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Friday, March 20, 2015

Dana Milbank, "Can Israel remain a democracy?": Yes!

After telling us how he plunged his infant daughter into a ritual bath to convert her to Judaism, Dana Milbank, in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Can Israel remain a democracy?, describes Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's actions leading up to Israel's elections as "monstrous." Milbank writes (my emphasis in red):

"Israel, the Jewish state, is the antidote to this fear. The Law of Return, enacted by David Ben-Gurion’s government in 1950, guarantees Israeli citizenship to all Jews who move to Israel. This was meant to guarantee that Israel would remain Jewish (Palestinians, controversially, are not granted this right) but it also meant that, after the Holocaust, and thousands of years of wandering, there was finally a place to which all Jews could go, and defend ourselves, if nowhere else was safe.

This is why Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions on the eve of this week’s Israeli elections were so monstrous. In a successful bid to take votes from far-right parties, the prime minister vowed that there would be no Palestinian state as long as he’s in charge. It was an unmasking of sorts, revealing what many suspected all along: He had no interest in a two-state solution."

Well, Dana, if you're going to accuse Netanyahu of behaving like a monster, don't you think you should tell your readers everything that he said? True, he did confirm that a Palestinian state would not arise if he was reelected as prime minister, but this declaration came after he stated (again, my emphasis in red):

"I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands today is simply giving territory to radical Islam to attack the State of Israel."

This explanation didn't find its way into Milbank's opinion piece.

Do you speak Hebrew, Dana? Did you listen to Netanyahu's interview before labelling his actions as "monstrous"? Don't you think it's incumbent upon you to provide the full context of Netanyahu's remarks? Is what Netanyahu said so incomprehensible at a time when chaos reigns in Syria, Iran is perpetually threatening Israel with annihilation, ISIS is running rampant in Iraq, and the Hamas charter continues to call for the murder of all Jews?

Moreover, in order for there to be a two-state solution, a willing partner is required. In 2008, Palestinian Authority President Abbas rejected Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's peace offer providing the Palestinians with an independent state along the 1967 lines together with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem. One year later, after Netanyahu declared a 10-month settlement freeze "to restart peace talks" at the request of Obama, Abbas delayed entering negotiations until the last moment and then walked away from the discussions. The reality is that Abbas, in a perpetual conflict with Hamas, is too weak to sign a peace agreement with Israel, but Netanyahu is of course the "monster."

You see, Dana, I firmly believe in a two-state solution, but not before the Palestinians, i.e. both Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza, acknowledge Israel's right to live in peace. Shouldn't Israel be allowed that much?

Did Netanyahu behave in a "monstrous" fashion? I don't think so. I would reserve that adjective for the beheading of Christian Copts by ISIS in Libya last month. Or for Assad's use of chlorine against Syrian civilians in the town of Sarmin last week. Or for the "honor killings" of Palestinian women in Gaza and the West Bank. Or for the ongoing hanging of homosexuals in Iran. But heck, Obama wants to tar and feather Netanyahu, and his media minions are obliged to indulge his wishes.

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