Monday, July 28, 2008

May an American Comment on Israel?

That is the title of Daniel Pipes' article in response to an article by Yoram Schweitzer, Not That Bad A Deal, on the topic of the Kuntar deal.

Schweitzer is described as "the director of the Terrorism and Low Intensity Warfare Project at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies and was a member of the prime minister's special task force that looked for the Israeli MIAs."

Schweitzer writes:
Daniel Pipes is a distinguished Middle East scholar. Yet even the most penetrating eyes can ignore painful truths, and the contents and tone of his latest article, "Samir Kuntar and the last laugh" (The Jerusalem Post, July 21), are patronizing and insulting, overlooking as they do the fact that the government and public have the right to decide for themselves to which of the conflicting principles and values that arise in blackmail situations they will adhere, and to shoulder the resulting price.
What slowly dawned on me as I read Pipes--and double-checked in Schweitzer--is that this is not a criticism that Jews who want to criticize Israel should make Aliyah. This is an argument that no one outside of a country have the right to criticize the decisions made by that country and their government.

To his credit, Pipes takes the argument more seriously than I do and addresses it accordingly--but I wonder if this is what Israel is slowly coming to: telling the world to bud out of Israel's business.

I'm not sure that is such a bad thing in general, but it would be more meaningful if Israel would tell the UN or the EU to go take a hike. Telling pundits not to criticize Israel is easy and safe--and will have absolutely no affect. On the other hand, being able to to tell the organizations and countries (including the US) that feel perfectly free to lecture Israel on what is in her best interests to bud out--that would do Israel a world of good.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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