The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


In two recent pieces in the NY Times, George Soros and Nicholas Kristof act as a tag-team to reinforce the growing “blame Israel” mime among many on the Left. It’s as if they've coordinated their articles, much to the joy of the NY Times editors, both asking for a “re-evaluation” of America’s relationship with the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

Kristof states: “The lack of serious political debate about our policy toward Israelis and Palestinians harms America, Middle East peace prospects and Israel itself.” Citing the King of Jordan as his mouthpiece, Kristof quotes the King: "The wellspring of regional division, the source of resentment and frustration far beyond, is the denial of justice and peace in Palestine."

Not to be outdone, Soros (a billionaire and major campaign contributor to the Democratic party and Liberal causes) presents a rambling article in which he states:
Then came the blunder I am talking about. Israel, with the strong backing of the United States, refused to recognize the democratically elected Hamas government and withheld payment of the millions in taxes collected by the Israelis on its behalf. This caused great economic hardship and undermined the ability of the government to function. But it did not reduce popular support for Hamas among Palestinians, and it reinforced the position of Islamic and other extremists who oppose negotiations with Israel. The situation deteriorated to the point where Palestine no longer had an authority with whom it would have been possible for Israel to negotiate.”

Soros is either purposely trying to mislead or completely misunderstands the dynamic in the ME. The fact that Hamas is unequivocal in its desire for Israel’s destruction seems not to enter the picture. Should the US and Israel fund the purchase of even more weaponry that is used to kill Israelis? I guess they should, because of all the Palestinian "hardship."

But wait. Today's NY Times seems to contradict Mr. Soro's claim that aid and "hardship" are inversely proprotional:
Despite the international embargo on aid to the Palestinian Authority since Hamas came to power a year ago, significantly more aid was delivered to the Palestinians in 2006 than in 2005, according to official figures from the United Nations, United States, European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Finance Minister Salam Fayyad estimates that the Palestinian Authority received more than twice the amount of budget support in 2006 than in 2005. Instead of going to the Palestinian Authority, much of the money was given directly to individuals or through independent agencies like the World Food Program.

The International Monetary Fund and the United Nations say the Palestinians received $1.2 billion in aid and budgetary support in 2006, about $300 per capita, compared with $1 billion in 2005.

If we conflate Soro's claims and the NYT's facts, it appears that the Palestinians's “hardship” (actually, "suffering" tends to be the operative word among those who make excuses for the Palestinian barbarism and inability to govern themselves) increases in direct proportion to the aid they are given. I do suspect, based on the Times article, that those who buy weapons may be "suffering" a bit. But if Soros and Kristof have their way, that will be remedied with still more aid, provided directly to Hamas by the US and Israel.

Kristof and Soros opine that if only Israel would be more pliable, if only AIPAC wouldn’t influence American foreign policy to the extent that it does, if only … hell, what they really want to say, I’m convinced, but can’t bring themselves to say it, is: if only Israel would disappear, all would be right in the world.

That is utter nonsense.

Kristof blames much of the strife in the ME on Israel. Soros does so, although with a bit of indirection. Ed Koch comments:
How do the King [of Jordan] and Kristof [and by extension, Soros] explain the eight-year war between Iraq and Iran, the war of Egyptian military forces in a military coup creating the Yemen Arab Republic, the occupation by Syria of Lebanon, the threatened war by Syria against Jordan stopped by Israeli tanks, the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, and the genocide currently engaged in by the Sudanese Arab government against the black Sudanese of Darfur? They don't. Surely they were not the result of Israel's existence. Kristof says, "Though widely criticized, King Abdullah was exactly right: from Morocco to Yemen to Sudan, the Palestinian cause arouses ordinary people in coffee shops more than almost anything else." Kristof is implicitly defending the Palestinian suicide bombers who have killed over a thousand Israeli civilians and maimed many more.

But no matter. It appears that Left-wing attitudes about Israel are no longer about facts, no longer about reason, no longer about the realities in a troubled part of the world. They are, as I have said many times in this space, about reaction formation. The Left is faced with an intractable problem, caused by Islamofascist hatred, an unwillingness to accept a non-Moslem state in the ME, and virulent anti-Semitic propaganda promulgated by virtually every Arab state and all of their state-run media, along with al Jezera. So what do many on the Left do? Attack the target of the hatred, the intolerance, the propaganda.

It makes no sense to me, but then again, I’m guilty of relying on facts, reason, and reality, and that, obviously, leads to my confusion.