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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Roger Cohen: "Captain Crunch Time"

Once again Roger Cohen has breezed into Israel, and in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Crunch Time", embellished with a Jerusalem dateline, he informs us:

"Obama has to look over the horizon and ask Netanyahu this question:

'Mr. Prime Minister, I understand your security concerns. The United States will always stand by Israel. But tell me this: If all your security concerns are met, all of them, what is the border you want for Israel?'”

The fallacy and fatuity of Cohen's op-ed are to be found in the above premise: Neither the U.S. nor anyone else, except Israel itself, can currently meet Israel's security needs.

Consider Israel's northern border with Lebanon. Notwithstanding UN Resolution 1701, which calls for a permanent ceasefire to be based on the creation of a buffer zone free of armed personnel other than UN and Lebanese Forces, Hezbollah has amassed thousands of Iranian and Syrian rockets and missiles in the region and prevents UNIFIL troops from enforcing the resolution.

Should a Palestinian state immediately be declared, who will prevent Hamas from accumulating weaponry in the West Bank, as it has done in Gaza, and firing an occasional rocket or missile at Ben Gurion Airport, which is five miles away from the border with the Palestinian Authority? Or at Tel Aviv, some ten miles away? Or at western Jerusalem, immediately adjacent to the Palestinian Authority? And when it happens, will the world again call for Israel to respond "proportionately"?

Unfortunately, there are certain problems that are not ripe for solution, and Obama has yet to learn this lesson.

Roger Cohen? Without a knowledge of Hebrew or Arabic and without 30 years covering the scene, he is almost as credible writing from his Jerusalem hotel and citing a mysterious anonymous "Israeli official" as he was declaring that Iran is "not totalitarian" during his recent sojourns in Teheran.


  1. Congatulations for for efforts on free speech at the NYT. Your comment#22 is currently in second place for reader's recommendations.

    My comment is stuck in the moderator queue, ten hours later. Must be taking a long coffee break. Or, perhaps I went too far with my point about Ramat Shlomo :) (I almost included "Captain Crunch" in my comment, but it did not fit my mood at the time)

    "Why would Russia or China, support such a Security Council resolution?

    Even if one passed, would it be enforced as well as UNSC resolution 1701? Wherein Hezbollah is no longer an armed militia inside Lebanon?

    Would American troops physically remove Jews from their homes in the north Jerusalem neighborhood, but east of the 1967 armistice line, of Ramat Shlomo?

    Who would be the head of a Palestinian State? Would they dare to have elections?"


  2. K2K,

    I see that your comment was ultimately posted, although I don't know why it took the moderator so much time.

    The silver lining to this story: The lack of interest in Roger Cohen.

  3. congrats on your comment.

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  4. JG: I sense the NYT moderators always delay approval of most of the pro-Israel comments so they are the least likely to be read.

    The NYT never puts Cohen in the US edition, only the IHT.

    As I read comments, one of the biggest faux complaints is the U.S. 'foreign aid' to Israel, which was part of the peace treaty with Egypt. An early fight with the new House of Rep is about putting the aid, all of which is military with onerous strings attached, into the DoDefense budget. Glick notes that is how the U.S. handles South Korea aid, which I did not know.

    I hope that change happens, if only to stop that whining. I think Israel would prefer to be freed of the military aid tie, but I also believe that the U.S. military really depends on the alliance with Israel. It begs repeating that the fate of the Suez Canal and all adjacent sea lanes depends on the US and EU having ONE reliable ally, Israel.

    It bothers me that so many do not see this strategic geography as a core interest.

    Even when I do not comment, I always enjoy reading your blogposts.

    Keep up the good fight!