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August 5, 2007
Anti-Israeli Rant in New York Times Magazine
In today's New York Times Sunday Magazine, there is an essay written by Michael Ignatieff whose topic is the reasoning behind his decision to turn against the Iraq War.
Bear in mind, that Ignatieff is CANADIAN so why should his views matter is beyond me since, for the most part, this is America's fight in Iraq (the Canadians have been stellar in Afghanistan under Prime Minister Harper) but, I suppose, since he used to be on the faculty of Harvard, this grants a seal of approval on him at the New York Times.
Furthermore, Michael Ignatieff ignited a firestorm of criticism when he engaged in some anti-Israel bashing when he ran to become the leader of Canada's Liberal Party (a campaign he lost), describing Israel actions when it fought Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon as "war crimes" and has blamed Israel for Islamic wrath against the United States. .
Ignatieff wrote an article for the English paper the Guardian (itself, notably anti-American and anti-Israel) that, in Martin Kramer's words, "includes, in one form or another, every trendy calumny against Israel". Kramer:
There is the infamous South African analogy: Palestinian self-rule was really "a Bantustan, one of those pseudo-states created in the dying years of apartheid to keep the African population under control." The Palestinian Authority had "failed because Israel never allowed it to become a state." Reading through this piece, you would never know that there were Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David--because they're never mentioned. Perhaps Ignatieff didn't want to get into the debate over what happened or didn't happen in those talks, in which an Israeli leader proposed the creation of a Palestinian state on virtually all the lands occupied in 1967. But that would only have complicated things for Ignatieff's inevitably Solomonic verdict: "Both sides have an equal share of blame."
As for the Palestinian half of the blame, Ignatieff quickly shifts some of that to Israel's shoulders, too. Israel kept the Palestinian Authority too weak. "Had Israel realized that its own security depended on assisting in the establishment of a viable and, if necessary, ruthless Palestinian Authority it might now be secure." In particular, Israel did not allow the PA "enough military and police capability." Not enough? Did Ignatieff have a clue about what was going on in the PA? The PA (even according to David Hirst in the Guardian) had forty to fifty thousand persons in its security services--ten to twenty thousand more than the number agreed upon in Oslo II. As one observer put it, "the PA has become the most heavily policed territory in the world, with an officer-to-resident ratio of 1:50; the U.S. ratio for police officers and sheriff's deputies, in contrast, is 1:400." So what, in Ignatieff's view, would have been "enough military and police capability"? (And why military?)
In fact, the problem was never one of capability. It was one of will. The PA decided to wage war with the weapons it had been given to keep peace. Some think that had there been fewer "security services" and guns, there might not have been an intifada at all.
But the absolute low point of this article is Ignatieff's invocation of the "sacrifice of the young people on both sides in a mutually reinforcing death cult." It's an insufferable case of false symmetry, especially coming as it did in the midst of the worst suicide bombings. Even if you believe Israelis and Palestinians are locked in a "cycle of violence," you're showing yourself ignorant if you compare the suicidal "death cult" rampant among Palestinians to the stoic resolve of Israelis.
This merely gives a flavor to Michael Ignatieff's anti-Israel animus. Yet the Times, of all the people the paper could have chosen to confess that they have had a change of mind regarding the Iraq War, the paper chooses to honor a notably anti-Israel politician from Canada-perhaps enhancing his prestige and influence by giving him such an honored place in the paper. Why boost the bigot? Why would the Times show such high regard for such a man? The questions answers itself, no? After all, two weeks ago the magazine ran a apiece written by Noah Feldman (another Harvard faculty member) which attacked Orthodox Judaism-an attack that was based on numerous lies and fabrications and which was skewered by David Frum over the weekend at the National Review and American Thinker among other places.