Friday, October 5, 2012

Ben Barber Blames Netanyahu (For Everything)

In the wake of all this Iran craziness, the Huffington Post editorial staff has returned to its core principles. In this case, blaming Israel for the lack of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. For this piece, they got Ben Barber, which according to his bio is a "journalist, photographer, consultant." With those kind of credentials, who can blame him when he writes an extremely partisan diatribe light on facts and long on high minded rhetoric? Let's see what he's got.

Barber leads off with an immediate attack on his target, PM Netanyahu, and US support for Israel:
"No, I said. Netanyahu does not deserve or need overt U.S. backing right now. Not until he fulfills the promise of Israel's founder David Ben Gurion and the wishes of a majority of Israelis and gives the West Bank over to Palestinian rule.
Netanyahu needs to restore the peace process, put the land of the West Bank on the table and let the Palestinians go. He needs to remove young Israeli men and women from the checkpoints and the patrols in Arab communities."
I like the classic "lying by omission" we see here. You see, if you read the Haaretz article Barber links to you, will find that Ben-Gurion indeed didn't want Israel to rule over the West Bank. But he didn't want the West Bank to go to the Palestinians either. He favored a Trans-Jordan option and was in favor of settlements, even in places like Hebron. But apparently Netanyahu is a much easier target than Ben-Gurion. But all right then. What does Barber say the Palestinians need to do for peace?

...That's right, nothing. According to Barber the checkpoints and patrols have no reason to exist, the only reason why Israel has soldiers in the West Bank is because Netayahu is a jerk. So instead of actually telling the whole truth, he keeps up the aggression on Netanyahu in an amazing display of revisionist history:
"How long must Israelis face off against Palestinians in this way? Is it necessary? Why does Netanyahu not end it? He gives the impression that he'll never stop it and that anyone who objects is an enemy or a traitor....Netanyahu represents only a small, vocal and politically powerful group of Israelis -- a minority of the country's six million people who need religious party support to rule and who want to drag out the peace process while they plant enough settlements that "facts on the ground" will make it impossible to give control over the land to the Palestinians."
First of all, the notion that anyone who wants peace with the Palestinians is an "enemy or traitor" is hilarious in light of all the "Israel firster" rhetoric thrown around by Mr. Barber's fellow HP blogger MJ Rosenberg, let alone the fact that it is completely unsubstantiated. Second, I'll say what I always say: There was no peace when there were no settlers in the West Bank, so while settlers in the West Bank probably are not helping make peace, they aren't preventing it either. Thirdly, Israel  facing off against the Palestinians is necessary because the Palestinians don't want peace, their behavior up to this point completely proves this to be true. Territorial concessions leads to more radical and violent behavior, as in the case of Gaza, not less. But nothing new here, so let's move on:
" arecent poll by the Brookings Institution found that two thirds of Israel's Jews say that Israel should do more to promote a comprehensive peace based on the 1967 borders with agreed modifications (small land trades) and a peaceful Palestinian State.

In 1993, Israel and the Palestinians accepted the Oslo accords calling for an end to Israeli military rule over the West Bank within five years. Back then, there were about 200,000 settlers living in the West Bank. Today, after 20 years of stalled, aborted and stymied talks, there are 550,000 settlers in the West Bank."
 Hmm, what could have happened between now and 1993? Let's see if Mr. Barber is going to be honest:

"There are many reasons the peace process failed. Yasser Arafat rejected a peace pact at Camp David and rejected a last ditch peace pact at Sharm el Shaikh, which I covered for the Washington Times. Only President Clinton spoke at the end of the failed talks: neither Arafat nor the Israelis had anything constructive to say.
Outsiders are partly responsible for the Palestinian stalemate. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Libya and other countries pushed the Palestinians to keep up the armed resistance. They ostracized Egypt and Jordan for daring to make peace with Israel.
But outsiders in America also contributed to the stalemate. American conservatives, fearful Jews, Fundamentalist Christians and Republicans have all been too supportive of the settlers and their hard line allies in Israel. When Congressional leaders say there should be no daylight between Israel and the United States it empowers the settlers in Israel to dig in their heels."
Nope, nope, no reason to mention the Second Intifada or the election of Hamas, only the classic Palestinian propaganda term "armed resistance." That Yassar Arafat guy rejected a couple peace pacts, that's all, no big deal. I'm glad Mr. Barber is willing to admit the other Arab countries don't want peace with Israel and encourage the Palestinians to "keep up the armed resistance," but he doesn't take the next obvious step and point out the Palestinians themselves are quite willing to keep up the armed resistance without any encouragement whatsoever. But hey, why criticize the people who elected a fascist terror group to lead them when you could be bashing conservatives for supporting Israel?

But let's not stop now, Mr. Barber's got ZOG to push!
"But in the highly polarized U.S. political process, everyone is afraid to criticize Israel. They are a small state, modern and democratic like us, and they have been powerful allies over the years. Many Israelis have family in America or hail from the United States."
Oh no! Everyone's afraid to criticize Israel! That's why when Obama criticized Israel for building settlements, he lost tons of popular support, and why there are absolutely no critical articles of Israel published in any Western media, especially the Huffington Post. Only the brave Mr. Barber has the courage to say what we are all thinking. Oh wait, that's not at all the case. But hey, why acknowledge reality when you've got an agenda to push.

Here's Mr. Barber's conclusion:
"Despite these trends, the overwhelming majority of Israelis and a large number of Palestinians are ready to make peace. The United States does not help things along by backing up the small, militant group that Netanyahu represents while they appear so openly disdainful of any peace effort.
Mr. Obama. It's time for some tough love."
Mr. Barber is right about the Israelis. They want to make peace. But the Palestinians? I'm not so sure, and neither is Mr. Barber. He claims "a large number" want peace, and indeed a poll by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights claims that 63% of Palestinians want a compromise that will result in a final status agreement. But those people are not represented in the Palestinian governments and are ostracized by the radical (slim) minority. Nor does that polling lead to any changes on the ground.

Mr. Barber, like dozens of writers before him, is only too willing to criticize Netanyahu and Israel for the lack of peace, because that's what the Huffington Post editors want to hear. But, also like dozens of writers before him, Barber refuses to even look at the other side. The Palestinians exist and they have objectives and goals. They aren't just sitting around waiting for people like Ben Barber to write that op ed that finally pushes mean old Israel to make peace. Barber does not mention Hamas once in his op ed, and Hamas is the democratically elected government of the Palestinians.

Until Barber presents a balanced and realistic look at the peace process and who exactly is holding it up, there is no reason for Netanyahu, Obama or any of his readers to take his opinions seriously.

1 comment:

  1. The HP left said the same think when Barak was PM. You see it really doesn't matter. Israel has shown its political face from the far left of Meir to the far right of Shamir over the years and the Useful Idiots here in the west say exactly the same thing years after year. Whomever is running Israel, is, to them, a right wing fanatic because EVERYONE except them is a right wing fanatic.


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