- Is Obama More Like Netanyahu--Or Abbas?
- Welcome, mr brisbane
- Council speak 08/30/10
- The "cbm" maneuver
- Abuminah's abominable op-ed
- Musical monday #156
Posted: 30 Aug 2010 08:58 AM PDT
Speaking of mandates, when you compare Obama, Abbas and Netanyahu, you come up with the following comparison:
And in some ways, Obama is more like Abbas than like Netanyahu.
by Daled Amos
Posted: 30 Aug 2010 05:48 AM PDT
The New York Times has a new public editor. I am skeptical of this position. In most newspapers the public editor or ombudsman has the job of explaining why the common folk don't understand the wisdom of the news gatherers. While I wish Arthur Brisbane success is his new job, this paragraph in his introduction bugged me.
"We have a substantial infrastructure for responding to public complaints. Greg Brock [senior editor/standards], Phil Corbett [associate managing editor for standards] and Bill Schmidt [deputy managing editor] all spend at least a portion of their time dealing with issues of balance, fairness, accuracy and taste raised by the public. Some cases get passed up to me or Jill [Abramson, managing editor], or to our legal counsel. We publish corrections and editor's notes, and try hard not to be overly defensive when our work is challenged.
Jill Abramson.... where have I heard that name before. Ah yes. A column by Mr. Brisbane's predecessor, Clark Hoyt.
I asked Jill Abramson, the managing editor for news, if The Times could have done the story and left out the allegation about an affair. "That would not have reflected the essential truth of why the aides were alarmed," she said.
The story in question was one which publicized unfounded allegations about an affair between Sen. John McCain and a lobbyist, Vicki Iseman. This was one of the strongest rebukes Mr. Hoyt issued in his time as public editor. And Jill Abramson is someone whom the new public editor describes as be part of his team in responding to public complaints. Given the atrocious judgment Abramson displayed in the journalistic hit on Sen. McCain, I hope that Brisbane will make sure that her role in handling public complaints isn't too significant.
No public editor will make me happy. The corruption of the Times integrity is too great.
Posted: 30 Aug 2010 05:46 AM PDT
The Watcher's Council has spoken. Here are this week's winning submissions!
Non - Council Winners
Posted: 30 Aug 2010 04:51 AM PDT
Helene Cooper contributes a perfectly predictable Early Obstacle at Start of Mideast Talks, to the discussion of peace talks in the Middle East.
President Obama will begin his one-year effort to achieve Middle East peace on Wednesday, joining a long list of his predecessors who have tried to achieve a comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Really? I would have thought that he already knows that. For one thing Barry Rubin pointed out:
It is amusing to see articles claiming that this is a victory for the Obama Administration. If the U.S. government had been doing such a good job it would have been able to announce the resumption of elections in April 2009, after the visit of Abbas to Washington. The president did indeed announce the resumption of negotiations in September 2009 and nothing has happened in a year.
Cooper doesn't claim that the upcoming talks will be a victory for the administration, but she hypes the idea that there will be clarity. But she doesn't acknowledge that the delay in the resumption of talks was due to a calculated fit of pique by Mahmoud Abbas, who wouldn't even go back to the negotiating table after Netanyahu agreed to a freeze on building Jewish communiites in Judea and Samaria. I would think that alone shows who's unserious.
Yet Cooper casts things like this:
Mr. Obama, administration officials said, will call on the four leaders to do all they can to settle, within a year, the final status issues: the fate of Jerusalem, the borders of a Palestinian state, the right of return for Palestinian refugees who fled their homes and the issue of Israeli security.
In other words, she has Israel up for failure. A failure to resume the freeze will lead to a collapse of the talks.
So what to do?
Those officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the talks, said that discussions were under way on a number of possible solutions. They include trying to get a promise from Mr. Netanyahu that Israel will exercise restraint in settlement construction, perhaps allowing construction only within existing West Bank settlement blocks, but no housing starts beyond those blocks.
Of course! It always works, Israeli "confidence building measures." It's amazing how often we hear about "Israeli confidence building measures." (From now on "cbm" for short.) If Israel won't sweeten their offer, the Palestinians will be within their rights to walk away. Of course this failure for Israel to toss out new cbm's will be regarded as a sign of Israel's intransigence.
Did Israel withdraw from Gaza? From most of Hevron? From most of Judea and Samaria? Did Israel regard the PLO as a partner for peace even when the PLO was disregarding every single commitment it made? Does the PA/PLO still engage in incitement against Israel? Do its leaders still deny the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state?
I can see why we need more Israeli cbm's. The peace process is so one-sided in Israel's favor, why would the Palestinians participate? Oh wait, they want a state of their own? If their own state is so important why don't they just make a deal? Or is it simply more important to wring concessions out of Israel in exchange for nothing?
So while Israel is introducing Arabic as a second language in many of its schools, the PA continues to deny Israel's history.
I can see why cbm's are needed. And I'm not surprised that the New York Times insists they're needed, where they really aren't.
Crossposted on Yourish.
Posted: 30 Aug 2010 04:51 AM PDT
Ali Abuminah, the founder of the anti-Israel website, Electronic Intifada, has been given op-ed space in the New York Times. In that space he has written the highly misleading, Hamas, the I.R.A. and Us. I will have to disagree with some of my allies, as this is not the lowest the New York Times has sunk; the Times has given op-ed space to an actual member of Hamas, not just one of its sympathizers. (via memeorandum)
Mr. Mitchell's comparison is misleading at best. Success in the Irish talks was the result not just of determination and time, but also a very different United States approach to diplomacy.
This is the heart of his specious claim: Hamas is just like the IRA and just like the IRA was convinced to make peace by being engaged instead of shunned, so too Hamas must be engaged in order to make peace in the Middle East.
Well for this analysis to hold, for one thing, Hamas and the I.R.A. ought to be comparable. They're not.
All these contrasts come back to the one major difference between the IRA and Hamas -- religion. For the Irish, religion is not rooted in all facets of life as it is in with Israelis and Palestinians. Religion in Northern Ireland is understood as a cultural and historical force, while in the Middle East it ties Israelis and Palestinians to the same land. Furthermore, Hamas being a religious organization claims religious justifications for attempting to wipe out Israel. This factor is what differentiates the two groups and will ultimately prove how futile Hamas' reform efforts are.
Z-Word lays out how the concession to Gerry Addams would translate into terms of the Arab-Israeli conflict:
The concession of the visa to Adams, for a trip which involved nothing more than glad handing Irish American supporters of the Provisional Republican movement, may well have improved the mood of certain sectors of Sinn Féin - IRA with regard to calling a ceasefire. If the concession of US visa to Ismail Haniye for a trip that would allow him some tea drinking and back slapping with Arab American supporters were likely to lead to a complete Hamas ceasefire leading to something like a Good Friday deal between Israel and Hamas, I'd be all for it.
Abuminah argues that John Hume - a negotiator of the peace accord for Northern Ireland - wrote an op-ed advocating for Israeli recognition of Hamas. However, that isn't the unanimous position of all those involved. David Trimble, also Nobel Lauereate for his efforts wrote:
If there is one lesson to learn from the Northern Ireland experience, it is that preconditions are crucial in ending violence and producing a settlement. Being overgenerous to extremist groups is like giving sweets to a spoilt child in the hope that it will improve its behaviour - it usually results in worse actions. Our experience suggests that while some flexibility is desirable, there have to be clear principles and boundaries. A failure to recognise this risks drawing the wrong conclusions from the recent history of Northern Ireland and fundamentally misunderstanding the peace process.
Could I just add one thing to that, if I may? Of course, negotiation is far, far better -- infinitely better -- than military action. As far as Northern Ireland is concerned, we welcome hugely the progress that has been made following the Good Friday Agreement. It also has to be said that before that happened, there had to be a change of approach by those who saw terrorism as the answer. And that approach partly changed because of the firmness of the military and police response to that terrorism. And if there had not been that firm response by successive British governments and others to the terrorist threat that was posed on both sides, we would not have been able to get some of those people into negotiations. We would not be marking what is a satisfactory day in the history of Northern Ireland today.
Fresno Zionism attacks Abuminah's claim of the sanctity of the Palestinian right of return.
You must give Abumimah and his friends credit for chutzpah: first, they invent a 'right' -- the repatriation of the descendants of refugees from a war that their own leaders caused -- that has never existed in history, then they breed a whole population in misery for years to make a demographic weapon of mass destruction out of them, and finally they demand that they be allowed to use it to end the Jewish state. What will remain for them to 'recognize'?
Balfour Street makes a similar argument.
Elder of Ziyon gets to the heart of the matter with a single rhetorical question:
So according to Abunimah, for Israel to ask its negotiating partners to not demand its violent destruction is "unworkable"?
Crossposted on Yourish.
Posted: 29 Aug 2010 02:51 PM PDT
Welcome to Musical Monday a weekly feature that Elie and I alternate hosting - sometimes getting a little help from our friends. Though Yitz figured out the theme, there are still plenty of songs to be ID'd from Musical Monday #155.
1) I can make it longer if you like the style,
Other than the instrumentals, (Also Sprach Zarathrusta, A fifth of Beethoven) I knew about The Lover's Concerto, All By Myself and Could it be Magic.
I was unfamiliar with Green Day's Basket Case, but when I saw that it was based on Canon by Pachelbel - my favorite piece of classical music, well I could quite believe it.
Do you hear a similarity? :-)
1) The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
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