Friday, January 4, 2013

Alan Elsner's Missteps

Before we go any further, let me say that I'm a big fan of Huffington Post blogger Alan Elsner. Although he writes about many different political topics, he has also criticized Israel's enemies on many occasions, even earning the wrath of Sharmine "Dignity Rockets" Narwani in the process. But unfortunately he is still left-leaning and can run into problems about who to call to account for the lack of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. His latest article seeks to blame just about everything on the shift to the right in Israel and (of course) the settlements. I'd like to disagree on some of his points if I may.

He starts with politics about Netanyahu and his coalition, which he says are against the two-state solution. Of course, Netanyahu has already endorsed the two-state solution four years ago, but who can trust what politicians say amirite? Let's see what Elsner has to say about the people on the other side:
"On the Palestinian side, moderates President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have both lost popular support to Hamas, which rejects Israel's existence. How much longer can the moderates hang on, absent some progress toward a Palestinian state, before the Islamic winds blowing through the Arab world sweep them away?"
Between this comment and the one about Netanyahu, does Elsner still think that it is 2008? Abbas has lost popular support. Past tense. And Fatah doesn't recognize Israel's existence either, so it's the height of left-wing wishful thinking to bill them as "moderates." In fact in their efforts to join back up with Hamas they are more vocal about war than ever. And let's not forget the fact that almost 90% of Palestinians support terror attacks directed against civilians. I'd say that the Islamic winds are already there, or rather they started there and blew everywhere else, seeing as how Hamas came to power in 2006.

Mr. Elsner then declares that if President Obama doesn't do something right away, then "the two-state option may disappear forever." I'd like to see evidence indicating how and why that would happen, or else this is simply another case of the fifth Great Anti-Zionist strawman. But let's not jump to conclusions, I will see what else he has to say. He returns to suggestions to President Obama, and then returns to the 5th GAZS that Israeli settlements are "eating away" the possible creation of a Palestinian state. Here's his logic:
"New Israeli plans to build in the East Jerusalem settlement of Givat Hamatos would cut Bethlehem off from Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, while proposed new settlements in an area known as EI east of Jerusalem would drive a massive wedge between the north and south of the West Bank."
This isn't the first time we have heard this argument, but it remains wrong. Look at a map:

Or maybe this one:

There's no wedge there. And even if there was, so what? You can just evacuate the offending settlements or even allow filthy Jews to live on holy Arab land (if it means that much to you). If you don't like the settlements, then fine. I can respect that point of view. But just tell the truth about them. The fifth Great Anti-Zionist Strawman remains just that: a strawman.

He then talks about Israeli politicians, people who I see no reason to get into since I don't know well enough about what they are thinking, then regarding a politician who wants to build a "Third Temple:"
"Past attempts to encroach on what Muslims call the "Noble Sanctuary" have been met by outrage and violent resistance. In September 2000, a visit to the site by then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon surrounded by hundreds of riot police was the spark that ignited what became known as the Second Intifada which, in the next five years, took the lives of an estimated 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis."
I would like to point out two things about this.

First, this is a classic rewrite of history regarding the Second Intifada. Arafat (both Yasser and Suha) have admitted that it was planned and they were just looking for an excuse. The "Sharon visit" is now just as much a myth as "the settlements are the obstacle to peace." I really hope that Elsner doesn't believe this, but just wanted to take the opportunity to take a shot at the aforementioned politician.

Secondly, I feel like he is misrepresenting the Second Intifada. As I said before it didn't just "happen," Palestinians launched a terror war on Israel and Israel fought back hard, and in the process thousands of people died. The way Elsner writes it, it's like Sharon visits, a Second Intifada happens, and people keel over and die. It seems disingenuous to me not to tell the whole story. Let's finish up with what I feel is one last misstep:
"Without vigorous U.S. leadership at the highest level, we may soon be looking at a Middle East in which both sides are governed by extremists who reject the other's right to exist on the land. That's not a future anyone should want to see."
I find this amusing. There are two sides in the Middle East? And here I was thinking it was a region made up of dozens of countries and millions of people. Silly me, I forgot that on the Huffington Post there are only two groups of people that actually matter.

1 comment:

  1. Bottom line anyone ranting about the evil Jews encroaching on E1 are arguing for 0.04% of the total land area of Yesha. That's the hill they're willing to die on.


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