Saturday, December 06, 2003

Haaretz writer Sara Leibovich-Dar levelled some criticisms at Jpost. Jpost editor Bret Stephens responds that Leibovich-Dar is a tendentious interviewer and a plagiarist.

I variously read Jpost, Haaretz, and Yediot - all of them have good and bad writers (at Haaretz: Ari Shavit, Zeev Schiff, Amos Harel, and Amir Oren are the best ones). In 2002, Jpost and Haaretz both interviewed me about my blog, and Jpost was the more professional of the two. The Haaretz article has a lot of sloppy misquotes, including an anecdote told by Sgt. Stryker that was attributed to me. The Haaretz interviewer was also quite envious of my ability to say whatever I want on my blog.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

On the off chance that you were thinking of going to see the excellent musicians (like Omri Mor, Daniel Sarid, and Daniel Zamir's Ad Matai) at the Tel Aviv"Fringe Jazz Festival" , you might take a look at the home page of the Communist Party-sponsored arts space that's hosting it and have second thoughts.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Palestinian 'Geneva' negotiator Jamal Zakot on why Palestinians shouldn't fear that the plan would eliminate unlimited "right of return" to pre-1967 Israel for descendents of refugees from 1948:
"The document does not promise a full and collective return for millions of Palestinians, but it also does not cede this right. On the contrary: the proposed time frame for the solution of the refugee problem is five years, while the time frame for the Israeli retreat from the Palestinian lands [sic], evacuation of settlements and completion of installing Palestinian sovereignty on its lands according to the maps - which are more important than the texts - is only three years."
So Zakot is saying that the PA will first get everything that it wants in the West Bank/Gaza, so it will be able hold out and stay maximalist. And don't think that they wouldn't.

Arutz-7 translates the above from PA daily Al Hayat al Jadida. Perhaps Ribbity will take a closer look.

In the course of a discussion about an assertion by Norwegian Television that Israel's security fence is creating "apartheid", Bjorn Staerk enunciates the real issue regarding "antisemitism" among European media and intelligentsia:
We don't have to call it anti-semitism or Jew-hatred. Those words are so intertwined with modern history that their defining qualities have been pushed aside. But "irrational fear of and attribution of malicious intent to the only country in the world that is dominantly Jewish, and Jewish influences in other countries" covers it. It highlights the sinister part without strawman-friendly diversions like whether this is hate, or whether Hitler would have approved.

I've been thinking along similar lines for a while. We just need a good name for this phenomenon - eg. where Tony Judt will wave away physical and verbal attacks on Jews by Europeans as "misguided", while castigating (with comparisons to Pontius Pilate) Israeli leftists who have become (understandably) disillusioned.

Standard liberal gestures - ie. trying to "understand", suspending judgement, trying to "build bridges" - just seem to be absent. Although the Guardian seems to have started changing in the past week or two.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The Swiss just wouldn't risk offending the Palestinians (report):
It had been agreed beforehand that a message from Arafat would not be read aloud at the ceremony - but at the last moment the PA delegation demanded and threatened, and the Swiss hosts gave in. The message from Arafat, considered to be the father of modern-day terrorism, stated, "While Israel continues to build a Berlin Wall, we hold an olive branch.
So apparently in Geneva they blamed Israel for everything, cursed at the fence, and called Sharon a "fascist". And no criticism at all for the Palis.

The one-sidedness is partly because that's how many of these people actually think. But it's also because any criticism of Arafat or the Palis would "offend" the Palestinian delegation. Castigating Israel and giving Arafat a free ride is part of trying to drum up Palestinian support for the Geneva enterprise.

Similarly, if some peace plan gets support from an Israeli gov't (whether Likud or Labor), Palestinian support for it is then likely to decrease. The thinking is: "if the Israelis are willing to accept it, then it's probably a trick and we should be demanding more".
Heard the Geneva affair (including some of the Carter speech) on Channel 2 news. I bet most of the people there never actually read the "accords", and have no recollection of the Camp David or Taba negotiations (except for Beilin & co. of course, who were present at them).

Carter apparently called repeatedly for "return" of refugees to the territories beyond what the "accords" call for. He obviously hasn't read the documents, which call for unlimited settling of refugees into the "territories" and an additional "limited" (but TBD) number of refugees to be settled in Israel proper.

More: This article describes how Carter and Arafat have a longstanding close relationship (via Kesher Talk). Carter is not disturbed by Arafat's support for Al-Aqsa Brigades etc.

Monday, December 01, 2003

I will eventually force myself to read the reports of the Geneva "signing". Most normal people would probably not be able to participate at this thing in an official capacity (eg. by making a speech) without somehow noting that it's basically meaningless.

But professional politicians (and ex-politicians) aren't normal people, and will largely ignor the fact that Beilin etc. have no mandate from the Israeli public, and that the hypocritical Palestinian delegates don't even represent themselves, let alone Arafat or the Palestinian public.

The real evidence of the shallowness of the sponsors (ie. Blair, Carter et. al. ) is that none of them will actually try to treat the Palestinians' ostensible (though mega-ambiguous) blessing of the Geneva document as readiness to make the single concession that it apparently requires of them - ie. giving up their demand that millions of descendents of refugees from the 1948 war be settled in Israel proper.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Still on the very local side of things: Jpost print edition has more info on the Templer cemetery in Jerusalem's German Colony neighborhood and Beilin's plan (ie. 'Geneva') to provide the PA with "access" (which is not defined within the Geneva document).

The area actually contains two burial grounds - the one belonging to the Templers has been unused for about 50 yrs; a second one belongs to an evangelical Christian movement, whose administrator expressed surprise that the PA had expressed any interest in the site. This confirms to me that the provision was a not-particularly-well-considered "tit-for-tat" in exchange for Israeli access/sovereignty of the large and centuries-old Jewish cemetery on Mt. Scopus.