See, Zogby's article is written in response to President Obama's recent speech in Jerusalem. President Obama spoke about a great many things including the relationship between America and Israel, the historical Jewish connection to the land, Israel's thriving economy and democracy, and the importance of Israeli security. You can read the whole thing for yourself and see that President Obama spells out very clearly that America is Israel's friend, Israel has an unquestioned right to exist as a Jewish state and in security, and that groups like Hamas have no place in the Middle East.
Naturally Zogby, after reading the speech, completely ignores all of the pro-Israel and critical of Arab remarks and instead focuses with laser-like precision on the one part of the speech in which President Obama encouraged Israel to "look at the world through their eyes." This remark by Mr. Obama is silly of course because Israel has done more to make the lives of Palestinians better than any nation in the world but okay sure, we'll give him a pass. There is nothing wrong with asking Israelis not to forget that the lives of Palestinians are hard, even while acknowledging that they should not negotiate with groups that seek their destruction (something Mr. Obama also said but Zogby doesn't reproduce in his article).
Now let's get back to James Zogby. Rather than being grateful to President Obama for standing up for the Palestinians, and then reciprocating that goodwill back by asking Palestinians and the great Arab world to look at the world through the eyes of Israelis, he just piles on and lectures Israel some more.
"A powerful challenge for Israelis, to be sure, but one that should be listened to by U.S. policymakers and policy analysts, as well. The problem of failing to see Palestinians as equal human beings -- of refusing to see the world through their eyes -- has long characterized Western and U.S. approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
If I were to reduce the West's understanding of the conflict to an equation, it would be: Israeli humanity vs. the Arab/Palestinian problem. Israelis are seen as real people, with whom we can identify. They have hopes and fears and aspirations to live secure and at peace. Arabs, on the other hand, are reduced to one-dimensional objects -- as pawns on a chess board to be moved about to satisfy the needs of the Israelis or, merely, as a problem to be solved."Everybody break out your handkerchiefs because it's time to start crying for the poor oppressed Arabs again. As I believe I have said before, no one has done more for the Palestinians than America, Israel and the West. The Arabs are the ones who see the Palestinians as pawns on a chess board, as even Palestinians themselves have pointed out. Not that James Zogby will bother to mention this when he is in tribalism mode, of course.
I feel obligated to point out that Zogby sees the Palestinians as chess pieces just as much as any Arab government. Remember when he claimed that to Arabs the Palestinian cause was like the Holocaust, while all the while his Arab friends continued to treat the Palestinians like the red-headed stepchildren they are? Zogby and the Arab nations treat the Palestinians the same way: as a club with which to beat their enemies, only to be discarded when they are no longer wanted.
The Palestinians were given power and money because they negotiated with Israel, not because they killed people. That power and money did not come from the Palestinians themselves, or from the Arabs. It came from the West. They then proceeded to reject offers of peace and return to violence, and now Zogby seeks to blame America and Israel for not "understanding" why they do that.
I think someone like Richard Landes would have a lot more to say about these two paragraphs, because they speak volumes about the Arab mentality. When President Obama gives an inch, Zogby takes a mile. When President Obama acknowledges that the Palestinians have had some hard times as well, Zogby uses that as a platform to prove that they are the biggest victims ever and that it is all the fault of the West. Why don't we see what else he has to say?
He then seeks to "prove" that the West didn't care about Palestinian "humanity" with remarking on how the Arab opposition to denying Jews their homeland was ignored:
"The results [of a poll] were quite clear: Arabs overwhelmingly rejected British and French control, their plans to carve up the Arab East and to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. What Arabs wanted was independence and a unified Arab State. On hearing of these results, Lord Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, dismissed them out of hand."Liar!
If all Arabs wanted was independence and a unified Arab state, they could have accepted the Peel Commission Plan or negotiated to find a state that would work for them based on the Partition Plan. Zogby is half right: The Arabs would not accept any Jews in "Palestine." I like how he calls it the "Arab East" though, nothing racist about that. Also, the Arabs seemed to be okay with establishing every country in the Middle East along Western borders except for the Jewish one. But sure, the Arabs are the real victims as they smash down the barricades with genocide on their minds. Sure, Zogby, sure. Whatever you say, just don't kill me.
At this point, Zogby demonstrates his right-wing attitude toward any kind of very reasonable concessions asked by Israel and America:
"And, in recognition of these circumstances, Palestinians have been told to be realistic and not make unreasonable demands. U.S. policymakers say they want negotiations without preconditions leading to a two-state solution. At the same time, they accept, and want Palestinian leaders to accept, Israeli "settlement blocs" (as "established facts"), reject the rights of Palestinian refugees ("it's unrealistic"), and acknowledge Israel as a "Jewish State" (ignoring the fact that 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Arabs). All of this is done in the name of "realism" and the need to understand the fears and concerns of the Israeli public and the constraints they impose on Israeli leaders."Boo freaking hoo, Zogby.
Notice how two out of three of his examples involve exactly zero concessions on the ground, and they are both coded words for "don't destroy Israel." Zogby seems to think that asking the Palestinians to give up on destroying Israel is not only a precondition, but a ridiculous and unacceptable one. Like I said, a perfect demonstration of the Arab mentality towards peace in action. Make up some coded phrases for "destroy Israel," then act like the victim when other people refuse to fall for it.
As usual the settlements are the odd person out, but once again Zogby needs to ask himself what is more important: doing what is best for the Palestinian people, or doing what is "fair." Banking peace on Israel ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of people is a recipe for disaster, which is why the Arabs including Zogby are so insistent on it. If they can blame Israel for the lack of peace, it's a win-win. Israel gets blamed and the peace that they don't want never comes.
Let's let Zogby conclude with more playing of the cringing victim and whining about the Palestinian position:
"If Kerry is to succeed where others have failed, Palestinian humanity must be recognized. As the victims of occupation, they, the weakest party in the conflict, should not be asked to do the heaviest lifting to make peace possible."No one is asking you to do the heaviest lifting, you big baby. They are asking you to do something, anything, in the name of peace and you refuse to do it. Even saying "we recognize Israel as the Jewish state" is an impossible obstacle to you.
I'd like to thank Zogby for laying out the Arab attitude so clearly. He took President Obama's speech, which could have been an opportunity to really turn things around, and made it just another "we are right, they are wrong, we are the victims, they are the victimizers" propaganda point. And you wonder why President Obama has pretty much given up on you. I know that I have.