World leaders have pegged the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the panacea for Middle East peace for decades. Some have gone as far as to suggest peacemaking between these two peoples impart far-reaching, even global ramifications. Most have had to recoil their dropped jaws and eat their words when the real issues came to light as the Middle East became a tender box, first with an uprising in Tunisia then Libya, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Albania, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. Never again can anyone point the finger at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the world’s biggest woe without looking like a laughing stock.
Jonah Goldberg does an extraordinary job of covering Israel and debunking the myth that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will bring world harmony in his article The Real ‘Realism’ on Israel featured on Townhall.com
HERZLIYA, Israel — Finally, I can put the rumors to rest: the land of Zion isn’t merely an abstraction, it’s an actual country.
I am in Israel — my first time — to cover the Herzliya Conference, the country’s premier national security forum.
(Full disclosure: My trip, as well as that of several other journalists, was underwritten by the Emergency Committee for Israel, which seeks “to educate the public about the serious challenges to Israel’s security.” The views here are my own.)
One of the few things that critics and friends of Israel can agree on is that Israel is different, a special sort of nation representing a special idea. That’s true whether you subscribe to the heroic narrative, popularized by Leon Uris, of Israel’s birth or the sadly more familiar anti-colonialist fable so popular among the campus left and the anti-Israel industry.
This is especially so for America’s so-called realists. Whether they are sympathetic to Israel or scornful, they are convinced U.S. support for Israel fuels hatred and instability. Hence their obsession with the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
For instance, last night here in Herzliya, former Obama National Security Advisor James Jones said that if God were to have visited Barack Obama in 2009 with instructions on how to “make the world a better place and give more people hope and opportunity for the future,” it would involve finding a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue. In 2009, when Jones was still Obama’s NSA advisor, he told “J Street” — the “pro-Israel” lobby that isn’t very pro-Israel — that if he could just solve one problem in the world, it would be the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the “epicenter” of U.S. foreign policy.
Such thinking falls somewhere between wild exaggeration and dangerous nonsense. Iran’s pursuing nuclear weapons. Al-Qaeda remains dedicated to our destruction. Turkey, a once-staunch ally, is Islamifying. Russia is careening toward autocracy and China is on the march. Oh, and the United States is fighting two land wars. But the national security advisor’s No. 1 priority was keeping Israelis from building houses in East Jerusalem? Really?
Also, how would a two-state solution bring more hope and opportunity to the world’s poor? Or to those dying from AIDS or living under the yoke of dictatorship?
This, too, is the product of treating Israel like an abstraction. Obviously, the Palestinians’ plight (real and imagined) contributes to the Middle East’s problems. But it’s not the source of those problems, and it is not the key to solving them either.
About the author
Jennifer Hanin must love Israel. She spends her days advocating for the Jewish State she has never stepped foot in. Besides her passion for Israel and its people, she is an award-winning writer, influential blogger, and critically acclaimed author of What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant: the Complete Guide to All the Technologies for Couples Facing Fertility Problems (Da Capo, 2005). Newsweek (July 4, 2005) recommended Jennifer’s book as one to buy when undergoing fertility treatments. Jennifer's most recent highly acclaimed book is Becoming Jewish: The Challenges, Rewards and Paths to Conversion (Rowman & Littlefield, September 2011). JTA ranked Jennifer @jennhanin as #38 on their 100 Most Influential Jewish Twitter Users for 2010, and #10 in the category of Politics and Policy. She also won Shorty Awards in the categories of Religion and Judaism in 2009. She has appeared on television and radio to discuss her book and blog, and her blog has generated interest from every continent except Antarctica. Editors have translated her work into Dutch, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish, French and Arabic.