Monday, April 09, 2007

Let us now praise Robert Novak?

Credit where it's due: Robert Novak has written an astoundingly level-headed column about the occupied territories. That said, the impetus for the piece is apparently the plight of Christians within Palestine, but whatever makes people start facing reality, I guess. Novak makes the simple but obvious connection that cutting off funding for Palestine and so blatantly favoring Israel against them radicalizes yet more Palestinians and works against our interests. Something isn't exactly right, however, as Novak mentions one (Christian, free-marketer) mayor's plight because of his contact with the PFLP, and actually doesn't immediately agree with the State Department's designation of them as terrorists! Novak is either ignorant of the group all around or he is consciously refraining from accepting the official State line. Weird.

I won't say that this piece is too praiseworthy because in my mind it only meets the base-line requirements for establishing a sane discourse about solving the Israel/Palestine conflict. The point, however, is that this base-line is rejected by about 75% of the mainstream voices discussing the issue. This base-line includes 1) not automatically blaming the Palestinians for bringing all their woes upon themselves, 2) honestly acknowledging the continued settlement-building in the occupied territories, contrary to all of the international peace recommendations, 3) acknowledging that whoever is ultimately at fault, many more Palestinians die from the conflict than Israelis, and 4) recognizing that life for the Palestinians is often second-class and segregated when it doesn't have to be. Say what you will about the profoundly retrogressive and terroristic acts against civilians on the part of the armed wing of Hamas or Islamic Jihad; in fact, I will gladly join you. But just attempt to be fair, for Christ's sake.

Novak actually goes quite beyond these starting points, titling his piece "Worse Than Apartheid?" (this may have been the WaPo editors, of course), sticking up for Jimmy Carter (!), calling the killing of a Palestinian man by the IDF "a minor incident last week of the type that goes unnoticed internationally" (what, no worldwide liberal media?), and saying that the separation wall "in most places is a big, ugly and intimidating wall, not merely a fence." Who the fuck forgot to properly indoctrinate this guy Monday morning?

I'm all for this, by the way, if Novak feels like being a "useful idiot" in raising awareness about the plight of the Palestinians. If what it takes is for a bunch of crusty old Beltway insiders like him to start talking about Christians being persecuted in Gaza, that's fine; just as long as they remain unintimidated by the hardcore party liners who normally put such people in their place. Let's see some more of this.


Post a Comment

<< Home