Category Archives: Israel-Palestine

Trita Parsi’s Treacherous Alliance

[Part of a series of articles reviewing blogs and websites (here Trita Parsi) on my blog-roll; see the about page.]

Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of
Israel, Iran and the United States

by Trita Parsi (2007)

This is one of the best books I have read. I read it over six months ago yet it seems as clear as if I had read it yesterday and still feel excited about what Trita Parsi has achieved with this book, demonstrating that while the evolution of the relationship between Israel and Iran has had a deeply ideological face, underneath this façade geopolitical factors have been the real drivers and the real causes of their gradual transition from allies to enmity. Again, their current enmity is not founded in the Iranian revolution at the end of the 1970s but the termination of the cold war and the defeat of Iraq in the first Persian Gulf war in the 1990s. Parsi bases his analysis on 130 interviews of senior officials in charge of the foreign policy of the three countries covering the period from the decline of the Shah to the 2006 Lebanon war.

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Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh on Iran (’06)

Earlier my MP3 overran a music track onto this discussion between Seymour Hersh and Scott Ritter at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in October 2006. I had heard it before and thought I would let it go for a few minutes before switching to something else but let it run out to the end it was so compulsive. It owuld have been even better if they had found a pro to chair the discussion but it was still reasonably tight under the circumstances. If you get a chance, check it out.

On Dividing Jerusalem (II)

Further to yesterday’s post on the subject, Obama has clarified his position on Jerusalem and it has become clear that he meant by Jerusalem remaining the undivided capital of Israel that there is no return to the pre-1967 barbed-wire partition of Jerusalem but that it nevertheless remains part of the ‘final status’ package to be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians. Matthew Yglesias reckons this is a self-defeating sleight of hand to AIPAC but I am not so sure. From the above Jerusalem Post article:

But congressman Robert Wexler, a Democrat from Florida with ties to the Jewish community and a long-time supporter of Obama, rejected the idea that the Illinois senator had been misleading with his comments.

“Everyone knows that Jerusalem is a final status issue. That is not a secret to anyone. Senator Obama says emphatically that should the Israelis and the Palestinians negotiate [an agreement], he will respect their conclusions and that he will not dictate a particular resolution.”

That sounds about right to me, as I had anticipated.

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On Dividing Jerusalem

Over at South Jerusalem Gershom Gorenberg has a thoughtful article where he explains in stark terms the bind that Obama is in in addressing the concerns of AIPAC over an Obama presidency pressing a future Israeli government to divide Jerusalem with the Palestinians, which Obama resolved with this pledge.

Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.

Gorenberg is alarmed as he would rather see peace with the Palestinians and that means finding an arrangement that accommodates the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians, and the Palestinians want their capital in Jerusalem. This position rules that out, so Obama is going to have the choice of either backing out of this pledge with messy consequences or blocking a peaceful resolution to the conflict, neither of which is very satisfactory.

Could it be that Obama is politicking, making this pledge to secure the Jewish vote with the intention of doing what is best for everyone later? Or could it be that he just doesn’t understand the issues all that well? Nothing that I have seen suggests that either of these are true.

Could it be that political reality–Nixonland–leaves him with no choices as Gorenberg suggests? This is possible but I think there is another way of looking at this which rests on the following observation.

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Vader’s End-Run Back on the Agenda?

Joshcka Fischer thinks Israel may attack Iran’s civil nuclear installations before the end of the Bush administration with predictable catastrophic consequences for everyone and Commander Huber has another excellent article on McClellan and the ethics of repenting war criminals up at the Pen and Sword.  I wouldn’t expect wild speculation or silly games from Fischer, but there have been so many mind games being played on the menacing Iran front that it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that this may be a continuation of these.  Could the threat of starting a war with Iran be a gambit to help bring about a McCain presidency?  I would be interested to know what the Commander makes of it.

On Zionism (Contents)

In this article I explain why those that really want to help the Palestinians should become Zionists and those that really want to help Israel should support Barack Obama’s policy of engaging Iran.

  1. Zionism: The Great Divide
  2. How I Became a Zionist
  3. The Great Hypocrisy
  4. Barack Obama, Israel, Iran and Hamas

Barack Obama, Israel, Iran and Hamas

(This is the fourth and final article of the On Zionism series.)

In a recent article, Obama. What’s Complicated Here?, Gershom Gorenberg at South Jerusalem explains why he thinks Barack Obama should get the support of all right-thinking Israelis (left-thinking Israelis in Gorenberg’s case):

The one candidate who speaks in clear terms of taking a new approach to the Mideast is Obama. This is what scares the small coterie of American Jewish rightists who would eagerly fight to the last Israeli. If you care about Israel, you should hit “delete” when you get their emails.

Obama is the one candidate who had the sense to oppose the war in Iraq. He’s the one candidate whose statement on Israel expresses support for a two-state solution, which is the country’s path to peaceful future and is today the consensus position in Israel. He’s the one proposing a clear break from the disastrous Bush policies, and a turn to trying diplomacy.

Matt Yglesias at The Atlantic does find a complication though.

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