Calling for a Peace Plan

Thursday, March 17, 2011

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker and author of The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, calls on President Obama to clearly support a Palestinian state and offer a peace plan.


David Remnick

Comments [37]

gary from queens


Like many americans, you are simply exposed to false information. Arabs have opposed the jewish state since its birth. they opposed jews living among them long before that. Islamic religious tolerance dictated the long history of this dispute. not recent and sporadic"occupation" of merely the last 3-4 decades. I refer you to:

"Proportional response" is a misunderstood term. It has a military and legal definition in the uN charter that in no way resembles common understanding of it. It doesnt mean that israel can launch a rocket into a populated arab town after Hamas has launched one into israel. But it also doesn't mean that unleashing of a war lasting years that targeted Israeli civilians with constant incitement by the PA media following Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount was justified either. it was clearly disproportional, yet you dismiss it because Palestinians are the military underdog. That drives your narrative---always.

Your concept of proportionality is ridiculous, especially in relation saying Israel is not responding in proportion to what Hamas has done to them. using their (Hamas and the media’s) definition of proportional response would mean doing exactly what they do in return; an eye for an eye. That means firing 3000+ rockets arbitrarily into Gaza without concern for where they land, not warning civilians when attacks are coming and to take cover, not providing humanitarian aid, and blowing up buses with the intention of killing innocent people. Another thing he touched on was something I’ve wondered whether the world will ever understand: the ineptitude of the Palestinians to make smart decisions and constantly waste opportunities to better help themselves. If you do your research, you’ll be amazed to discover that Israel has offered multiple peace proposals over the years, and every single time, the Palestinian ruling body has said no. Not ceasefires. I’m talking about legitimate peace offers that have Israel giving up territory to Palestinian control and rule.

Mar. 17 2011 07:52 PM

The US and South AFrican experiences with segregation and apartheid have NOTHING whatsoever to do with anything going on in Israel. Nothing whatsoever. From the day the STate of Israel came into being, Arab men and women have had the vote. There are elected Arab and Druze representatives in the parliament, and even on the SUpreme Court of Israel. There is no law that prevents an Arab or Muslim or Christian becoming president or prime minister of ISrael. As for the territories, they are no different than US territories, such as Puerto Rico, Samoa or Guam. There is home rule in the territories called the Palestinian Authority, and the people there elect their own leaders just as Puerto Ricans elect their own governor.

Mar. 17 2011 05:56 PM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

Perhaps we should look to our own experience to understand what is happening there: the Jim Crow south. In the old south, the whites did not object to blacks living amongst them, just so long as they knew and respected their place in society. Similarly, the Muslims in the Middle East don't object to Jews living amongst them, just so long as they accept the strictures of dhimmitude and pay homage to the master faith.

Peace came to the south when federal agents moved in and beat the Jim Crow mentality out of the whites. Peace is possible with the Arabs and Muslims who do not subscribe to the notion of dhimmitude, the others will have to have it drilled into them that there is no going back to it.

Mar. 17 2011 05:25 PM
Sarah from NJ

gary the israeli reaction to any violent act by Palestinians is always highly disproportionate...also, by your logic of action and reaction, the palestinians can be judged as simply and fairly reacting to years of occupation and oppression

Mar. 17 2011 04:12 PM
Sarah from NJ

i dont feel it is valid for the first caller to cite the murder of one israeli family when so many more palestinian families have been murdered...consider the recent israeli offensive in gaza when more than a thousand palestinians were killed (mostly civilians) and only 10 or 15 israelis were killed...this kind of imbalance occurs too frequently to ignore and while i dont agree with murder by either side, i dont believe it is fair to judge palestinians based on an act which has been blown out of proportion

Mar. 17 2011 04:09 PM
gary from queens

Dear Binyamin from Orangeburg

I know where you are coming from. And I know that you are wrong. You cannot make a fair judgment solely by reading the left wing anti israel blogs.

"Treatment of the Palestinian population on the West Bank and in Gaza" is what it needs to be to prevent attacks. You get the due process that is due you, as they say. Check points and other restrictions imposed are a REACTION. To what? To generations----and currently----of PLO and Fatah incitement narratives. While Israel obeyed Oslo and outlawed hate speeech and political parties seeking to expel arabs, the PLO under ARRAFAT and today indoctrinated generations to hate jews.

Your occupation narrative fails the reality test. Israel ended occupation of Gaza and rockets flew from Hamas OCCUPATION. Same with hezbollah in Lebanon. No israeli can live among palestinians in their territories. Yet Palestinians are building settlements inside israel and Jeruslaem with no restrictions.

To date Netanyahu's concessions have included his acceptance of Palestinian statehood and the two-state paradigm for peace; his temporary prohibition on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria; his undeclared prohibition on Jewish building in Jerusalem; his undeclared open-ended prohibition of Jewish building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem after his temporary building ban expired; his agreement to drastically curtail IDF counterterror operations in Judea and Samaria; his move to enact an undeclared abatement of law enforcement against illegal Arab construction in Jerusalem; and his decision to enable the deployment of the US-trained Palestinian army in Judea and Samaria.

And the Jews got nothing but your fallacious false narratives. What good did it do them?

Mar. 17 2011 03:42 PM
Binyamin from Orangeburg

To clarify, when I allege Israel is enforcing an apartheid regime, I am, of course, referring to its treatment of the Palestinian population on the West Bank and in Gaza. Although the status of Israeli Arab civil rights is precarious at best. Read the following:
See also,

Mar. 17 2011 02:57 PM
gary from queens

Dear Mr. Binyamin in Orangeburg from Orangeburg

Israel is a nation under seige every day. Yet it remains one of the worlds most open democracies with the most fairest court system. Muslims sit in the Knesset. One million arab Muslim are citizens of israel and own businesses and professions. Name one Muslim nation in the mideast today where the reverse is possible. If jews have not already been purged, they are leaving muslim nations for their survival.

So the allegation of israeli apartheid is onerous and a canard.

As far as the revolutions going on now being pro democracy, please read the following for an accurate reading of events:

3 articles:

March 2, 2011 4:00 A.M.
Libya’s Makeover
The Libyan people are no more our ally than Qaddafi.

or Listen to the Audio Version:


Andrew C. McCarthy
March 10, 2011 4:00 A.M.
No Intervention in Libya
In the absence of compelling national-security interests, we should stay out.

or Listen to the Audio Version:

And later defends himself from the interventionistas:

Libya Commentary
March 10, 2011 1:01 P.M.
By Andrew C. McCarthy

Mar. 17 2011 02:03 PM
Binyamin in Orangeburg from Orangeburg

I agree with Remnick for two reasons. The status quo is an apartheid regime. All the waving of the bloody shirt in the comments below is just an attempt to rationalize continuation of an apartheid regime. Remnick is spot on when he says that the revolutions sweeping the Arab world are democratic and not anti-western in their demands. America stands for democracy, equality and human rights, not apartheid. Our nation cannot lend its moral sanction to an apartheid state, and we will be increasingly isolated in the world if we abandon our democratic ideals in order to support Israel, especially when the Arab world is moving toward democracy. But Remnick doesn't go far enough. We have tell Bibi that if he doesn't accept the Obama Plan, no more support, either diplomatic or military.

Mar. 17 2011 01:20 PM


Mar. 17 2011 12:37 PM

Tom is sending me to counseling :) You are right, Tom. I should have taught my son to be a suicide bomber, or to go out and murder German or Polish or Arab babies, because of what happened to my family in the Holocaust, or what happened to the Jews of Hebron in 1929. If I am not out for bloody vengeance, I must be crazy.

Actually, Tom, you should sent the Palestinians to get counseling. Send them to Remnick's shrink in the Upper West Side.

Mar. 17 2011 12:15 PM
gary from queens

The last caller was typically naive in saying that we must find peace because of the assault on the Israeli psyche.

As Sheen would say, Duhhhh. Indeed, that is the idea behind islamic jihad! We embrace peace as the norm. They are taught that war against the non muslim world. They DEFINE it as a war zone.

Jihadists embrace a cult of death. Following the 9-11 attack, Ossama bin Laden said, "We love death. The US loves life. That is the big difference between us." The jihadists' greatest weapon is the knowledge that liberal democracies cannot tolerate prolonged war as the norm---that all wars must come to an end for normalcy to return. Jihadism believes in war without end, and martyrdom as a central reward. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has reportedly admitted planning the 911 attacks on the U.S., said "war is life." Forget mass murder of infidels and apostates, or the enslavement of women---this idea that war is an inevitable and constant part of life is the most alien and nihilistic philosophy that western liberal societies have ever faced. More antithetical to us than the anarchists' movement of the mid-19th century.

As unfathonable as westerners find this nihilism and acceptance of war as a normal state of affairs, you would think they would at least recognize, as Hugh Fitzgerald noted on on November 16, 2008, the evidence that Muslim Arabs had not "shown themselves willing to stick to treaties" they made with Infidel states, and as Majid Khadduri noted, such treaties are made to be broken, on the model of Al-Hudaibiyya. Fitzgerald explained one might begin with Majid Khadduri's 'War and Peace in the Law of Islam', which among many scholars, spelled out "that no treaty signed by Muslims with Infidels should be permanently obeyed, but regarded as necessarily to be breached when the occasion presents itself."

A sober recognition of these disturbing differences might have saved hundreds of Israeli lives from the folly of the Oslo accords. I'm not just referring to Arrafat's violation of Oslo's anti-incitement provisions. Any treaty that doesn't require recognition of Israel's sovereignty as a Jewish state invites the Muslim signitores to violate the treaty, with the legalistic "justification" the treaties can be established solely among and by sovereigns----for which they insist Israel is not. But with the doctrinal support that Muslims may violate treaty agreements made with infidels, one can readily see why the Muslim war against Israel was never actually about borders. It was and is about Israel's existence.

Mar. 17 2011 12:08 PM
tom from nyc

to jgarbuz :
my sincere condolences to you and your family and with all due respect, perhaps you would benefit from grief counseling.

Mar. 17 2011 12:07 PM

To Tom,

When was the last time an "indian" has cut a white settler's baby's throat, or scalped a white settler? At some point, even Geronimo surrendered. EVen if the Palestinian narrative were true, that the JEws came and kicked them all out at gunpoint, and stole their homes land, it STILL does not condone cutting the throats of babies or teaching their own children to be suicide bombers! What my mother went through was MUCH WORSE THAN ANY PALESTINIAN EVER WENT THROUGH IN ALL OF HISTORY, and yet never taught me to take revenge or to kill anyone, and certainly not babies. At some point, somebody has to surrender and accept reasonable peace terms. But Israel is not the one to surrender. Netanyahu gave the Palestinian reasonable peace terms. They can take it, or leave it. THeir choice.

Mar. 17 2011 11:55 AM

To Elaine,

The precedent is the Hebron Massacre of 1929, in which Jewish children were cut up with knives. This is nothing new. My mother just barely survived the Holocaust (her first four year old baby as well as her mother and brothers murdered by the Nazis), and I was born in a German DP camp just after the war. And yet she did NOT teach me - nor could I ever think of - cutting a Nazi's baby's throat, or plunging a knife into its heart. Or of becoming a suicide bomber. I wonder how long Remnick has actually lived in "Palestine?"

Mar. 17 2011 11:50 AM
tom from nyc

what about cause and effect?
if you forcibly occupy another country or territory, surely you must consider the risk of isolated acts of vengeance.

Mar. 17 2011 11:46 AM
Elaine from Baltimore

Someone might consider the fact that in the Palestinian Authority, anti-Jewish propaganda is so ubiquitous and so murderous that killing the Fogel babies was an act of heroism. The baby killers knew that by murdering Udi, Ruth, Hadas, Yoav and Elad they would enter the pantheon of Palestinian heroes. They can expect to have a sports stadium or school in Ramallah or Hebron built for them by the Palestinian Authority and underwritten by American or European taxpayers.

What explains such unspeakable evil? What sort of human being deliberately butchers a sleeping baby, or plunges a knife into a toddler's heart?

The murder of the Fogel children and their parents was greeted with jubilation in Gaza.

Carnivals were held in the streets as Hamas members handed out sweets.

No longer civilians with an inherent right to live, in universities throughout the US and Europe, Israeli innocents are castigated as “extremist-Zionists” or “settlers” who basically deserved to be killed.

From the BBC to CNN the Fogels were not described as Israelis. They were a “settler family.” Their murderers were “alleged terrorists.”

The Palestinian "foreign minister," Riyad al-Malki, also voiced doubt that the killers could have been Palestinian. "The slaughter of people like this by Palestinians," he claimed, "is unprecedented." Actually, the precedents abound.

The atrocity in Itamar recalls the 2002 terror attack at Kibbutz Metzer that left five victims dead, including a mother and her two little boys. It brings to mind the murder of Tali Hatuel and her four daughters, who were shot at point-blank range as they drove from Gaza to Ashkelon in 2004. It is reminiscent of the bloodbath in a Jerusalem yeshiva three years ago, in which eight young students were gunned down. Unprecedented? If only.

The civilized mind struggles to make sense of such savagery.

But the truth is simpler, and bleaker. Human goodness is not hard-wired. It takes sustained effort and healthy values to produce good people; in the absence of those values, cruelty and intolerance are far more likely to flourish.

For years the Palestinian Authority has demonized Israelis and Jews as enemies to be destroyed, vermin to be loathed, and infidels to be terrorized with Allah's blessing. Children who grow up under Palestinian rule are inundated on all sides -- in school, in the mosques, on radio and TV, even in summer camps and popular music -- with messages that glorify bloodshed, promote hatred, and lionize "martyrdom."

This my friends IS the new, yes, I know you HATE to hear this, anti-semitism.

Mar. 17 2011 11:38 AM

The lesson of WWII was that most JEws then believed that they had full citizen rights in the democratic Weimer republic, France and HOlland and Italy and Poland, etc., and that they would be protected under the democratic constitutions of those countries. Why, the old USSR had antisemitism made officially illegal in their old constitution. The people who feel fully secure and protected in the Upper West Side of Manhattan today feel the same way Most Jews don't believe in Zionism until they are dragged away in shock. But over time, as I listen to National Public Radio being turned into National Palestinian Radio, I wonder if their smugness is as well founded as they believe. They trust the American constitution, and have faith in the Palestinians. They are a JOKE. Not a funny one.

Mar. 17 2011 11:37 AM
tom from nyc

why is it so hard to see that the underlying issue is racism? old ancient racism.

Mar. 17 2011 11:35 AM
To illfg

Last time I counted we had something like 15 Jewish senators (see Wikipedia). Go figure.

Mar. 17 2011 11:33 AM
gary from queens

It's sad that an otherwise intelligent person like Remnick (an assumption, i admit) continues to believe in myths.

Obama has already forced Israeli concession after concession. Abbas hasn't moved on them. He has stated he can never recognize a jewish state. Read Caroline Glick's blog. Read also Andrew McCarthy:
March 16, 2011 4:00 A.M.
Why They Celebrate Murdering Children
Islam is as Islam does.
February 19, 2011 4:00 A.M.
Death to Apostates: Not a Perversion of Islam, but Islam
The case of Said Musa shows why we cannot graft democracy onto Islamic societies.

Mar. 17 2011 11:32 AM

for every $1 america spends on 1 African, America spends $250 for every Israeli. Israeli lobbies our country more than all other nations combines. Yet they do not do much in terms of humanitarian aid for the rest of the world. Is it any wonder why we have a problem in the middle east? We pay 3 billion a year for Israeli soldiers to shoot palestinian children who throw rocks. how quickly peole forget the lessons of WW2

Mar. 17 2011 11:28 AM

I'm listening the David Remnick’s piece. About murder of the Fogel’s familiy, Israeli police declared, there are no evidences about the terrorist act, and they are going to treat this like the criminal murder.

Mar. 17 2011 11:27 AM

Karl Marx spawned a nation within a nation - the utopian, socialist "Jew." Generation after generation, these left wingers have been WRONG. From Bolshevism to crazy "peace plans," they always think they KNOW the "solution" and always are surprised when their well thought out "solutions" FAIL! They can't figure out why they are always WRONG!

Mar. 17 2011 11:26 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I received an email this morning from a Jewish peace group saying that the early reports that the Jewish family were killed by a Palestinian may not be accurate: "Later reports are unsure, with some claiming he may have been an angry ex-employee of Asian origin who was enraged by not being paid what he was owed by the settler he killed." In any case, any such incident doesn't mean that "they" (all Palestinians) do or support things like this.

Mar. 17 2011 11:26 AM
Estelle from Austin

I agree with Remnick.
On a sort of amusing note, my dad has a proposal (and he is serious): 1) Move everyone out---no one is allowed to actually live there; then 2) Subcontract Disney to set up a theme park/monument dedicated to world religions.

Mar. 17 2011 11:26 AM
Marty H'witz from Riverdale

Jews and Arabs are like brothers-- they were meant for each other. This shoving match over the bottom bunk is 3,000 years old already, and it will go on forever. I don't get worked up over it.

Mar. 17 2011 11:26 AM
Elaine from Baltimore

Has anyone heard of ANY Palestinian, outside some leaders who are paying lip service, condemn the murder of the Fogel family, children whose throat were slit while they were sleeping? My ears are DEAF to hearing anything from Palestinians reacting to this horrendous act!
Most people dont' even KNOW this happened over the weekend because it was buried in the news, even on CNN I had to search multiple pages to find the report.

Mar. 17 2011 11:23 AM
Dan from queens

Leave it to someone like Remnick to be harping on Israel when the leaders of other Middle Eastern countries are dropping bombs on their own people as he speaks.

Mar. 17 2011 11:22 AM

There is only ONE obstacle to peace; Only ONE!

The refusal of Muslim Arabs, and their LEFT WING JEWISH COLLABORATORS, to accept the legal

RIGHT of a JEWISH NATIONAL STATE to exist! Period.

Mar. 17 2011 11:21 AM
david from ditmas park

any chance that because Netanyahu's father is still alive he casts a influential shadow upon his son to hold to the hard line on the palestinian issue?

Mar. 17 2011 11:20 AM

I think we should divide Manhattan into an Upper West Side Leftist "Jewish" homeland, and send all the Lefties there, and build a wall around it. Call it Steinfeldland.

Mar. 17 2011 11:14 AM

Ask Remnick if he ever heard of the League of Nations, or of the San Remo conferences of 1920 and 1922, or of the Mandate in which the League of Nations gave Jews worldwide the right to return and settle "wastelands" and "state lands" in what the Europeans called Palestine. And if he feels that the League of Nations ruling creating the "Jewish National Home" is no longer is applicable, let him explain why. What gave the UN the right to ignore the legal precedents set down by the League? And if it has that right, does that mean when the UN also becomes defunct, that all of its many rulings can then be ignored later on?

Mar. 17 2011 10:54 AM

The US still technically occupies Puerto Rico, Samoa and the Virgin islands, since the Spanish-American war.

The only "peace plan" that can lead to recognition of a Palestinian state, is one where (a) Israel is fully recognized as the Jewish national state; (b) that Jerusalem is the united capital only of the Jewish state; and (c) Palestinian Arab exiles can return ONLY to the subsequent demilitarized Palestinian state and not to the Jewish state.

Israel will not be imposed upon. It has legal rights stemming from the ruling of the Council of the League of Nations in 1922, to settle Judah and Samaria, and the Arabs of Palestine alreadyi got a state in eastern Palestine called Jordan. Neither the UNited Nations nor the Swiss Geneva Conventions of 1949 can legally overrule the prior ruling of the Council of the League of Nations after WWI. So Israel's occupation and settlement of Judah, Samaria and Gaza stands on firm legal grounds.

Mar. 17 2011 10:49 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

One meme that Remnick subscribes to is that one can believe either that the Palestinians are people with rights that have to be accommodated or that Jews' rights do not end where Jordan's army conquered in 1949 (make no mistake, the difference between pre-1967 Israel and the occupied territories is that Jordan conquered the occupied territories in 1949), but one cannot believe both.

The problem with insisting on the 1967 borders is that doing so says that all Jewish interests, including Jewish communities that existed since before modern Zionism until the Jordanian expulsion in 1949 is irrelevant in the face of Jordan's conquest in 1949. There are legitimate Palestinian interests on the other side. But they should be be evaluated against Jewish interests rather than subsumed under a "right" created by past conquest that trumps all.

Mar. 17 2011 10:20 AM
bernie from bklyn

israel is and has been an occupier since 1967. and the US is just as guilty because we've supported and promoted this occupation the entire time.
the state of israel should not exist. it is a propped-up, fake state built on a foundation of lies.
BUT the damage has been done and the situation is what it is....therefore , israel has to give in and give the palestinians what they want and hopefully obama will finally see the situation clearly and finally end our unreasonable support for this false nation.

Mar. 17 2011 10:14 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Like his hero Obama, David Remnick no longer feels constrained to hide his not so latent hostility for the Israeli government and is becoming "progressively" more open about his antipathy toward the Jewish State.
It blossomed on December 24th during his interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot in which he was widely quoted as describing Israel as an "occupier since 1967.....and people like me can't take it anymore."
But in his column this week, he descends to new heights of hysteria by characterizing Netanyahu as the real problem in the Mideast and as "smug and lacking in diplomatic creativity" while laughably following with "Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, who have shown themselves willing to make the concessions needed for a peace deal".

This would be funny if it weren't so tragic. Brian, ask him if it isn't true that Abbas never responded to Olmert's generous final offer in January 2009, the inconvenient fact that Avishai's recent propaganda piece in the NYT Magazine accidentally forget to include.

Mar. 17 2011 09:43 AM

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