Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Myth That Stays With Us

06barakclintonarafat.jpgAlthough I’m something of a historian by trade and inclination, in this space I try to keep to current events. But some historical events are of particular importance because they continue to shape today’s events. This is especially true of the failed attempt at Camp David in 2000 to cobble together a final peace agreement based on the Oslo process between israel and the Palestinians.

The common view that Arafat was solely responsible for the Camp David failure is false, but it is widely believed and that belief has colored the politics of the conflict to this very day. But some alternate versions, where Arafat is held blameless and painted as an innocent victim of American and Israeli machinations are equally false. (more…)

Posted by Mitchell Plitnick under Israel , Palestine , Yasir Arafat , Ehud Barak , Camp David
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In a recent op-ed in the Jewish weekly, The Forward, Jewish Voice for Peace was described as being “beyond the pale” because we “support divestment and … urge Congress to heed Carter’s words.” Interestingly, JVP receives a huge amount of support from the great many Jews all across the country and around the world whorabbis-debating.jpg believe we not only embody the spirit of tikkun olam (repairing the world), but are also working more than most for the best interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Be that as it may, let’s examine this rather arbitrary line that the writer of that op-ed, Rabbi Ira Youdovin, draws.

Let’s start with Jimmy Carter. The hysteria surrounding that book has, at least in public discourse, badly obscured the substance. Carter makes an eloquent and clear case that the suffering of Palestinians is intolerable and must end and that it is unrealistic for Israelis to believe they can ever be safe from attacks while that suffering is going on. This is hardly controversial to anyone paying attention to the realities on the ground. (more…)

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