Condi Looks for Tips on the Mideast; Will the Advice Amount to Anything?
Columnist Diana West writes on www.Townhall . com Nov. 2 about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recipe for diplomatic failure:
"Funny thing happened recently. Or, rather, it didn't.
"A hunk of juicy news broke, hit the wires and fell with a thud into media oblivion. No one cared. And what did no one care about? Let me quote from the original Reuters story: 'Anxious not to repeat mistakes of past Middle East peace-making, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has turned to former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter for tips ahead of her own conference (in Annapolis) this year.'
"Wait a minute. Rice has turned to Bill Clinton, who famously told Yasser Arafat, 'You have made me a failure,' ... And to Jimmy 'Day 444 of the Hostage Crisis' Carter, who can't stand the Bush administration almost as much as he can't stand Israel? The last time these two ex-presidents got together, they sealed a deal with Kim Jong-Il that, in exchange for a promise to eschew nuclear weapons, delivered nuclear technology to North Korea. She's turning to them for tips?
"Rub your eyes in bewilderment, but there's more: 'Other sources have been former U.S. negotiator Dennis Ross and ex-secretaries of state James Baker, Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright.' The names to cause special dismay here are James '(expletive) the Jews' Baker, and Madeleine 'running wild after Arafat' Albright. (Not that Dennis Ross, who never met a peace process he couldn't draw out, or Henry Kissinger, who may be regarded as the original architect of the U.S. policy that has consistently barred Israel from victory over her enemies, exactly inspire confidence.)
"So let's recap. Rice is 'reaching out,' as her State Department spokesman put it in New Age diplo-speak, to living legends of failed U.S. policy in the Middle East, including among them some of the most hostile critics of her own Bush administration, the war on terror, Israel or all of the above. This is at least bizarre enough to raise a few questions.
"Or am I being harsh? Hah. For decades, American Middle East policy has been set according to a Big Lie: that the two sides, Jew and Muslim, were equally desirous of peaceful co-existence. This is demonstrably false. Only Israel desires peaceful coexistence with the Arabs; the Arabs only desire Israel's annihilation. That's why the 'peace' American policy continually chases can never be more than a 'process' -- a process, in fits and starts, that comes closer to its own hideous conclusion with every successive administration. For what can put an end to such a lie-based 'process' but the end of Israel itself? Certainly, the long, wearing process has degraded the very concept of Israel -- the idea of inviolable sovereignty, borders, capital -- even identity. It was a long way from 'Gaza, Never!' to 'Gaza, Take it!' -- but not, of course, too long for the peace process.
"It's been a long way from 'Jerusalem, Never!' to 'Jerusalem, It might be negotiable.' Now the next stage in the process looms in Annapolis. But the longer the peace process goes on, the more vulnerable Israel becomes to Arab conquest -- and the more vulnerable the concept of Israel becomes to the next stretch of the peace process.
"So, Condi is looking for 'tips' from Bill Clinton, who wound down his administration so obsessed with the 'peace process' in the Middle East -- a legacy to trump his impeachment. And from Albright, probably best remembered for clacking down a long corridor in high heels to implore a miffed Arafat to return to 'the table' -- and a lot of good that did, demeaning the United States in the process."
While Jews Were Trying to Survive, Power and Politics Fell by the Wayside
Scholar Ruth Wisse writes in The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com ) on Nov. 4 about the myths about Jewish power:
"These days, it's becoming downright chic to hint forebodingly that America's Jews are just too powerful. But whether it's the political scientists John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, or former president Jimmy Carter, those who accuse modern Jews of having excessive clout are getting it precisely backward. In the real world, Jews have too little power and influence. They also have too little self-confidence about defending themselves.
"Consider a basic paradox. Even anti-Semites often give Jews credit for having exceptional intelligence. Self-congratulatory Web sites reckon that Jews, who make up about .2 percent of the world's population, have been awarded more than 160 Nobel Prizes. But if Jews are so smart, why do 22 Arab League countries account for a tenth of the earth's land surface, while the Israelis struggle to secure a country that is 1/19th the size of California? If Jews are so powerful, why does Israel attract twice as many venture-capital investments as all of Europe, even while it's the only one of the United Nations' 192 member states that has been charged with racism for the crime of its existence? How powerful is that?
"In fact, there's an excellent reason why Jewish intellectual achievement sits alongside political weakness. Simply put, Jewish achievement in other areas has come at the expense of political strength, and the strange relationship of Jews and power has made them history's favorite prey. Centuries of survival in other people's lands prevented Jews from achieving full acceptance and access to the levers of government. Some individual Jews may have lived large, but the Jewish people as a whole lived on sufferance, afraid to antagonize those from whom they sought tolerance.
"For more than 18 centuries, Jews survived as a nation without three basic staples of nationhood: land, central government and independent means of self-defense. Instead, Jews turned to strategies of accommodation.
"The creation of the State of Israel in May 1948, after the carnage of the Holocaust, was supposed to change all this. But the newly formed Arab League made opposition to Israel the only common goal of its otherwise quarrelsome membership. The new United Nations, tribune of emerging postcolonial nations, did not protect Israel from assault, and, over time, the world body became a party to the Arab League's war against Jewish statehood.
"What about American Jewry? Mearsheimer and Walt allege that a Jewish cabal dictates U.S. policy in the Middle East, helping Israeli interests and hurting U.S. ones. So have American Jews really begun to mobilize effectively to protect Israel, or are people again overstating Jewish power and its supposed dangers?
"Consider the halls of ivy where, if anywhere, the intellectual firepower of Jews might be expected to be on display in defense of Jewish interests. Jewish professors themselves lead the anti-Israel barrage. In fact, Mearsheimer and Walt expected Jewish organizations to sponsor their talks and complained of 'censorship' when the groups did not. Clearly, there is nothing quite as fun -- or as lucrative -- as baiting Jews.
"I understand why some Jews and Israelis try to escape this assault through assimilation or denial, or even by joining their assailants. It's seductive to hope that by accommodating our enemies, we will be allowed to live in peace.
"But the strategy of accommodation that historically turned Jews into a no-fail target is the course least likely to stop ongoing acts of aggression against them. Indeed, anti-Jewish politics will end only when those who practice it accept the democratic values of religious pluralism and political choice -- or are forced to pay a high enough price for flouting them."