Friday, October 1, 2010

The State of Israel

This is almost certainly true, though the last line makes the point too broadly:
Since the 2002 intifada, the Israeli polity has been experiencing an extended freakout akin to America's post-9/11 freakout, and Netanyahu is Israel's George W. Bush. It's naive to assume that Netanyahu is merely making a series of tactical errors in pursuit of a benevolent goal. It's equally naive to assume the same about the Palestinians.
Chait doesn't mention when Arafat walked away from Bill Clinton's peace negotiations in 2000. Was it because the right of return was so important to him, as he said? Or was it because Ehud Barak put his neck on the line for peace and Arafat knew he'd be able to take him down by walking away from the talks, thereby discrediting the Labor/Meretz peace faction in Israeli politics and ushering in a Likud government that would make a much more villainous foil for Arafat to use to enhance his personal power? Or at least to distract talk of his taking relief dollars and sending them to support the lifestyle of his high-living wife in Paris? There's a certain logic to this. It doesn't mean that actual Palestinians don't want peace, but knowing what I know about Arafat this level of cynicism is hardly excessive.

Chait has plenty of ideas I disagree with in his posts on Israel/Palestine, but I do feel like he does want what is best for Israel and America and he isn't completely blind to what's going on in the world. This sets him up from most self-stated pro-Israel writers. At he definitely brings up important issues in his writing.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.