Brooks on Moment of Hope
David Brooks has a glib op-ed today in the New York Times in which he celebrates a moment of hope in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. He suggests that all the factors analysts have been complaining about– the hegemony of the Likud in Israel, Ariel Sharon as PM, the re-election of George W. Bush, and the Iraq war, have ironically enough contributed to what he claims is an opening in the process. He gets a dig in at me, characterizing me as having said that the Iraq campaign was an elective war on behalf of Tel Aviv.
Brooks’s column makes no sense to me. First of all, the resumption of some sort of negotiations was made possible only by Yasser Arafat’s death, because Ariel Sharon hated Arafat, wanted to kill him, and refused to negotiate with him. Arafat was the elected president of the Palestinian Authority, however, and there was no one else to negotiate with. It seems to a lot of us that in the wasted past few years, Sharon has permanently spiked the possibility of there ever being a viable Palestinian state, and the Israeli colonization of the West Bank continues apace. Sharon’s so-called withdrawal from Gaza will mean nothing without a strong Palestinian Authority in the region– otherwise the military occupation will continue de facto.
As for my views on the causation of the Iraq war, sure I think there were strong elements in the Bush administration who wanted the war for reasons mainly connected to what they thought of as Israel’s security interests. Anyone who has been reading me knows very well, however, that I think the war had many causes, not just one. That Brooks seems to want to say I was wrong is odd. Would he like to deny the allegation altogether?
Likewise, his assertion is illogical because there is no evidence that Iraq has had the slightest impact on the Israel/Palestine situation whatsoever. Brooks and others were wrong to think it would. So now he is just declaring that he was right all along without offering any causal argument, and blaming me for stating something that is pretty obvious.
Brooks at one point tried to deny that there were any Neoconservatives. Next he will be denying there was any Iraq war.