I'm on a business trip today so can't blog much. The new Pope is all over the blogosphere and the MSM, so I'll toss out something else just for variety's sake: Thomas Friedman's column today in the New York Times. Friedman's always interesting and I agree with him about half the time. This column, misleadingly entitled "Rooting for The Good Guys in The Middle East," focuses on Ariel Sharon's "360" on the Israeli Gaza settlements, so it is by definition controversial. These paragraphs caught my eye:
The Jewish settler movement in Israel has always been a minority. The
Israeli majority went along with it - as long as there was no price. But now the
price has become inescapable.
"There is something quite stunning when you think about it," the
Israeli political theorist Yaron Ezrahi remarked. "Three Israeli prime
ministers, [Yitzhak] Rabin, [Ehud] Barak and Sharon - all of them army generals,
two from Labor one from Likud - all came to the same conclusion: that the
occupation was unsustainable [from the point of view of] Israel's national
defense." As a result, they all shifted from focusing on "wars of necessity to
focusing on a peace of necessity," Mr. Ezrahi added. Mr. Sharon doesn't want to
explain this about-face publicly, in part, I assume, because it suggests
weakness - that Israel can't keep doing what it has been doing, and knows it.
But this withdrawal is a threat to the Jewish religious nationalists. Their
goal is not peace, but to conquer Israeli society with their messianic vision
and biblical map. They killed Mr. Rabin for getting in their way and have
threatened to do the same to Mr. Sharon. Some of these settlers will not go down
I am no expert on this subject, but Friedman's statements above (including the zinger about "Jewish religious nationalists") are striking to me for their blithe acceptance of certain "articles of faith" of the anti-settlement view. I'd be interested in reader's comments.