccupy Gaza if so many terrible things have resulted from evacuating it.
    The danger of an independent West Bank state to Israel can only exist if Israel is unable to
    reoccupy the area. The premise of my question is that Israel can reoccupy the area. My
    question is whether, if Israel can indeed do this, it would be worthwhile for Israel to take
    the temporary risk of allowing a West Bank state. If Israel cannot reoccupy it, or if the cost
    of doing so would be too high, then allowing a West Bank state would not be worth the
    risk.
    “David Billington, I have never followed South African events very carefully. Did the ANC
    ever run on a program of returning South Africa to black-only status by massacreing or
    expelling every white person? If so they are comparable to Hamas. But I don’t think they
    did. Nor have they expelled the whites since taking power (tho by the total silence in media
    coverage of South Africa, I gather the actual results are far from the happy ending the MSM
    wished for).”
    The ANC always called for a multiracial South Africa. Other groups wanted to evict white
    settlers but after 1994 the electorate ignored them. Since then, things haven’t gone as well
    in the country as some had hoped, but race relations are among the lesser of the problems
    facing South Africa right now.
    “You really can’t talk about ‘majority rule’ in a Mideast context without looking at what
    happened to the Jews of the Mideast, and what the current status is of other minority
    groups – Copts, Maronites, Chaldean Christians, Druze, Kurds etc. Majority rule in Arab
    countries means there are no rights for minorities that the majority needs to accept.”
    The test will be the position of Palestinian Christians in any West Bank state.

    Reply

  45. questions says:

    OMG, Brad DeLong used the first person plural pronoun. QUICK!!! Go over and protest that he wasn’t including YOU, since YOU aren’t havin’ issues!
    (hope this isn’t over my snark limit, but I do feel better now!)

    Reply

  46. questions says:

    Oh and Dan, one more thing….
    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2011/01/what-have-we-learned-from-the-great-recession.html#comments
    This is to the comments, scroll up for the post.
    Sure looks like there’s debate, existential crisis, uncertainty, looking back and bemoaning… regarding economics. The commenters disagree in places, and funny thing, they aren’t nasty about it. The post by Brad DeLong is full of rethinking, worry about past mistakes, and so on.
    So maybe you’re just more “together” than average.

    Reply

  47. Carroll says:

    US jewishPosted by PissedOffAmerican, Jan 06 2011, 2:09PM – Link >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Every time I make a comment on Israel I have to remind myself it’s all a conversation dealing with the insane anyway.
    The whole concept and goal of Zionism was and is insane, from the beginning to it’s probable eventual end.
    Return the Jews to a land they inhabited for a tiny blip in time, as their ‘homeland’? Insane.
    Displace and steal another people’s land for it? Insane.
    Allow them to kill Arabs because Hitler killed Jews? Insane.
    Pump trillions upon trillions into it. Insane.
    Allowing US Zionist control of US politicians and policy? Insane.
    I saw an interesting conversation on the FP blog between one commenter and another who identified himself as a US Jew and very sincerely said he would take up arms against the US if it tried to curtail Israeli settlements and expansion.
    Now that would be be an interesting end to zionism.

    Reply

  48. questions says:

    Dan, thanks as always for the advice. On the other hand, the last time you were responding to someone else and I put in a comment, you basically told me to shut up!
    So, I was responding to a comment someone else posted, and I was noting not my own particular existential search for meaning, but rather the fact that Krugman, Konczal, Quiggen and a cast of many are all trying to figure out what went wrong with their entire profession and with everything they learned in grad school; meanwhile, the Cold Warriors are still trying to keep that narrative going; meanwhile….
    Krugman identified the problem with narrative-paralysis (though he didn’t quite put it that way) — this isn’t actually original to me (cf Thomas Kuhn, for one), but it is a pattern that is showing up all over the place.
    Take it up with Krugman, then, if you’re having such a hard time with my post.
    And if YOU can’t stand my use of “we”, talk to the boss around here and let him know that YOU need the word “we” deleted from my posts. I’m sure that many people are confused by the use of the first person plural pronoun and these very same people probably struggle deeply if they even bother to read my posts because suddenly they think they are having a crisis of meaning but then they remember that really they already know everything and that questions has fooled them again with that sneaky pronoun thing. Must be pretty hard to go through that experience.
    I will probably keep using “we” when it seems to be the word of the moment. And given the number of people and disciplines and arenas of thought and action that are all having similar crises of meaning, “we” does seem to be a useful term.
    Thanks again for your trenchant comments.

    Reply

  49. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “It’s more interesting to note that more ‘very serious people’ are talking about the fact that nothing will work on Israel P/I except force”
    What lends interest to that thought is the recent claims by Netanyahu that Obama basically said “Oh, forget it, you’ll just keep up this bullshit tactic of one freeze after another”, causing the latest three billion dollar blowjob to go up in smoke.
    Apparently, (if true), despite the cowardice that has rendered Obama irrelevent in the Isr/Pal situation, he at least “gets” what a fuckin’ scam this arrogant piece of shit Netanyahu is running.

    Reply

  50. Carroll says:

    Oh my!..I see nothing’s changed, same old, same old, isn’t it?
    Give Pollard to Israel in exchange for something?
    Contrary to being a ‘realistic’ trade the reality is it would be useless—Israel has never kept it’s word on anything.
    It’s more interesting to note that more ‘very serious people’ are talking about the fact that nothing will work on Israel P/I except force.

    Reply

  51. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “You should consider the possibility that, with some luck, the outcome of this process might be that you actually succeed in achieving clarity, focus, a coherent vision, a strong and integrated sense of moral purpose, and a well-ordered personal economy of means and ends”
    “Dan Kervick”, ever the optimist.

    Reply

  52. DonS says:

    Nice, Dan.

    Reply

  53. Dan Kervick says:

    questions,
    I think you should be more cautious about projecting your own current personal psychological preoccupations and existential struggles onto all of humanity, and should not presume to speak for all of us through the liberal use of the personal pronoun “we”. You really shouldn’t assume that every time you are personally confused, or struggling with a loss of meaning or purpose, that is a sign that all mankind is in the same place with you.
    It’s good that you read and research to seek answers to your questions. You should consider the possibility that, with some luck, the outcome of this process might be that you actually succeed in achieving clarity, focus, a coherent vision, a strong and integrated sense of moral purpose, and a well-ordered personal economy of means and ends. You are not doomed to radical Hamlet-like diffidence, vacillation and identity fragmentation.

    Reply

  54. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Blahblahblahblah…..”

    Reply

  55. questions says:

    W/W, I wouldn’t call it “delusion”. I’d call it a people without a dominant metaphor.
    The more I read around the fringes of economics, the more I come across this loss of meaning, understanding, pride in achievement, self-worth.
    It’s not just the econ profession that has lost a narrative core, and if the pomo people got anything wrong at all, it’s that dominant narratives appear to be pretty important to our psyches.
    So we strut and fret our hour on the stage searching for some kind of story to tell about what we desire, where we fit in, how much it’s worth to be here.
    And, to mix plays, we are in Hamlet mode for now, trying to put time back into joint because life and death, sex and death, desire and death have all come too close to each other, have all crossed what we thought were the reasonable boundaries of decency. Trust is low, suspicion is high, self-justification is rampant, and policy stupidity triumphs.
    So bring on the Mandela of the Palestinians, because for now we don’t even begin to know what is needed. (I actually vote for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy-related metaphors, but whatever.)
    And bring on the certainties of the Cold War, since for now all we have is the uncertainties of the GWOT.
    And bring on Viet Nam, since we still don’t know what that really means.
    And bring on all the zombie ideas because for now, we have nothing else. Eventually, something cool and interesting will emerge from our collective navel-gazing (naval-gazing?!) and we’ll have a new way to talk about what “they” need or what “we” need, or what it all means.

    Reply

  56. nadine says:

    “Nadine, there are now about half a million Israelis permanently settled in territories occupied in 1967. If your argument is that Oslo was a permanent permission slip for this kind of influx,” (Dan Kervick)
    My argument is that while Oslo holds (& the PA was created under its terms), it means what it says: the settlements were limited to existing footprint but not population. The Arab population of the West Bank has grown even faster than the Jewish, so there is very little change in relative position of the populations. This hyperbole about “colonizing” “expansionism” is just that, hyperbole.
    Meanwhile the Pals turned down two settlements that would have given them a Jew-free Palestine on over 95% of the West Bank.

    Reply

  57. WigWag says:

    “Mandela was arrested in 1964 before his organization could carry out any real violence. The ANC did not to my knowledge target civilians afterwards in the manner of the Palestinians headed by Barghouti. But Israel negotiated with Arafat, who was a terrorist himself, and the question is whether Barghouti would be any better than Arafat as a negotiating partner. As I said, I have my doubts, but I’m also not sure what Palestinian leaders would do in a changed situation and I wonder if the risk to Israel of finding out might be temporary enough to be worth taking.” (David Billington)
    I am happy to compare Barghouti to Arafat. But in your comment, you cited those on Israeli left who wanted to test the hypothesis that “Barghouti might be the Palestinian Nelson Mandela.” As I said earlier, that seems ridiculous to me.
    In a broader sense what I really find ridiculous (but also highly entertaining) is the penchant of both the left and the right to yearn for the glory days of the 1960s when leftists could self-righteously bask in the glory of the fight against apartheid while the right reveled in the muscularity of America’s Cold War confrontation with the Soviets.
    It is really a remarkable indication of how pathetically deluded members of both the left and the right have become that they crave to recapitulate their past adventures through modern day disputes.
    Right-wingers miss the Cold War so badly that they attempted to destroy a perfectly simple and innocuous treaty reducing nuclear weapons that first Bush and then Obama negotiated with the Russians.
    Left-wingers are, if anything, even more pathetic; this includes the Israeli leftwing. Their hearts stir at references to Mandela and the ANC and they hope against hope that maybe, just maybe, Americans will come to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the same light as the South African struggles of the 1980s.
    The bad news for the right is that Brezhnev is long dead; the bad news for the left is that Nelson Mandela is 93 years old and his ex-wife Winnie, who the left idolized, turned out to be a murdering creep.
    One would think that those pining for the glory days of the Cold War, or those pining to use Nelson Mandela as a metaphor for 21st century disputes, would realize how bizarrely anachronistic their views are.
    But I guess that would require a level of introspection that neither ardent members of the left or ardent members of the right are capable of.

    Reply

  58. Dan Kervick says:

    Nadine, there are now about half a million Israelis permanently settled in territories occupied in 1967. If your argument is that Oslo was a permanent permission slip for this kind of influx, you only reinforce my impression that the Israeli attitude toward diplomacy and international agreements is to exploit them as part of one scheme after another for permanently installing Israelis on other people’s land. Fortunately for the Israelis, Washington fully supports this approach.

    Reply

  59. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Otherwise you need to apologize for your error”
    ROFLMAO!!!! As if you or Nadine have ever apologized for any of the pure shit you post here 24/7, or the myriad of strawmen you invent to argue against.

    Reply

  60. WigWag says:

    I am sorry about your delusions, Mark, but this statement is factually incorrect,
    “You have clearly and repeatedly established two sets of criteria distinct and distant for Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and WikiLeaks on one side and your allies and leaders Jonathan Pollard, Jenny Rubin, Avigdor Lieberman, Shas, and Yisrael Beiteinu on the other.”
    I have never made any comment about either Julian Assange or Bradley Manning. If you can find a comment from me here or elsewhere suggesting that Bradley Manning or Julian Assange “be tried for treason” or prosecuted for anything else I invite you to produce it. Otherwise you need to apologize for your error.

    Reply

  61. nadine says:

    Mark, you obviously did not bother to read what I wrote.

    Reply

  62. nadine says:

    What settlers, indeed, Paul? Did the settlers just empty Ramallah of its inhabitants and colonize the city? How about Nablus? Qalqilya? Jenin? Bethlehem? No? So where are we talking about? What place has settlers now that didn’t have them when Oslo was signed?
    In the meantime, Israel destroyed its settlements in Gaza and got out. Ooh, not very expansionist, that. That would seem to go against Kervick’s little theory.
    Did it bring peace to Gaza or those parts of Israel within rocket-range of Gaza? Hm, maybe “settlements” aren’t really the issue after all.

    Reply

  63. Mark says:

    Wiggy and Nadine,
    You have clearly and repeatedly established two sets of criteria distinct and distant for Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and WikiLeaks on one side and your allies and leaders Jonathan Pollard, Jenny Rubin, Avigdor Lieberman, Shas, and Yisrael Beiteinu on the other.
    You, your allies, and your leaders have cast Pollard as a patriot on behalf of the settlers, Yisrael Beiteinu, and Lieberman. You have deemed any and all who dare to question Pollard or require his continued incarceration as anti-Semites, self-hating Jews, anti-Israel, and terrorists. You have ignored willfully Pollard’s repeated crimes against our country, the United States of America.
    Meanwhile, you, your allies, and your leaders have called for Julian Assange and Bradley Manning to be tried for treason and then hung, shot, and hung again. You have ignored the fact that Assange is not a U.S. citizen and cannot be tried for treason. You have ignored the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and, instead, advocated some sort of Soviet-like and/or Sheldon Adelson-funded-and-operated media in which censorship favorable to the government would be the first and only criteria of information presentation.
    In short, kids, you, your allies, and your leaders have sought to have one set of criteria for Pollard, Yisrael Beiteinu, and Lieberman and a counter set of criteria for Assange, Manning, and freedom of speech. Personally, you, your allies like Ms. Rubin, and your leaders make me laugh with your logical and ethical forms of gymnastics.
    Hypocrites, thy names are Wiggy, Nadine, Jenny Rubin, Avigdor Lieberman, and the one (and thankfully the only) John P. Normanson.
    Thanks for the laughs. Keep being your predictable you.

    Reply

  64. Paul Norheim says:

    Settlers? What settlers?

    Reply

  65. nadine says:

    Kervick, your entire thinking about I/P is based on the mythical process of Israel “absorbing and colonizing” the West Bank.
    But the borders of Oslo are still there; Area A (with 95% of the ever increasing Arab population of the West Bank) is still under the PA; nothing has changed. Well, Ramallah has a booming economy, that’s changed.
    Since your foundation is a myth, all your recommendations are equally false.
    I suggest you get out a map, and study the region you are talking about. Blah-blah ‘Israel is colonizing’, ‘expansionist’, ‘international law’ blah-blah, – all pure ideology unmoored to facts or geography or situation – doesn’t cut it for a discussion.

    Reply

  66. Neo Controll says:

    “The good news is that I think it probably is.”
    “Good” per Wig ‘zionist/Israel Firster/neocon” Wag

    Reply

  67. WigWag says:

    “The wishes of Jewish retirees in Florida will now be a much larger factor in White House thinking than any factors flowing from the Middle East itself.” (Dan Kervick)
    I fervently hope this is true. The good news is that I think it probably is.

    Reply

  68. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Kervick…..
    “When he was reduced to trading an enormous gift basket of American delicacies for a mere few months of Israeli compliance with international obligations, he was again told that his policy was too confrontational”
    Yet the incoming head of the Foreign Affairs council recently accused Obama of “giving the Palestinians everything they want”. Interesting the maggot would start her tenure by lying on Israel’s behalf even before she was officialy seated. Its a harbinger of things to come, all greased by the abject political cowardice of Barack Obama, and the duplicity of Hillary Clinton.
    Nadine…
    “Yes, Paul, that was purpose of the blockade. Israel said so both in private and out loud”
    Bullshit. The “out loud” reason given is to stop “dual use” items from coming in, weapons, supposedly, mainly. But when a State Department maggot was recently asked how pasta noodles fit in that category, he was unable to provide an answer. I remember, a couple of years ago, when the fuckin’ fascists even were stopping toilet paper for a while. The ONLY conclusion from such items being stopped is it is NOT being done for economic meddling, or defense. It is being done to harrass, indimidate and humiliate.
    “Since then, various international moves, like the furor over the Mavi Marmora incident, have forced Israel to ease up on the blockade, which means that Hamas is rich now……”
    And she says this SHIT with a straight face, I assume. She is a pathological liar for the state of Israel, with Steve providing her and her handlers with a free and widely read soapbox.

    Reply

  69. Dan Kervick says:

    Israel will face security challenges from Palestine if there is a genuine two-state solution. Israel will also face security challenges from the Palestinians if there is not a genuine two-state solution. The Israelis have shown repeatedly that minimizing their security risks vis-a-vis the Palestinians is not the central focus of their Palestine policy, since Israel voluntarily incurs additional, purely optional security risks every day from their program of colonizing and absorbing Palestine. The central focus of their policy is simply to take the Palestinian land they covet.
    So I don’t think it is very helpful to conceptualize the Israeli-Palestinian operation in Palestine as primarily an “occupation”, as though it were a purely military operation carried out for defensive military purposes. The Israeli operation in Palestine is, rather, a colonization and annexation operation with a military component. And there are many motives underlying the intense Israeli desire to colonize Palestine, only a few of which are related to “security”. Along with the religious motives, and motives connected to national mythology and self-image, there is the motive of providing endlessly expanding breathing space for the very open-ended and aggressively expansionist immigration policy practiced by Israelis. So long as the world’s Jews are hectored with entreaties to “go up” to Israel and join the “ingathering”, for so long Israel will need to keep expanding. Even without immigration, Israel will also need to keep expanding to accommodate the natalist policies that are in vogue among Israelis and Israel’s supporters.
    I wish Steve and others who should know better would stop perpetuating the myth that some new US approach is just around the corner, or that some new bureaucratic hero is poised to re-orient US policy on Israel in a firmer, more solution-oriented direction. The United States is a participant in the conflict, not an observer or mediator of it. Sometimes that participation consists only of hapless enabling. But more often than not, it consists of willful and eager support and protection for the Israeli land-taking operation. The support is financial, political and military all at once. None of the vague, contrarian scuttlebutt and flattery Steve hears on the Washington circuit will have significant impact on the guiding and long-established US policy of supporting and assisting the Israeli absorption of Palestine.
    Mssrs. Donilon and Ross, along with the entire established political leadership of the Democratic Party, are probably advising Obama each day to move closer to Israel. When Obama tried insisting that Israel adhere to its international obligations by refraining from further colonization, he was rebuffed both at home and in Israel, and told that his policy was too confrontational. When he was reduced to trading an enormous gift basket of American delicacies for a mere few months of Israeli compliance with international obligations, he was again told that his policy was too confrontational. The next stage is for Obama to simply give the delicacies away, with no strings attached. If he voices any reservations whatsoever about Israeli expansion, his chief advisers will tell him that his policy is still too confrontational. And that’s the way it’s going to go. Axelrod and Gibbs have already left the White House to gear up the re-election campaign. The wishes of Jewish retirees in Florida will now be a much larger factor in White House thinking than any factors flowing from the Middle East itself.
    If there is to be any momentum toward a resolution of the conflict that is even roughly in conformity with international law and requirements, that momentum will surely not come from the United States, since it is the consistent policy of the United States, guided by the US Congress, to impede any such momentum before it builds, and to thwart international law and requirements.

    Reply

  70. nadine says:

    “”Israel told U.S. officials in 2008 it would keep Gaza’s
    economy “on the brink of collapse” while avoiding a
    humanitarian crisis, according to U.S. diplomatic cables
    published by a Norwegian daily on Wednesday.”
    Yes, Paul, that was purpose of the blockade. Israel said so both in private and out loud. In the cable, US diplomats just acknowledge the facts. At the time, if you’ll recall, the facts were drowned out by the “international community” screaming about non-existent starvation in Gaza.
    Since then, various international moves, like the furor over the Mavi Marmora incident, have forced Israel to ease up on the blockade, which means that Hamas is rich now, an Iranian client, not in danger of being pushed out, fomenting perpetual war until Israel is destroyed, and preventing any peace settlement in the Mideast.
    That’s your work, you on the international Left. Congratulations. Are you satisfied with the results?

    Reply

  71. nadine says:

    David Billington, I have never followed South African events very carefully. Did the ANC ever run on a program of returning South Africa to black-only status by massacreing or expelling every white person? If so they are comparable to Hamas. But I don’t think they did. Nor have they expelled the whites since taking power (tho by the total silence in media coverage of South Africa, I gather the actual results are far from the happy ending the MSM wished for).
    You really can’t talk about ‘majority rule’ in a Mideast context without looking at what happened to the Jews of the Mideast, and what the current status is of other minority groups – Copts, Maronites, Chaldean Christians, Druze, Kurds etc. Majority rule in Arab countries means there are no rights for minorities that the majority needs to accept.

    Reply

  72. nadine says:

    “My question is whether Israel taking the risk of giving statehood to the West Bank would leave Israel in a stronger position afterwards, whatever happens, than maintaining the status quo. Those who have been calling for a two-state solution would have their answer if the idea is actually tested and found wanting. I am asking whether that would be better or worse for Israel than to continue with things as they are.” (David Billington)
    David, this idea of ‘testing’ the two-state solution sounds good in theory, but a quick look at past results should illustrate it’s a mirage.
    This is just what we heard before Israel withdrew from Gaza, which was supposed to show us ‘how the Palestinians could manage their own affairs’ and to rally international support behind Israel as an obvious good-faith ‘step toward peace’.
    Well, how did that work out? Did the international community see how the Palestinians managed their own affairs? When Hamas first took partial power in an election (2006) then full power in a bloody coup (2007), did the international community say, ‘oh no, this is not what we hoped for?’
    Not a bit of it. All we hear is how we are supposed to “engage” with Hamas because they are some kind of democrats now – though they have governed on a Islamist war program (much to distress of the Gazans) shot 10,000 rockets at Israel, and never stopped their calls for destruction of Israel and genocide of the Jews, esp. in Arabic.
    The diplomatic gains won from Bush by Sharon were reneged on by Obama. Furthermore, we see that withdrawing to the internationally-agreed border (which we are perpetually told would be the charm on the West Bank) did nothing to allow Israel to defend itself from over 10,000 rockets aimed at its civilians.
    On the contrary, the lies and ‘lawfare’ machine of the Palestinians cranked into high gear with the Goldstone report, in which Hamas fighters disappeared and Israel deliberately bombed innocent civilians who couldn’t possibly be the vanished Hamas fighters. (BTW Hamas admitted last Nov that 600-700 of its fighters were killed in the Gaza war, which is what Israel had said all along. Like the truth about the false ‘massacre of Jenin,’ the facts can come out after they no longer matter to the propaganda victory)
    Even the non-violent method of a blockade to keep Hamas impoverished without causing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza (again the MSM has quietly admitted there never was any starvation in Gaza, now that it no longer matters) brought Israel under direct enemy attack, this time from jihadis concealed in a ‘peacenik’ convoy designed to lift the blockade.
    So no, David, you can’t test any proposition when there is an accusable group on one side vs. an unaccusable group on the other. The guilt of the accusable group and the innocence of the unaccusable group is by definition; it cannot be shaken by the actions of any party.
    So any ‘test’ merely reinforces the foregone conclusion. The theory that you meant to test is unfalsifiable; no one can name any set of evidence that does not lend it more credence.
    Look how Steve Clemons clings to the idea that a new settlement freeze would bring an advance in the peace talks, even though Abbas refused to talk all through the last settlement freeze! Past results are never allowed to influence the theory.

    Reply

  73. David Billington says:

    Wigwag – “You suggest that if this happens all Israel will need to do is reoccupy the West Bank. I
    doubt it would be that simple; first of all, numerous nations have objected to Israel defending itself
    even when attacks originated from territory that didn’t have the status of a nation state; if Israel had to
    reoccupy an actual nation, the political reaction around the world could be even worse. Secondly,
    Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that all Palestinian militants
    need to do to attack Israel with impunity is hide their munitions and combatants amongst civilians.
    When Israel responds, the inevitable civilian casualties are too much for many nations to tolerate, this
    is especially true of the hypocritical and anti-Semitic European left.”
    I agree that reoccupation would carry a cost in the sense of returning things to the way they were
    before 2006. But I don’t think the objections from a section of world opinion would prevent Israel
    from acting in self-defense or that Palestinian statehood would present an inherently more difficult
    situation if that statehood is abused.
    My question is whether Israel taking the risk of giving statehood to the West Bank would leave Israel in
    a stronger position afterwards, whatever happens, than maintaining the status quo. Those who have
    been calling for a two-state solution would have their answer if the idea is actually tested and found
    wanting. I am asking whether that would be better or worse for Israel than to continue with things as
    they are.
    “I also find the analogy between Barghouti and Mandela ridiculous. There is no doubt that the African
    National Congress (ANC) engaged in unsavory acts at various times in its history; some ANC members
    were also terrorists. But as far as I am aware, there is little to no evidence that Mandela himself was
    guilty of cold-bloodied murder. The same cannot be said about Barghouti.”
    Mandela was arrested in 1964 before his organization could carry out any real violence. The ANC did
    not to my knowledge target civilians afterwards in the manner of the Palestinians headed by Barghouti.
    But Israel negotiated with Arafat, who was a terrorist himself, and the question is whether Barghouti
    would be any better than Arafat as a negotiating partner. As I said, I have my doubts, but I’m also not
    sure what Palestinian leaders would do in a changed situation and I wonder if the risk to Israel of
    finding out might be temporary enough to be worth taking.

    Reply

  74. John Waring says:

    To hell with releasing Pollard.

    Reply

  75. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “No, Paul, I’m an American”
    (With unpatriotic loyalties, I might add.)
    Paul, I could say…
    “Like many residents of Los Angeles, I oppose illegal immigration.”
    That IS NOT an admission or assertion that I live in Los Angeles, but is instead merely an assertion that I AGREE with many Angelenos.
    Yes, Wiggie’s “story” is a mystery.
    He, she, what, where, and why?
    I haven’t a clue.
    But your “Gotcha” in this case ain’t a “Gotcha!” at all. He(?) she(?) it(?) might just be expressing agreement with “many Israelis”, and NOT making a definitive statement about having residency in Israel.
    Too bad, really, as he(?) she(?) it(?) BELONGS in Israel, DESERVES to be in Israel, and SHOULD be in Israel. For good riddance, at the very least.

    Reply

  76. WigWag says:

    No, Paul, I’m an American; I don’t have Israeli citizenship. But like many Israelis, I am ambivalent about what to do about Margan Barghouti.

    Reply

  77. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag said:
    “Like many Israelis, I am ambivalent about the matter of
    Marwan Barghouti. I am not sure whether he should be released
    in exchange for Gilad Shalit; after all, releasing murderers in
    exchange for hostages taken by Hamas might serve to
    encourage more hostage taking. On the other hand, I don’t feel
    comfortable allowing Shalit to languish because I or others
    believe that the release of Barghouti would be unprincipled.”
    WigWag, I knew that you’re Jewish, but I have to admit that it
    comes as a surprise – after reading and discussing with you
    frequently on this blog for the last two-three years – that you
    are an Israeli citizen! I thought you were an American?
    Dual citizenship?
    I wouldn’t mind having that too.

    Reply

  78. DonS says:

    Chris, your post makes utter, accurate sense.
    Unfortunately, as you know, when it comes to Israel, all rules of the norm are out the window.

    Reply

  79. WigWag says:

    In response to David Billington (Jan 05 2011, 1:41PM)
    You say,
    “On a related matter, I would like to ask Wigwag and Nadine if they could assess the arguments that have been made in Israel for the release of the Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, either as part of an exchange with Hamas for Gilad Shalit or as a unilateral decision by Israel to influence negotiations with the Palestinians.”
    Like many Israelis, I am ambivalent about the matter of Marwan Barghouti. I am not sure whether he should be released in exchange for Gilad Shalit; after all, releasing murderers in exchange for hostages taken by Hamas might serve to encourage more hostage taking. On the other hand, I don’t feel comfortable allowing Shalit to languish because I or others believe that the release of Barghouti would be unprincipled.
    In terms of releasing Barghouti to advance the peace process; I think the concept is absurd. Regardless of what Barghouti, Abbas or Salaam Fayyad have concluded about the necessity of making peace with Israel, a substantial portion of the Palestinian population is unreconciled to the permanent existence of Israel. This is especially true of the Islamist portion of the Palestinian population that supports Hamas. Once they have their own nation, I have no doubt that this portion of the Palestinian population will launch rocket and terrorist attacks against Israel and that Israel’s position will be less secure not more secure. I also have little doubt that if the Palestinians get a nation of their own Hamas and other Islamist groups will, in short order, be ascendant. After all, because of its proclivity to violence, radical Islamism is ascendant throughout the Muslim world; there is little reason to believe that the same thing wouldn

    Reply

  80. Chris Johnson says:

    Spies are traded only for other spies, not other objectives, because the equation is balanced – our assets committed the same alleged crime under the other country’s system and we want to encourage replacements to collect intel for us. We demonstrate our strong commitment to free our people by releasing those who have committed heinous crimes against us. The other side faces exactly the same objectives and tradeoffs. Treating spies simply as assets subject to unrelated bargaining ignores these overriding elements of the spy release negotiation and throws the unrelated peace negotiation out of balance. If the opposing parties want peace badly enough, they need to find a way to negotiate and make the necessary concessions to advance their own interests. Does it serve Netanyahu’s interest to test our commitment to seek successful peace negotiations by having us pay such a price? Only if he believes the President lacks conviction and he is willing to test each U.S. President on this issue.

    Reply

  81. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Nadine – do you really think Barghouti is more of a killer than Begin and Shamir?”
    Probably not.
    But in Nadine’s mind, the worth of those killed differ greatly. After all, every fine Jew of Nadine’s superior genetic makeup knows that a Jew’s life is worth far more than a Muslim’s.
    Besides, haven’t you heard? Israel only kills in self defense.

    Reply

  82. DonS says:

    “A statement released by Democratic Representative Barney Frank “notes the positive impact that a grant of clemency would have in Israel, as a strong indication of the goodwill of our nation towards Israel and the Israeli people.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/former-u-s-deputy-defense-secretary-jonathan-pollard-must-be-freed-now-1.322113
    Maybe Barney needs to hike himself over to Israel too if he is so upset that the US isn’t showing sufficient “goodwill” towards Israel. Exactly what is it in the jerky politicians that makes them think they can blather such utter idiocies and be taken seriously?
    Exactly which billion dollar check the US has written to Israel over the past five decades has bounced?
    So how does Frank think he can leverage a slimebag spy like Pollard into some sort of guilt trip that the US hasn’t shown enough “goodwill” towards Israel.
    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Reply

  83. jdledell says:

    “Since men under his direct orders (the Tanzim) killed a lot of innocent Israelis during the second intifada, it wouldn’t be easy to strike a deal.”
    Nadine – do you really think Barghouti is more of a killer than Begin and Shamir?

    Reply

  84. David Billington says:

    Nadine, I take your point, and the analogy with Mandela is strained by the fact that for
    Israel the only acceptable outcome is partition of the former Palestine mandate and not
    majority rule in the territory as a whole.
    But I wonder if the analogy to South Africa might be testable in a different sense. The
    intentions of the African National Congress were not correctly forecast by their alliance
    with communists and others seeking radical change in South Africa during the period of
    ANC opposition. I wonder if we can be certain today about what the Palestinian Arabs
    would do with an actual state on the West Bank, as distinct from what they have now or
    could have had from any of the offers Israel has been willing to accept.
    Israel’s position seems to be that a Palestinian state without a final status agreement
    would be irrevocable, and fatal, to Israel. Whether or not it would be fatal would depend,
    though, on whether such a state would be irrevocable.
    I can imagine a two-state solution that neither side accepts as a final status but does
    agree to accept on an indefinite basis. If the Palestinians then use the West Bank in the
    manner that Hamas has used Gaza, then Israel could simply reoccupy the West Bank and
    Gaza. Is there a reason why testing Palestinian statehood in this way would be worse for
    Israel in the long run than to maintain the status quo?

    Reply

  85. Paul Norheim says:

    Posted by nadine, Jan 05 2011, 3:28PM – Link
    Nadine, you assume too much, read too much into what I write
    and force these complex issues to fit into absolute and
    extreme categories of either-or, where I am not willing to go.
    This makes it difficult, not to say impossible to have a dialogue
    with you. I have on different occasions written whole essays
    here in the past about how forces outside the US/ the West are
    to blame for a whole lot of stuff – some of the posts as direct
    responses to you. Still you harp on me only blaming America
    ad nauseam.
    You said: “if somebody else is now delivering results, then
    somebody else’s responsibility should be examined.”
    This process is still in flux, and it is to early to evaluate much
    of what is going on.
    You also said: “You mentioned Turkey’s recent actions – put
    bluntly, it changed sides from being an American ally to being
    an ally of Iran – as a reaction to the “problem” of America,
    instead of being Turkey’s decision for its own reasons.”
    Not only “blunt” – but again too much either or: Turkey has not
    signaled a categorical change from being an American ally to
    being an ally of Iran. And to the extent that there is a change in
    Turkish foreign policy (and there is!), this is BOTH a result of
    certain US actions, AND a result of Turkish considerations on
    an autonomous basis. Turkey reacts, but it acts too, like most
    actors on the political scene.
    I have strong objections to your resolute, militant, and
    categorical either-or world view.

    Reply

  86. Michele Kearney says:

    Thank you Steve for having the guts to say it.

    Reply

  87. Neo Controll says:

    “What harm did Pollard do to America?” subliminally opines the psychopath neocon nadine?
    Every word. Every word a lie.

    Reply

  88. nadine says:

    “I find it rather humor that WigWag and Jennifer Rubin demand the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of treason against the United States, and yet demand that WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange and U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning be shot, hung, and the shot again for committing treason against America.” (Mark)
    This is wildly exaggerated. Neither Jen Rubin or Wigwag said that Pollard was a hero who shouldn’t have been tried – which is exactly what Steve Clemons was saying about Julian Assange (he compared him to Ellsberg and the “Pentagon Papers”) until Assange released memos very embarrassing to the ‘realist’ fp camp. Jen Rubiin and Wigwag said that Pollard is being disproportionately punished for spying for an ally. What harm did Pollard do to America? He helped Israel to bomb the Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 – was that a harm?
    I don’t see how Assange could possibly be a traitor since he’s not an American. But he is an enemy.

    Reply

  89. nadine says:

    David, I can’t add much to your arguments pro and con about Marwan Barghouti. Since men under his direct orders (the Tanzim) killed a lot of innocent Israelis during the second intifada, it wouldn’t be easy to strike a deal.
    The West wants Barghouti to play the role of a Mandela in this fantasy they have going about a two-state solution. When it comes to propping up Western fantasies, journalists have learned to believe many lies and hide many truths. I particularly remember one day during the second intifada when Barghouti was allowed to present himself as a civilized peace-maker in the WaPo on the very same day his men machine-gunned a bar mitzvah in Israel.
    There is no evidence that Marwan Barghouti’s conception of a two-state solution is different from Arafat’s: a temporary phase on the way to No Israel, whose creation must not be allowed to prejudice ultimate Palestinian goals.

    Reply

  90. nadine says:

    “Like so many others who don’t live in America, I personally
    don’t believe in this myth. On the other hand, I disagree
    with those who place the root of evil in Washington DC.
    The world is a large and complex place, and there are
    many culprits and many troublemakers and conflictsolvers
    spread all over the world.” (Paul Norheim)
    So you claim, yet your assertions that America is no longer the sole superpower able to deliver results were not followed up by the logical conclusion that if somebody else is now delivering results, then somebody else’s responsibility should be examined.
    No, if America is no longer the superpower it is the problem. That’s what you said. You mentioned Turkey’s recent actions – put bluntly, it changed sides from being an American ally to being an ally of Iran – as a reaction to the “problem” of America, instead of being Turkey’s decision for its own reasons. You may claim that the world has many “culprits and troublemakers” but when it comes to specific examples, you have a list with only one name on it.

    Reply

  91. huh? says:

    Interesting questions David, but why would you as radical zionist mouthpieces for assessment. Dignifying their propaganda far too much.

    Reply

  92. David Billington says:

    On a related matter, I would like to ask Wigwag and Nadine if they could assess the arguments
    that have been made in Israel for the release of the Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, either
    as part of an exchange with Hamas for Gilad Shalit or as a unilateral decision by Israel to
    influence negotiations with the Palestinians.
    Barghouti is serving several life sentences in Israel right now, having been acquitted on a
    number of terrorism charges but convicted in the murder of five Israeli civilians. However, he
    continues to participate in Palestinian politics, having been selected to run for the Palestinian
    parliament ahead of Mahmoud Abbas (although in the election I believe he accepted third
    place). The Israeli left has argued that he could be a Palestinian version of Nelson Mandela.
    The evidence suggesting this are past statements by Barghouti endorsing a two-state solution
    and his conflict with Yasser Arafat over corruption in the Fatah movement. The Israeli right
    points to his leadership in the first and second Intifadas as evidence of terrorism and hostility
    to Israel’s existence.
    Barghouti has support among Palestinians who have voted for Hamas as well as among those
    who have voted for Fatah, and his release could possibly split both movements and shake up
    the political situation, especially if he were to lead a new movement capable of reaching a
    territory for peace agreement with Israel. That is, of course, an enormously big “if”. The
    question I have is whether in your view Barghouti could (or would) positively affect the
    situation enough to justify a prisoner exchange or unilateral release.

    Reply

  93. JohnH says:

    Obama seems intent on giving away ALL the US bargaining chips with Israel. Soon Israel will be swamped with US gifts (Pollard, $250 million missile defense, etc.)
    Since Israel will have gotten everything it could ever want, why would it bother to negotiate with the US any more? Or with the Palestinians?

    Reply

  94. Don Bacon says:

    There is a detailed account by M. E.

    Reply

  95. Mark says:

    I find it rather humor that WigWag and Jennifer Rubin demand the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of treason against the United States, and yet demand that WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange and U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning be shot, hung, and the shot again for committing treason against America.
    In the rather jaundiced eyes of WigWag and the all-too-predictable Ms. Rubin, Mr. Pollard is a patriot who defended Israel, G-d, the Torah, Judea, Samaria, and Avigdor Lieberman.
    Yet through those same quite jaundiced eyes, WigWag and Ms. Rubin see Mr. Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen and thus unable to commit treason against America, and Mr. Manning as treasonous terrorists who deserve immediate death.

    Reply

  96. dirk says:

    Well, the US could adopt a more Israel-like negotiation posture, thusly:
    Tell Israel that we’ve decided to execute Pollard, and ask them what they’ll give us in return for just keeping him in prison for life.

    Reply

  97. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, considering Rosen’s threatened disclosures, it seems, (as if we didn’t know), that acts of espionage involving AIPAC and Israelis, as well as members of our own governing body, are commonplace. Its not like Pollard stands alone in selling us out to and for the Israelis.
    As far as actual damage to our security and our interests, these maggots in Congress have Pollard beat in spades with their kow-towing and subsidation of the crimes and human rights abuses committed daily by Israel. The only thing wrong with making sure that Pollard rots the rest of his life away in prison is that there are so many that deserve to be in the same prison with him, but instead they’re pulling strings in Washington DC, getting rich, and handing a royal screwing to their constituency by having misplaced loyalties that manufacture policies that endanger our security.

    Reply

  98. Don Bacon says:

    I’ve noticed that the various news headlines have different slants on Netanyahu’s Pollard letter to Obama. The word release is widely used, and also pardon and clemency are seen.
    All the quotes from the letter I’ve seen use only the word “clemency,” at least three times. The words release and pardon are not used.
    I’m not a lawyer but from what I’ve read, clemency is merely some act of mercy, which might be a shortened sentence, fewer prison restrictions, a release or even a pardon. It’s up to the governing authority.

    Reply

  99. Dan Kervick says:

    As is so often the case, mainstream and establishment commentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict consistently runs at least two or three years behind the evolution of events on the ground. Both the Economist and Howard Sachar, for example, have recently produced calls for an imposed solution.
    Unfortunately, the time for Obama to take the lead on that kind of step was back in January and February of 2009, when his political capital was piled high at House of Morgan levels, and the presidential election was still almost four years away. But after two wasted years of feckless and fruitless peace-processism, Obama’s window of opportunity is now decisively closed, and the measures that Sachar and the Economist are rather belatedly proposing have no political chance of being taken by a US president who is already running for re-election.
    There might yet be a trade of some kind between Obama and Netanyahu. They are both politicians and therefore both have certain needs. But it won’t be over small potatoes like Pollard. Netanyahu is in a position to extract much more important changes in US foreign policy. Obama, on the other hand, will be looking for some kind of agreement on a Palestinian autonomous district, homeland or economic development zone that he can sell to liberal J Street-style Jewish voters in the fall of 2012 as “progress”, and sell to conservative Aipac-style Jewish voters as an Israeli-imposed Palestinian surrender agreement.
    The US Congress will be busy over the next couple of years moving as close as possible to Yisrael Beiteinu. Obama will attempt to position himself as the representative of the moderate middle – which in the right-wing American context now means Netanyahu. That’s the new normal. We’re all Likud now.
    If other countries in the world believe that a more firm and coercive approach is now required, they will have to find a way of elbowing the US aside diplomatically, and acting on their own. The UN won’t be of much use either, since the US will veto everything that comes up. But these countries will have to be wary, as they can certainly expect the US Congress to take punitive measures against countries who attempt to act outside the established Washington-Likud guidelines.

    Reply

  100. Paul Norheim says:

    “Seriously, Paul, you can’t really believe that the distant I/P
    conflict is responsible for Turkey’s foreign policy, so why
    speak as if it was?”
    There is nothing in my text suggesting that.
    “Nobody else can be either the solution or the problem,
    only the US? Nobody else makes decisions, acts in their
    own interests, in ways that may be helpful or harmful to
    the region as a whole?”
    There is nothing in my text suggesting that either. It’s all
    in your head, Nadine. However, the US has in the past
    often seen itself as the only indispensable power, the sole
    power able to solve certain problems and conflicts; and
    many people outside the US have agreed with that. Right
    now we’re seeing a significant change in that perception,
    and that’s what I wrote about in my post. Certain
    perceptions, in certain regions.
    If you ask me personally, I doubt that America is “the only
    indispensable nation”. Simply put: I think this concept is
    founded on a myth related to the fact that America is a
    nation of immigrants.
    Although there are many nice places outside the US, most
    people who settled down in The New World through the
    centuries escaped from religious and political persecution,
    tyranny, hunger, civil wars etc – first from Europe, later
    from “Third World” countries – thus steadily contributing
    to the creation of a collective myth that the outside world
    is a barbaric, tyrannic, or chaotic place, and only America
    can create order and secure conditions for freedom on the
    planet.
    This way of thinking also tends to influence US foreign
    policy, enhanced by the fact that several recent foreign
    ministers and influential advisors – from Kissinger via
    Brzezinski to Madeleine Albright, escaped from bad places
    at bad times in history. Unfortunately, this irrational myth
    is impossible to destroy, as it is connected to America’s
    raison d’etre, and feeds itself perpetually through
    individual experiences of new immigrants.
    Like so many others who don’t live in America, I personally
    don’t believe in this myth. On the other hand, I disagree
    with those who place the root of evil in Washington DC.
    The world is a large and complex place, and there are
    many culprits and many troublemakers and conflictsolvers
    spread all over the world.

    Reply

  101. Paul Norheim says:

    From Reuters/Aftenposten today:
    “Israel told U.S. officials in 2008 it would keep Gaza’s
    economy “on the brink of collapse” while avoiding a
    humanitarian crisis, according to U.S. diplomatic cables
    published by a Norwegian daily on Wednesday.
    Three cables cited by the Aftenposten newspaper, which
    has said it has all 250,000 U.S. cables leaked to WikiLeaks,
    showed that Israel kept the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv
    briefed on its internationally criticized blockade of the
    Gaza Strip. (…)
    “As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli
    officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic
    officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the
    Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite
    pushing it over the edge,” one of the cables read.
    Israel wanted the coastal territory’s economy “functioning
    at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a
    humanitarian crisis,” according to the November 3, 2008
    cable.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE7041GH20110105

    Reply

  102. nadine says:

    Seriously, Paul, you can’t really believe that the distant I/P conflict is responsible for Turkey’s foreign policy, so why speak as if it was? It would be far more sensible to ask how all the Arab states have managed to work themselves into such a pathetic state of weakness that both Turkey and Iran feel free to lord it over them.
    “The basic
    point, however, reflected in the quoted examples, is that
    America is perceived less and less as the “sole power able to
    solve conflicts”, and more and more as one of the big obstacles
    to solving them, even as a significant part of the problem. ” (Paul Norheim)
    So if the US is not the solution, it’s the problem. But it’s always the US that is to blame, that much is clear.
    Um, is that REALLY the only option? Nobody else can be either the solution or the problem, only the US? Nobody else makes decisions, acts in their own interests, in ways that may be helpful or harmful to the region as a whole?

    Reply

  103. Paul Norheim says:

    We all know – Steve included – that what Steve suggests in this
    post won’t happen. We know that Israel and the Palestinians are
    unable/unwilling to “do the deal” – and that the US consists of
    two opposing factions: Obama being the American equivalent
    of the weak PA leader Abbas, and Congress the equivalent of
    the uncompromising Hamas, making the US unsuitable for the
    task of being an unbiased broker willing to put the adequate
    pressure on the two parties.
    AIPAC “described the 112th Congress as

    Reply

  104. Martha Nakajima says:

    Don’t think Isreal would make a two-state deal just to get Pollard released. So why bother?

    Reply

  105. nadine says:

    Steve Clemons,
    I have no problem with Pollard being viewed as a bargaining chip. Convicted spies are always bargaining chips. I just remain aghast at your offhand remark that Pollard should be traded for a done deal on I/P. Neither the US nor Israel cannot deliver a “done deal” on I/P – two years of abject, embarrassing failure on Obama’s part should tell us that. Only the Palestinians could deliver a “done deal” by either taking some deal that they are offered or offering a deal of their own, which they absolutely refuse to do. Are you really unable to notice that the Palestinians refuse to negotiate?
    The Palestinians are totally convinced — and you’ve done your share in helping to convince them, Steve — that all they need ever say is “NO NO NO” to everything and not only will they get the entire West Bank for nothing, they will eventually get all of Israel for nothing too. So they won’t sign a deal. Not ever.
    Thinking that there is a “done deal” that could be achieved is so incredibly stupid that it really requires some explanation. Since I don’t think you are a moron, I can only put it down to some kind of collective insanity that has attached you to an unfalsifiable theory of the Middle East.

    Reply

  106. rc says:

    Dear Netanyahu
    Invoice and Receipt
    — Tribute for 12 months 2011
    — $2 billion p.a. plus one Pollard.
    Kind regards
    Obama

    Reply

  107. nadine says:

    “A number of officials strongly suspect that the Israelis repackaged much of Pollard’s material and provided it to the Soviet Union in exchange for continued Soviet permission for Jews to emigrate to Israel.” (Seymour Hirsch)
    The usual explanation for this 2001 claim by Hirsh is that Cap Weinberger intimated to the court that Pollard had passed information to the Soviets, which was never alleged or proven, besides passing information on Iraq to Israel, which was proven. This was the cause of Pollard’s unusually harsh sentence. Spies for allies usually serve about five years in jail. Pollard got a life sentence and has been in jail for twenty-five years.
    But we know now what Weinberger could not have known then, that the CIA was deeply compromised by its own spies Ames and Hanssen, who were the ones really passing the info to the Soviets.

    Reply

  108. The Pessimist says:

    So the fundamental question to the Obama administration now that Netanyahu has publically called for Pollard to be released is to whom is his value greater: to the Justice Department as an example of American rule of law or to the State Department as a factor in political gamesmanship?

    Reply

  109. JohnH says:

    Hmmm–AIPAC vs. the CIA. Interesting tug of war.

    Reply

  110. Don Bacon says:

    Arutz Sheva, 2004: Regarding the story that CIA Chief Tenet’s threat to resign botched a Pollard release. (excerpts)
    Tenet’s involvement with the story began to take root during the Wye Plantation talks between then-Prime Minister Netanyahu and then-U.S. President Clinton in October 1998. As part of the negotiations between the two countries, under which Israel agreed to withdraw from an additional 13% of Judea and Samaria, Clinton agreed to free Jonathan Pollard from prison. However, at an advanced point in the talks, Clinton told Netanyahu that he could not release Pollard, because Tenet had threatened to quit.
    Tenet denied that he had ever threatened to resign if Jonathan Pollard were freed. The Justice for Jonathan Pollard Organization also says that the Tenet threat is a “ridiculous excuse.”
    If Tenet did not threaten to resign, ask observers, then why did Clinton backtrack on his promise to Netanyahu? (end report)
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/63511
    Is the Big Dog involved again?

    Reply

  111. DonS says:

    John H, this, the political calculus equation, is the ugly flip side that the neocon-zionists will not say openly. I.e., the threat that by not acquiescing to Bibi’s ‘request’, Obama will [further] alienate himself from the heavily Jewish democratic donors. Instead, they dress up their plea for release in humanitarian language.
    I don’t believe it for a minute and, further, I don’t believe the vast majority of American Jews are in the least impressed by the crocodile tears for Pollard.

    Reply

  112. non-hater says:

    “A significant percentage of Pollard’s documents, including some that described the techniques the American Navy used to track Soviet submarines around the world, was of practical importance only to the Soviet Union.”
    Thanks for posting that link, DonB.

    Reply

  113. JohnH says:

    Would anyone here be surprised to see BO release Pollard in return for a few $million in AIPAC generated campaign contributions?
    Not me.
    As Steve says, Netanyahu generates his own weather…

    Reply

  114. Don Bacon says:

    Why Pollard Should Never Be Released (The Traitor)
    The New Yorker Magazine SEYMOUR M. HERSH
    November 22, 2001
    The Case Against Johnathon Pollard
    Harvard Law School professor Alan M. Dershowitz, who served as Pollard’s lawyer in the early nineteen-nineties, and three co-authors called for President Clinton to correct what they depicted as “this longstanding miscarriage of justice” in the Pollard case. There was nothing in Pollard’s indictment, they added, to suggest that he had “compromised the nation’s intelligence-gathering capabilities” or “betrayed worldwide intelligence data.”
    A number of officials strongly suspect that the Israelis repackaged much of Pollard’s material and provided it to the Soviet Union in exchange for continued Soviet permission for Jews to emigrate to Israel. Other officials go further, and say there was reason to believe that secret information was exchanged for Jews working in highly sensitive positions in the Soviet Union.
    A significant percentage of Pollard’s documents, including some that described the techniques the American Navy used to track Soviet submarines around the world, was of practical importance only to the Soviet Union. One longtime C.I.A. officer who worked as a station chief in the Middle East said he understood that “certain elements in the Israeli military had used it” — Pollard’s material — “to trade for people they wanted to get out,” including Jewish scientists working in missile technology and on nuclear issues.
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/576453/posts

    Reply

  115. Pasopablo says:

    Steve, I agree with your perfectly reasonable proposal. We have exhibited not a whit of strength in our bargaining position with Israel.

    Reply

  116. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I don’t understand. Is this just hyperbole? Why would Netanyahu –
    – or anyone else in the Israeli power structure — care enough about Pollard’s release to agree to that?”
    What isn’t hyperbole when making the asinine argument that any deals can be made with Israel that entail Israel making any real concessions???
    I concede that Steve’s proposal is surreal in its degree of impossibility, but so too are any lesser flights of fancy that expect us to believe that Israel will act honorably, honestly, or with anything other than contempt for a process that leads to peace.
    If Pollard is to be released, make these arrogant assholes just buy him back; They get Pollard, and we get to keep the billions of dollars we piss away over there annually.
    ‘Course, even then, with a signed contract, these bought and paid for worms in DC would still figure out a way to stuff Israel’s coffers with our tax dollars.

    Reply

  117. sanelib says:

    “If Netanyahu were to commit to collapse his government,
    reassemble with sensible pragmatists in the Knesset, and deliver
    definitively on an internationally-accepted two state arrangement
    between Israel and Palestine, then I would support releasing Pollard
    to the Israelis.”
    I don’t understand. Is this just hyperbole? Why would Netanyahu –
    – or anyone else in the Israeli power structure — care enough
    about Pollard’s release to agree to that? Which, with respect to
    “collapse and reassemble with sensible pragmatists,” is a political
    impossibility anyway?

    Reply

  118. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Whatever happened to that quaint ‘ol concept of equal justice under the law? Are we now a nation that dispenses justice by whim and political opportunity??
    Pollard was tried, convicted, and sentenced. Done deal. Don’t screw with it. There are plenty of people rotting in prison that DESERVE a second look, and some legal mercy. Pollard ain’t one of them.
    And who in their right mind believes this sack of shit snake Netanyahu will honor any deal he would make? Or that Clinton, Biden, or Obama have the guts to enforce any deal? We’d get six months of double talk and horseshit, these worms in Congress would send a few more billion bucks over, and the issue would fade from the spotlight with Pollard lounging poolside in Tel Aviv getting a blowjob from some high dollar Israeli hooker.
    The “moratorium” was horseshit propaganda, the “easing of the blockade” is horseshit propaganda, the “direct talks” were a fuckin’ sham, the “concessions” that Hillary got all blurry eyed about were a fiction. So now this lying conniving arrogant gas bag Netanyahu is going to “honor” any deal he makes in regards to Pollard?? For how long, just until Berman, Schumer, or one of the other whores crawls over there and tells him not to worry, he has their full support if he wants to tell Obama to go fuck himself?
    How many “deals” will we make with this piece of shit until we get sick of getting punked?
    Put Pollard in a cell with one of those Aryan Brotherhood wackos, and be done with it. With any luck, they’ll kill each other.

    Reply

  119. Neo Controll says:

    ‘Will President Obama be able to “to bridge the psychological abyss between him and the people of Israel”‘
    Oh puleeeeeze, double, nay, triple blind whamy from some amateur psychobabbling blackmailing accomplice.
    ‘Another question: Did Obama & Co. initiate this, or did Netanyahu dream it up on his own?’
    Very good question. Inquiring minds want to know.

    Reply

  120. Don Bacon says:

    “Obama could simultaneously do right by jailed agent, bolster his standing here, enable PM to demonstrate appreciation in diplomatic sphere.”
    That’s a sub-headline to an article by Tzachi Hanagbi, writing recently in the Jerusalem Post, wonderfully illustrates the master/puppet Israel/US relationship as he calls for a pardon for Pollard. (excerpts)
    “On November 21, 1985, Jonathan Pollard was apprehended by FBI agents, after having been denied refuge at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. At that time, I was serving as an adviser to acting prime minister and foreign minister Yitzhak Shamir,
    “Now, Obama has a unique opportunity to bridge the psychological abyss between him and the people of Israel: to grant a pardon to Jonathan Pollard. . .make it easier for Netanyahu to show his appreciation for the president, who is very interested in renewing the deadlocked diplomatic process. . . If Obama can muster the courage to work for a pardon for Pollard, . . could also quickly emerge as a brilliant gambit in the sphere of Israeli-American relations.” (end report)
    Will President Obama be able to “to bridge the psychological abyss between him and the people of Israel” and “muster the courage” to “grant a pardon to Jonathan Pollard” and thereby “make it easier for Netanyahu to show his appreciation” in the diplomatic sphere?
    Another question: Did Obama & Co. initiate this, or did Netanyahu dream it up on his own?

    Reply

  121. samuelburke says:

    amazing!!

    Reply

  122. non-hater says:

    The man is a traitor. He should rot. Let’s also not forget that Pollard took thousands upon thousands of documents, many of were not relevant to Israeli security. Let’s also not forget Israel refused to return most of them. And let’s not forget that there are outstanding questions about how and what information in these documents (or documents from Ames or Hanssen) made its way to the Soviet Union.
    The letter from Netanyahu is a major insult to the United States and it should be rejected in the strongest terms possible. I, of course, am not holding my breath on this.

    Reply

  123. DonS says:

    Dan, your position is laudible, but I disagree on numerous grounds. My biggest ‘what if’ has to do with Israel’s total unreliability; you can count on Israel to not obey, whether a deal, or international law. That said, it would be inane for Obama to sign on to this. You, more than most, should be able to give chapter and verse as to just how much mincemeat would be made of him from left, right and center.
    As a person who spent a good deal of his working life in close association with the injustices of the penal system, particularly on lower income, non violent offenders, I am sensitive to the US’ horrible record on incarceration. I would put Pollard somewhere down at the bottom of the list of victims of injustice when it comes to finding his case for release on compassionate grounds. Not even close. Matter of fact, in his case, I would have thrown away the key. You say 25 years is long enough. I say, based on what criteria? Pollard’s action defies comparison in my view.
    If it were to come to that, treating Pollard as a bargaining chip would be of little moral concern to me though I take your point that in it’s way it diminishes and sullies anything it touches. But I think we know international relations ain’t pretty. I certainly don’t share, but am not surprised at the feigned outrage of wigwag that seeing Pollard as a hostage is “unconscionable”; holding a mirror up in front of Pollard defines unconscionable. Complaining about not respecting Pollards “status” is unconscionable, IMO.
    On the strategic level, with more nations increasing the level of diplomatic recognition of the Palestinians, and the numerous emerging long term factors working against the continuation of Israel as a democracy, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bibi were trying to work some magic for a sham agreement on “two states” and, in that respect, why not throw in the kitchen sink (especially when Obama sucks as a plumber).
    I agree with you that any peace deal that the US is involved with nurturing should be above board and in recognition of Israel’s continued violation of international law and UN resolutions. It seems clear that, as usual, Israel is seeking to set the agenda. Pollard is a distraction; Israel is immune to bribes. Their game is extortion.

    Reply

  124. drew says:

    I imagine Pollard had residual intelligence value, post-
    conviction, which may well have kept him alive.
    I can see trading him for human assets; trading him for a policy
    commitment strikes me as a stretch. Has any such trade ever
    been made? My suspicion is that any smart adversary will never
    go for a deal like that; it’s too easy to start snatching guys as
    part of a diplomacy-by-other-means protocol.
    WigWag, your objections to using Pollard in some negotiation
    would make more sense if he were just a civilian. But he’s a
    stateless actor, a man who forfeited his benefits under the rule
    of law, and the rules of the game (see DonS, above) are simple:
    don’t get caught. He’s lucky to be alive.
    I had never read nor heard that the Israelis transshipped
    Pollard’s work product to the Soviets. Has that been documented
    anywhere?

    Reply

  125. Bill says:

    There is something very telling about Netanyahu, having crashed the peace talks in such a way as to make it a personal and political rebuff of Obama, turning around and asking for the release of a convicted spy. I suppose on surface, it’s just a simple maneuver than Netanyahu thinks will be popular with Israelis and Jewish Americans alike, but on a deeper level it shows a pretty stunning contempt for Obama. He clearly views himself as entirely in the driver’s seat, and sees on threat, or even ability to influence events, in Obama.

    Reply

  126. Sand says:

    So is it ‘official’ — George Mitchell has been given the boot, and “Israel’s lawyer” now takes over?
    LAURA ROZEN: U.S. Middle East peace efforts to resume — January 03, 2011
    “…Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that U.S. officials **led** by White House Middle East peace advisor Dennis Ross will come to Israel this week to try to revive the Middle East peace process…”
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0111/US_Middle_East_peace_efforts_to_resume.html
    **LOL**
    Rozen’s titbit in March 2010:
    “…

    Reply

  127. Dan Kervick says:

    I say let just him go. Twenty-five years seems long enough.
    I also don’t like the idea of trading Pollard for Israeli concessions on Palestine. The Israeli government is in violation of the international rule of law. It diminishes the majesty of the law to bribe people to obey it. The US should show the same principle and determination in upholding the rule of law in 2011 that it showed in convicting Pollard back in 1985.

    Reply

  128. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks for the clarification Wig. I stand by my post and
    recommendation. I agree that reasonable people could agree to
    disagree on whether he should be held for life or released, but
    that debate does not interest me. Netanyahu is one of the most
    brilliant ‘inventors of leverage’ I have ever witnessed. He creates
    his own weather constantly, and I wish some of our leaders
    would learn from him.
    All that said, I have a major difference with you here. To me
    Pollard is a spy that betrayed his own country in the paid service
    of another — and his value is either in holding him til he dies as
    some sort of deterrent to others and a check mark on national
    security justice or to use him to further our interests, which I
    argue — just as Jim Jones did at the WINEP annual conference
    last year as did Susan Rice at the Arab America Institute annual
    dinner — is in part delivering on two states.
    We traded lots of spies during the Cold War, and even after, to
    secure our national interest. I see no difference in this case.
    All best,
    Steve

    Reply

  129. WigWag says:

    Call him a bargaining chip; call him a hostage; it’s all the same thing. But he’s neither of those things; he’s a convicted prisoner who has been given a life sentence. Whether that sentence should be commuted is a judgment call that our system allows the President alone to make.
    As I said, a good case argument can be made for allowing him to be released or for keeping him imprisoned.
    Suggesting that he be traded for an outcome that you personally endorse is morally obtuse. Taken to its logical extreme your position is only slightly less bizarre than it would be if you endorsed the Hamas capture of Gilad Shalit. Hamas plans to use Shalit as a hostage to be exchanged for as many prisoners as they can get. Your position, Steve, is that the United States treat should Jonathan Pollard in precisely the same way; as a person whose disposition should not be based on what his own crime and current health dictates, but as a pawn in a game in which you have a particular interest. It’s not that your position is illogical; it’s perfectly logical. The problem is that your position is unconscionable.
    As for your comment about “name calling,” it would be name calling if I called you “stupid.” I would never do that because you’re not. I called your position “stupid” not you. Smart people write dumb things all the time; including me.
    None of this changes the fact that your post is indefensible.

    Reply

  130. arthur ziller says:

    You are absolutely right on this Steve. I am interested in the evidence with regard to passing the info on to the soviets. I would love to throw that back at the releaseniks.

    Reply

  131. DonS says:

    Since when have high value spies been anything BUT bargaining chips between nations? Pollard should be no different. What would possibly make Pollard different than any other spy? That his petitioner — his control — is Israel?
    Instead of differentiating Pollard in a positive light, as some do, because they see the US-Israeli relationship as “exceptional”, the shame he brings to that claim, and to the entire nation of Israel, works in exactly the opposite direction.

    Reply

  132. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks for the name calling WigWag. You try to be respectful on
    the surface, but labeling what I have written as stupidity is name
    calling.
    I have zero interest in Pollard on compassionate grounds. I do
    have an interest in what he can do to further American national
    interests — which is a two state deal. I would rather let things
    stand and have him die in prison, but Netanyahu has pushed the
    point.
    He betrayed his country and his worth in my eyes is only in what
    he can restore to the American national security interests that he
    helped undermine.
    I stand my ground on this one. You can refer to him as a
    hostage — I prefer that he be considered a bargaining chip. If
    he were to be released, the US would have to be a winner as a
    result — and to release on any other grounds would be
    unreasonable and uncoscionable.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  133. sanitychecker says:

    >> Convicted spies can be bargaining chips.
    Against our enemies perhaps, but not against our friends. If I give you $3 billion a year, how many extra bargaining chips do I need to get to you stop mugging old ladies at night?

    Reply

  134. WigWag says:

    Respectfully, the word that best describes Steve’s position is “stupidity.” He doesn’t want to treat Pollard as a prisoner he wants him to be treated as a hostage.
    People of good will can have differing opinions about the degree of Pollard’s culpability and whether his crime was so severe that releasing him would be inappropriate. People of good will can also disagree about whether the severity of Pollard’s sentence was a reflection of Casper Weinberger’s anti-Semitism or the desire by the U.S. intelligence services to cover-up their own blunders, mistakes and ineptitude. It is also reasonable to debate whether keeping Pollard imprisoned is proportionate to the way people who have committed similar or even worse espionage activities have been treated; one could even debate whether it even matters.
    The point is that there is an entirely reasonable argument that can be made for keeping Pollard in jail just like there is a reasonable argument to be made on compassionate grounds for releasing him.
    Steve’s desire that the United States treat Pollard as a hostage to the peace process rather than a prisoner who should be pardoned or not pardoned based on his own crime and behavior and health in jail is not only unreasonable, it is unconscionable.

    Reply

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