Pushing Peace

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli foreign minister under Ehud Barak, argues that negotiating with Hamas is the only way to secure a cease-fire in Gaza.


Shlomo Ben-Ami

Comments [27]

mgdu from hell's kitchen

Caller Lauren made a crucial point, that Israel was created and subsequently governed by terrorists, and good to have an elite Israeli politician admit it on American radio.

While Brian tries to bury Israel’s founding terrorism in the forgotten past, there is nothing more important in the present, and not just because Israel continues to rule by state terrorism.

Israel is a beacon of terrorism to the world, especially to the Middle East, where everyone who has been dispossessed sees how well Israel has succeeded by terrorism and consequently concludes that terrorism is the best way to get back their lands and independence.

Most crucially for Americans, our government’s support for Israeli terrorism is has corrupted our political ethics, destroyed our credibility throughout the world, and created terrible enmity towards us.

Mar. 20 2008 11:45 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

I wish more Jewish American really understand what Mr. Ben- Ami is saying. That a pragmatic approach is only way to secure Israel’s continued existence and security. That there is no military solution.

After so many generations of warfare Israel’s security is still uncertain. Militarism has failed.

Mar. 20 2008 11:39 AM

Wow, now I'm ready to buy the Brooklyn Bridge. Are the Israelis selling it? Let me go to them with my check book.

Mar. 20 2008 11:28 AM
RMCT from New York City

I must agree with the posters who are describing Brian as biased and anti-Palestinian. The callers who are characterizing Islam, Palestinians and Hamas are Americans who appear to know nothing about the actual events going on in the Mideast; they are over-generalizing, and presenting stereotypes and prejudices as facts. Brian, you seem to be accepting, and even arguing, their point of view. How can Israel live in peace if it abuses its neighbors and attempts to crush democratic processes (e.g., the vote in Gaza) whose results it does not like?

Going back to the history of 75 years ago, Brian, shows that ideology is not practice. The Zionists of the 1940s were extemists who employed terrorist tactics to achieve their goals. Yet Israel is not a terrorist nation.
Somebody compromised.

Brian -- never thought I'd say this to you -- you need to listen before you judge.

Mar. 20 2008 11:27 AM
Anonymous from NY

"With a religious imperative, there are no concessions". Right on, brother! As long as the roots of this conflict are deep within interpretations of faith and what did God MEAN by "the promised land"....this will never be resolved.

Mar. 20 2008 11:27 AM
cfb from NYC

I agree with rick, why do we never hear the Palestinian point of view?
Let's also consider the US point of view - is it in the best interests of the United States to continue to support Israel unconditionally? I don't know the answer, but it's ridiculous that I'm called anti-Semitic anytime I ask the question.

Mar. 20 2008 11:26 AM
chris from manhattan

First and foremost, the US who created Israel with land which wasn't their's, and pays for it's existence and gives them their war toys so they can be barbarically powerful, must step in and demand peace and the relinquishment of territorial settlements, including East Jerusulem. With the threat of no more support from the US and imminent takeover and invasion by our troops, there would be peace. The Palestinians would definitely deal with us if we returned all land stolen since 1967.

Mar. 20 2008 11:26 AM
leonardo aponte from new york

since no non Muslim can be in muslim land can we stop the immigration of muslims to non muslim land?

or maybe we should just come to grips to the fact that is a small planet & move on, who knows maybe the great majority of the muslim world may be lifted out of misery and people may stop bowing them selves up... maybe not happier people has less need for religious fervor. who looses?

Mar. 20 2008 11:24 AM
chris o from New York City

I will give Brian credit for asking the questions and not say he is being biased. It is his job to ask the tough questions of Ben-Ami, the kind of questions his critics would raise.

Mar. 20 2008 11:23 AM

Golly gee, I just love the way the Israel supporters completely project their own interests on their opponents. Freud would have a field day.

Mar. 20 2008 11:22 AM
chris o from New York City

Ben-Ami is the real deal: enlightened, looking at the long term, attempting to be fair and practical and open to grievances from the other side. This is called diplomacy, progress, and attempting to solve intractable problems and war.

Mar. 20 2008 11:22 AM
rick from brooklyn

does nayone think it's odd, and ironic, that Brian is more Pro Israel and anti- Palestinian than the former Foreign Minister of the Israeli Government???

Brian- could you please try to expand your reading list beyond the New York Times on the Israel/Palestone situation?

Mar. 20 2008 11:20 AM

Ben-Ami is a "concern troll," i.e. someone who pretends to understand the other side's POV to make the Israelis look not completely blood thursty. You must not take these sorts seriously, for your own emotional health.

Mar. 20 2008 11:20 AM
Louis Steinberg from new jersey

Negotiation only works if there is some non-zero-sum component to the conflict. What evidence is there that Hamas sees any non-zero-sum component?

Mar. 20 2008 11:18 AM
chris o from New York City

Hamas is complex since they have fighters, militants and terrorists that commit acts of violence. They also have a social services side providing education, medicine and food, etc.

Moreover, from their POV, they have lost many leaders but also their wives and children and other innocent civlians to Israeli attacks. So when they do suicide bombing and other heinous attacks, they see it as retaliation for Israeli "terror" attacks.

It is just simplistic to act like everything they do is an atrocity, but everything Israel does is justified. That is the paradigm in the United States.

Mar. 20 2008 11:16 AM
Robert from NYC

Ellen, It's good, if rare to hear a voice of Israeli moderation anywhere.

Mar. 20 2008 11:15 AM
RMCT from New York City

Israel's strategy has been to force the Palestinians to reject Hamas by making life in Gaza pure hell until Hamas is gone. Well, the Palestinians haven't conceded, and all that Israel has accomplished by its policy is the creation of more young Palestinian terrorists.

Hamas is in power because people voted for Hamas' candidates. The smart move by Israel would have been to attempt to negotiate with Hamas, which was in the position of having to deliver what it had promised -- i.e., to govern -- and therefore had an incentive to compromise. Instead, Israel chose to use strong-arm tactics so as to make such any compromise by Israel unnecessary. Going for all, you lose it all.

Mr. Ben-Ami makes sense. Why won't anyone listen?

Mar. 20 2008 11:15 AM

BTW, anyone who mentions "Annapolis process" has zero credibility.

Mar. 20 2008 11:13 AM
whoindatgarden from NYC

To the Right Honorable Minister, is it possible that you could strive for a Single State solution that is Secular and Pluralistic and propose a Commission on the lines of the Truth Commission that was held in South Africa.
Could this be something that can be even be thought of in your world.

Mar. 20 2008 11:13 AM
acts of terror? from new york city

and Israel has not committed acts of terror? really? does your guest believe that? is it because israel apologizes when it kills children?

also, if we are talking about appealing to the people over the head of Hamas...isn't the election of Hamas precisely the reflection of the will of the people?

Mar. 20 2008 11:13 AM

It's good, if rare, to hear a voice of Israeli moderation on Brian's show.

Mar. 20 2008 11:12 AM

I heard recently (can't remember where) that Barak is worse than Netanyahu, i.e. completely opposed to any settlement with Palestinians. Please comment.

Also, 2 state solution is no longer possible because Israel has made anything other than apartheid impossible by settlements etc. Please comment.

Mar. 20 2008 11:11 AM
mgdu from hell's kitchen

Brian’s claim that negotiating with Hamas is a radical idea just shows again how reactionary and bigoted he is.

No honest, intelligent, peace-loving person has ever been against negotiating with Hamas.

It’s good to learn that this obviously necessary step is finally being considered even by some partisans of Israel’s viciously racist government.

Mar. 20 2008 11:09 AM
rick from brooklyn

Of course Hamas needs to be involved in peace talks. did anyone notice that they won the elections a couple of years ago?
it should also be noted that the Israelis helped and encouraged the creation of Hamas back in the 70's as they thought it would help to weaken the PLO. be careful what you wish for.

as to Peter above- when will the I sraelis recognize the Palestians right to exist? more immediately, when will they stop the illegal collective punishment of the Gazans?

another question- how many Palestinians (or Lebanese) equal one Israeli? is 10 to one? 100 to one?

Mar. 20 2008 10:51 AM
Robert from NYC

Sounds like Obama, talk with the enemy. Sounds correct to me.

Mar. 20 2008 10:48 AM
chris o from New York City

According to a recent Haaretz poll, 64% of Israelis support direct talks with Hamas. 28% are opposed. A poll of Congress would probably have 99% oppose such talks. A poll of respectable opinion and leading pundits and editorial boards, etc. would have 99% opposed. I wonder why the disparity?

I believe Israel rejects the "land for peace" formula because it has 1) so little land and 2) the absolute upper hand in war. Why should they give up anything?!

From observing Israeli policy and actions over the last 15 years or so, it is regrettable to say but I am leaning to the conclusion that Israeli policy is to make life so miserable, so unlivable that Palestinians leave the land they now live on. This conclusion explains a lot.

Mar. 20 2008 10:40 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

How will a ceasefire with Hamas help? Hamas, and others who share their destroy-Israel agenda, have ALWAYS been the spoilers for peace talks by committing acts of terror at cleverly planned times. A ceasefire will not change this. The more and more this mess in the Middle East unravels, it becomes clear that the Palestinians have to figure out who speaks for them and who protects them. Two Palestinian governments with two “armies” and vastly different agendas (peace versus destroy Israel) doesn’t work. It is like a car that is in drive and reverse at the same time – you go nowhere while people keep dying.

Ceasefires have always been an opportunity for Israel’s enemies to rearm and better organize. Why does Mr. Ben-Ami think that things would be any different now? Why shouldn’t Israel have the right to protect its citizens against terrorist attacks from Gaza? Why enter into negotiations with a group that attacks your civilian population with rockets?

Mar. 20 2008 10:16 AM

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