Bush’s Semiorrhea


From J Street (I’ve added some links):

Speaking to Israel’s Parliament, President Bush accused those who believe in diplomacy to make America and Israel safe of indulging in a “foolish delusion” and the “false comfort of appeasement.”

Even more offensive, he likened us to those who favored talking to rather than defeating Adolf Hitler on the eve of World War II. How dare he invoke the memory of the Holocaust to justify his disastruous policies.

For seven and a half years, this President’s policies have fueled the fires of extremism rather than dampening them. His delusions led us into a disastrous war in Iraq. His disdain for diplomacy has alienated friends and emboldened enemies.

And the results? The forces of extremism are stronger than ever. Al Qaeda is on the move – into Iraq and elsewhere. Moderates are on the defensive from Lebanon to the Palestinian territories and elsewhere. And the United States and Israel are less secure.

This is Bush’s legacy. And he has the nerve to accuse us of indulging in “foolish delusions”?

This, Mr. President, is not what we want to hear on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. Real friends of Israel know that only a US-led diplomatic offensive in the region will resolve the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israel conflicts and ensure Israel’s security for another 60 years.

I don’t know if I’d go so far to say “only a US-led” diplomatic offensive will help move towards a resolution, but Bush’s speech in front of the Knesset was um…pretty silly. I wonder if Bush really thinks that Obama is to Iran or Palestine as Neville Chamberlian was to Germany, but I suspect that remark was also directed to many of the European countries that favor a diplomatic tack (instead of brute force) as well, especially in their criticisms of Bush’s debacle in Iraq, as well as the ongoing ravings of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

There was an interesting op-ed in the Buenos Aires Herald about 60 years of Israel here. Here is an excerpt:

So why, 60 years after its foundation does Israel still command so much attention? On the face of it, the answer seems easy; Israel was founded against the wishes of a large percentage of the inhabitants of what is now its national territory, many of its first citizens had been born elsewhere, it was not recognized by any of its neighbours, has fought a series of wars during the course of its existence and has for many years occupied territories conquered from its neighbours. And lurking behind these undeniable facts there’s the ever more commonly expressed feeling that Israel’s foundation involved a unique injustice, the triumph of the nationalism of the Jews over the nationalism of the Palestinians and the theft of their land and that its continued existence is, therefore, uniquely illegitimate. When comparable events elsewhere are examined, however, it becomes clear that there is nothing unique about either the circumstances of Israel’s birth or its history.

And the conclusion:

So we now come back to the original question, why does Israel continue to arouse such passions in some many places, 60 years after its birth? I would speculate that it’s because a lot of people who have no problem at all with the nationalism of the Irish, the Uzbeks or the Tamils seem to be made, at best, uncomfortable by the nationalism of the Jews. Not by their own or anybody else’s, just that of the Jews. It seems to stick in their craws that the Jews have their own state. They are happy for Jews to be doctors, lawyers, shrinks and bankers but for them to have their own state, elect corrupt and ignorant politicians, defend themselves and commit the occasional atrocity, just like the great majority of other nation states at some point in their history, doesn’t seem to be acceptable.

And yet, despite the hostility of so many, Israel at 60 thrives. It has absorbed huge numbers of immigrants from the Middle East and farther afield (indeed it has recently become a magnet for Sudanese refugees), it has enviable indices of human development, contributed a huge amount to science and maintained the only liberal democracy – imperfect, like all others – in the Middle East and all this in a context where it has constantly had to defend itself from attacks designed to be mortal. It therefore deserves the warmest possible congratulations on its 60th birthday and it’s to be hoped that Palestinians will soon be accepting congratulations for the foundation of their own state too.

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