Friday, March 11, 2011

Israel’s “Insecurity”: The Most Dangerous Myth

by Ira Chernus,, March 10, 2011

Sometimes it’s the good guys who do the most harm, because they know not what they do.

Take, for example, the New York Times’ foreign affairs columnist Roger Cohen. He has become the U.S. mass media’s most progressive voice on the Israel-Palestine conflict, consistently telling the right-wing Israeli government to make genuine efforts and meaningful compromises for peace. With a name like Cohen, there’s no doubt he’s got the weight of his Jewish identity as well as the prestige of his newspaper behind him. So his call for a just peace carries as much influence as anyone’s in the mainstream political debate, and a lot more than most.

But the most recent U.S. decision on Mideast policy shows how limited is the influence of Roger Cohen and everyone else criticizing the Obama administration for its pro-Israel tilt. As Cohen noted in his latest column, Obama decided to veto a UN Security Council resolution “condemning Israeli settlement building in the West Bank” — even though the president himself has said clearly that the U.S. “does not accept the legitimacy” of the Israeli construction and has demanded that it stop.

Why take such an embarrassing step, when every other Security Council member supported the resolution? “It’s Obama who’s facing an election next year where censure of Israel would cost him,” Cohen explained, stating the obvious.

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