Even a loyalist Zionist like New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, knows that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has created what David Fromkin described as a "version of events" with his demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a ploy designed merely to delay and prolong a peace process which Netanyahu has no intention to ever let reach a fair and just conclusion.
Cohen calls his column, "My Jewish State," a not so subtle acknowledgement that he considers Israel to be his second home. (Does this not border on "dual loyalty"?) Cohen is typical of Liberal Zionists who try their best to "see both sides" in the conflict, but whose loyalty to Israel leaves little doubt as to where their heart lies.
Here is Cohen trying his journalistic best -- and he is one of the better Times' columnists -- when he strongly suggests that Netanyahu's stalling tactics are acts of destruction for the peace talks:
"Then there is the rebounding Israel-is-a-Jewish-state bugbear: Netanyahu wants Palestinians to recognize his nation as such. He has recently called it 'the real key to peace.' His argument is that this is the touchstone by which to judge whether Palestinians will accept 'the Jewish state in any border' -- whether, in other words, the Palestinian leadership would accept territorial compromise or is still set on reversal of 1948 and mass return to Haifa.
"Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, says no; this 'nyet' will endure. For Palestinians, such a form of recognition would amount to explicit acquiescence to second-class citizenship for the 1.6 million Arabs in Israel; undermine the rights of millions of Palestinian refugees; upend a national narrative of mass expulsion from land that was theirs; and demand of them something not demanded from Egypt or Jordan in peace agreements, nor of the Palestine Liberation Organization when, in 1993, Yasir Arafat wrote to Yitzhak Rabin that it recognizes the right of Israel 'to exist in peace and security.'"
Even as a loyal Zionist, Cohen dismisses Netanyahu's demand for recognition as nothing but a diversion:
"This issue is a waste of time, a complicating diversion when none is needed. As Shlomo Avineri, a leading Israeli political scientist, put it to me, 'It's a tactical issue raised by Netanyahu in order to make negotiations more difficult.'"
Which leads to the conclusion, the "recognition" diversion is not only making negotiations more difficult, it is guaranteeing that the negotiations will fail.
And that, of course, is Benjamin Netanyahu's reason for all his game-playing with John Kerry's plans for peace, which the Secretary once again is trying to explain in Tel Aviv. (above left)
In this year 2014, supporters of Israel in the U.S., both secular and religious, should look long and hard at this strategy of delay and defeat employed by the Israeli Prime Minister.
Case in point, national Christian church governing bodies will meet during the next two years. The United Methodist (2016) the Presbyterian (2014) and the Episcopal (2015) denominations will all "debate" their actions and attitudes toward Israel and Palestine. What's to debate?
The church leaders who will vote in those conferences and assemblies should begin now, at the start of 2014, to examine Israel's consistent acts of dissemblance.
My definition sources describe dissemblance as an action that wants to leave "a false or misleading semblance of something." Those who dissemble conceal their "true motives, feelings or beliefs." In short, they "mislead, deceive, misguide, or fake."
It was dissemblance that led to the creation of a western-designed Middle East almost a century ago. And it is dissemblance that Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to employ to build his kingdom from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Is this the man the United Methodists, the Presbyterians and the Episcopalians want as their guide for peace in the Middle East?
The picture of Israeli housing in the Jordan Valley is by Reuters. It appeared on the Foreign Policy web site. The picture of Secretary Kerry is from Ma'an. It is a pool photo by AFP's Brendan Smialowski, taken at the Secretary's first public appearance this week in Tel Aviv.
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