by Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg, December 6, 2011
The Obama administration seems to be arguing lately that the blame for stalled peace talks rests almost entirely with Israel. This clearly isn’t true. The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas seems uninterested in even sharing its ideas for compromise with Israel. Yet this doesn’t excuse the Netanyahu government’s inability to curtail the settlements or the settlers, some of whom behave despicably toward their Palestinian neighbors. The occupation will come to an end only through direct negotiation. The West Bank settlers should, if nothing else, be brought under the rule of law, and be encouraged to come home.
Israelis, and their American supporters, often argue that Israel’s problem is one of public relations. It is, to some degree. The world holds Israel to a higher standard than any other country. But here’s a secret: American Jews hold Israel to a very high standard as well, and if Israel ceases to be a free and open country governed by the rule of law, American Jewish support for Israel will dissipate, with dramatic and unpleasant consequences.