Marty Peretz’s latest New Republic article is really worth reading in full. It’s an article about the Arab Spring. But like all Peretz articles, it’s really an article about how Palestinians deserve to live stateless and under occupation indefinitely. But at root, it’s just an article about how he dislikes Arabs. Nothing, after all, is actually said about Palestinians or Palestine until the very end. It’s a long recantation about the evils of the Saudi regime, about the problems of the Libyan revolution, about upheavals in Syria, etc. Lots of stuff out there for Peretz to dislike. And I join him in wishing that there were a bit more skepticism out there about the New Bosses in Libya. Then, finally, in the penultimate graph we get the point:
The fact is that Israel has stayed out of the ups and downs (and ins and outs) of the Arab Spring. But Assad’s menacing of the Jewish State in this circumstance is evidence of how hazardous any Israeli-Arab frontier line is. If I were an Israeli strategist I wouldn’t give up the Golan Heights for anything. And I surely wouldn’t go back to the 1949 lines either. Nor, for that matter, would I surrender the Jordan River (which is not “deep and wide,” despite what the folk song says, though it may be “chilly and cold”) either to the Hashemite kingdom or to the Palestinian rump.
The justification for this seems to be not much more than his hazy general dislike of Arabs. But the significance of the piece is not so much in the logic as in the conclusion. There’s no Bibi-ish deceptions here where Peretz pretends to favor a Palestinian State but oh here’s so many conditions to make it a joke. In the Peretz vision, Israel simply takes the parts of the West Bank it wants, controls the West Bank’s land border with Jordan, and leaves behind a “Palestinian Rump.” Because it can.
I’d recommend Nick Kristof as a useful counterpoint.