David Horovitz is beyond praise—for earlier newspaper leadership ; for his new indispensableTimes of Israel ; for his expertise, knowledge and journalistic professionalism ; for his urbanity, courtesy, civility, equanimity ; and for his commitment to news and opinion pluralism– to the diffusion of the widest possible spectrum of responsible opinion and news analysis.
But his 12 reasons he says the US has let down Israel are dead-wrong and the reverse are more true; Israel has terribly let down the US and acted like the opposite of an ally.
1. David: “You’d think that an ally would not legitimize, as part of the Palestinian government, an organization bent on the destruction of Israel.”
Reply: But the TOI also reports: “The US believes Abbas has “formed an interim technocratic government…that does not include members affiliated with Hamas.” Therefore… “with what we know now, we will work with this government…. [Washington] will continue to evaluate the composition and policies of the new government and if needed we’ll modify our approach…. watching carefully to make sure that the unity government upholds the principles that serve as preconditions for continuing US aid to the PA.” (“Israel denounces US for accepting Abbas’s Hamas-backed government.”)
So: With highest respect: David is roiling waters & and even and tragically inexplicably helping foment irrational anti-US Israeli attitudes.
- “An ally would listen to the advice of well-meaning experts… It would have been better for to start working systematically, investing time, money and leverage…. Every credible, peace-supporting voice on the ground here told the Americans exactly this before they set out.”
Reply: First. Just because David may think there was a “better way,” it does means something entirely different that the US–“failed its ally.”
Second. Many experts from Martin Indyk to Gershon Baskin to Uri Savir to Tzipi Livni to just as many others, believe Americans did exactly right. So it insults American and Israeli experts alike. “Every” expert? — with all respect—reverses the truth. David cherry-picks his “experts”– raising the temperature and exacerbating ill will. It so much saddens me to say it, but he seems to be making use of the fact that “success has many parents but failure is an orphan,” for some unclear political purposes.
3. “While we’re talking about producing a more conducive climate, you’d think an ally would use its regional clout and leverage to work with partners in the region to rehouse Palestinian refugees, first of all in Gaza.”
Reply: I don’t mean to be ironic, but surely David doesn’t wants the US to work closely with Hamas? And: About a 60-year old refugee problem encompassing the whole region and international interests and affairs? And at this particular time? As part of this peace initiative? And as a third example of how the US has “failed its ally?” Again, with all respect, this is deeply troubling–it is irrational in its hostility toward the United States.
- “An ally would have made plain to the Palestinians that their demand, as a precondition for renewing peace talks, that Israel set free terrorists who have killed large numbers of its innocent citizens was outrageous and unacceptable, certainly at the outset of negotiations.”
Reply: David has himself said many times that it is Netanyahu who had the option of freezing or pulling back the settlements instead of releasing prisoners. And both Sharon and Netanyahu, with no US urging, but entirely on their own initiative, several times, have released many more than a thousand prisoners. So this is an Israeli pattern of willingness to release prisoners, which the US can’t help noticing. So how is it America’s fault? And when the release didn’t even have to happen?—
Since Netanyahu could have withdrawn or frozen settlements instead?
Which David himself has repeated. So–how is the US “failing” an ally?
Instead this is a failure of coherence–as well as bears irrational ill will towards the United States, which is unworthy of a preeminent journalistic spokesperson of a US ally that is surely not acting here like a US ally.
- “An ally would want to distinguish between isolated settlements in the heart of Palestinian territory and Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem.” The US is :lumping all ‘settlements’ together, and relentlessly criticizing all building.”
Reply: Who has put 700,000 settlers in the last 22% of Palestine? Who has kept putting them there even during the negotiations, Israel utterly betraying its ally the United States?
Who is ruining the 2-state solution? Who is ruining peace chances?
Which country –Israel — kept making public announcements of its settlement expansions into Palestine, even during the US-assisted negotiations, aggravating further its betrayal of its American ally?
The US, as all international law, regards all the settlements as illegal, but is trying to act as an honest broker to bring peace to both sides.
Even David refers not to the settlements already “built” but to the settlements that during the negotiations have been going on “building.”
How sad that America’s ally Israel does it. And disappointing of David to defend Israel and attack the victimized and, yes, betrayed, United States.
This is why major Israeli political and opinion leaders also have condemned the settlements, the expansionism– and also the timing.
Israelis and Americans alike have found it an inexplicably senseless slap-in-the-face betrayal of the United States and our alliance. As the US Secretary of State said to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “’Seven hundred settlement units were announced in Jerusalem and, poof, that was sort of the moment.’”
Who failed whom? More: Who betrayed who, in a consistent long pattern of these Israeli betrayals?
- “An allied president…[should] eschew giving an interview to the American media essentially accusing the prime minister of leading Israel to disaster .”
Reply: Obama did nothing but underscored at last the exasperation of America, who sustains its ally Israel with essential diplomatic and military aid, exasperation at Israeli judgment and its consistent pattern of ungrateful–and infuriating–violation and betrayal.
Meanwhile Israel’s cabinet and some military officials, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon , called Kerry “obsessive and messianic.”
And added he hoped Kerry “gets a Nobel Prize and leaves us alone.”
Israeli leaders often insulted and mocked the US Secretary of State while he was spending millions of dollars in US money and prestige and credibility and his own time and energy in this all-out effort.”
But David leaves all this out.
Which country’s judgment collapsed as it mocked and insulted the United States, and substantively betrayed the US with its settlement expansionism on the ground.
To go back to David’s title: It is the ally Israel that has by far most profoundly “failed” — even betrayed — the US.
- American “Martin Indyk… gave a lengthy briefing to [an] Israeli journalist…that unsurprisingly placed overwhelming and at least somewhat unwarranted and distorted blame for the collapse of the process on the prime minister.”
Reply. But this is not Kerry. And Indyk is right. And there were leaks on both sides. This was also a correct assessment made to the press by the American side about its ally’s betrayal–and betrayal of peace hopes.
How can all this be how the US supposedly “failed” Israel”?
Actually it is part of the total setting of how Israel has failed and betrayed the United States.
. 8. “Kerry…misled the Palestinians into thinking that Israel was prepared to set the [the last round of prisoners] free.”
Reply: The TOI itself headlined an article that “Israel cancels fourth round of prisoner releases.” (April 3).
“Israel officially canceled the fourth round of prisoner releases on Thursday.”
How was Kerry was being misleading that Israel was “prepared to set the last round of prisoners free”? It was correctly reported this way around the world, in addition to the reporting of the Times of Israel.
This is so disappointing and surprising coming from one of the most respected (and for me personally one of the most highly regarded) journalists in the Middle East. What David writes is inexplicable.
Which ally failed which? Israel made an agreement, then broke it, which embarrassed and once again left in the lurch its ally the United States.
- “A friend of Israel would know better than to lob the toxic term “apartheid” into the public debate over Israel’s future. Israel’s embattled democracy provides equal rights for its 25 percent non-Jewish minority, who enjoy freedom of religion, assembly and press. Arabic is an official language in this country…”
Reply. First, David goes on showing Israel is not an apartheid state–as if Kerry thought it was one.
Rather, as David must know perfectly well, Kerry was warning about a possible future as a binational or apartheid state if there was no peace and the territories were occupied by Israel indefinitely, with the Palestinians as second-class citizens under occupation, and possibly soon the majority in this “Greater Israel” between the river and the sea.
Second–and most important. David ignores what he knows: Israel’s own leaders themselves have said this — warned of Israel’s possible future comparison or similarity to Apartheid South Africa. These include Israel’s current Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, former Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak (and also Defense Minister), and the nation’s first Prime Minister and the founder of the State of Israel itself– David Ben-Gurion himself, from as long ago in 1967. So to start with–three Prime Ministers
And are these not, in David’s words, “friends of Israel?” – Livni, Olmert, Barak, David Ben-Gurion– Israel’s founder and first Prime Minister?
And on and on.
David is a brilliant, honest, decent, clear, lucid, writer and thinker. So this 9th accusation against Secretary of State John Kerry boggles the mind.
10. “Further afield, you’d think an ally would maintain an empathetic silence rather than repeatedly tell the world that Israel has struck weapons shipments in Syria en route to Hezbollah.” In 1 out of 11 accusations David may be right. The United States used poor judgment.
Reply. But it did not “fail an ally.” Mainly the US was failed–was betrayed.
And this has nothing to do with the peace talks—as David says: It is far afield. Whereas in all David’s other accusations, the facts are the reverse and in many Israel as an ally betrayed the United States.
11. “An ally would avoid rushing to support Islamic extremists… when they came to power in a neighboring state [Egypt]. .. The Israel-Egypt peace treaty survived the Muslim Brotherhood’s brief period of misrule in Cairo… achieved despite Washington’s foolish embrace of the short- lived Morsi government.”
Reply. David says “despite”? This doesn’t make sense. The United States was mild about Sisi’s takeover and after, and continues to support the Sisi Government and its military.
And this has nothing to do with the peace process, but rather plain support of Israel.
And Israel also worked with the Morsi Government. The United States was in a quandary. It wanted to support the government and military of Egypt to keep influence in Egypt and sustain the Israeli-Egypt treaty.
12. Let’s forget another “further afield” accusation about Iran, and adhere to the peace process issue.
“The peace process has collapsed and Israel is getting the blame. Hamas, committed under its own charter to the obliteration of Israel, is now part of an internationally recognized Palestinian government.”
Reply: How can we help bring peace if we aren’t an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians? (Not Hamas, but the PA.)
Why should we be a closer ally to Israel than to the Palestinians (the PA)—why not to both? It’s in the interest of Israel as well as America that we are a friend of both. Just as we were with both reland and Britain alike during the Northern Ireland conflict.
And: If Israel is indeed such a close ally of the United States, then why is Israel making things so difficult for its ally? That question is never asked.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extremely bad for American diplomatic and security interests, as well as Western interests as a whole.
If Israel is really an true-blue American ally, why doesn’t it take all this into full account, instead of constantly making settlement expansion announcements during the negotiations? Not to mention the 700,000 settlers in the first place?
Which country was more of a non-ally to which, from the outset of the negotiations? Acting like not an ally at all to America, given the American effort and expense, the American effort to be an honest broker, American’s stake in success, the whole West’s stake?
And further, given America as a tremendous diplomatic and military aid-giver to Israel, America whose diplomatic and vital security interests both at home and around the world are integrally involved with, have integrally at stake, Mideast peace and security and their resolution?
Who has been the most resistant and insensitive of these two allies?
It has been PM Netanyhu, the very reluctant and dubious 2-stater and the continuing settler expansionist—toward–against-– the United States.
And finally, shouldn’t the United States have an ethical and moral foreign policy– over and beyond only NS merely alliances and interests?
A moral foreign policy that rejects invasions and takeovers, and Ahmadinejad-like-efforts to wipe another land and people off the map?
Opposed be it Russia in Crimea, China in Tibet, the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe—or Israel occupation and its ongoing — even during American,sponsored negotiations—invasive settlement of Palestine?
In which, for decades, Israel has betrayed its ally the United States– and never betrayed our country more than during the American Secretary of State’s efforts to secure peace and security for Israel, Palestine, the United States and the West, and the world.
Again: David Horovitz– as a human being, journalist, and visionary of integrity, generosity, decency, urbanity, pluralism, subtlety, and fineness of thought and judgment — is simply beyond admiration and praise.
He may have just had a bad day–as we all do–because, here, he is – as this master of coherent brilliant journalism so very rarely is– inexplicable; as he groundlessly attacks my country just as his government has done.