A group of very well-known American leaders has written an open letter to the president blaming almost every aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Israel and urging heavy American pressure to change Israeli policy. If Israel does not comply, the letter suggests, the president should impose “consequences.”
The letter appears in the current edition of The New York Review of Books, and the group is led by Lee Hamilton. It is disturbing that such views characterize the influential signers of the letter, and that they chose to attack Israel while many have remained silent on the bloodshed, death, and repression in Libya and Syria. While uprisings there and in Tunisia, Bahrain, and Egypt are proving each day that what happens between Israelis and Palestinians does not determine the fate of the Middle East, the letter reflects the apparently unshakeable belief that the central and fundamental problem in the region is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even the evidence of the Arab Spring appears unable to defeat this attitude.
In this week’s edition of The Weekly Standard, I analyze and criticize the letter and the policies it proposes.