"He said that traditional Israeli defense strategists had learned nothing from past experiences and that they seemed stuck in the considerations of the 1948 war of independence.
“With them, it is all about tanks and land and controlling territories and controlled territories and this hilltop and that hilltop,” he said. “All these things are worthless.”
He added, “Who thinks seriously that if we sit on another hilltop, on another hundred meters, that this is what will make the difference for the State of Israel’s basic security?”
Over the last year, Mr. Olmert has publicly castigated himself for his earlier right-wing views and he did so again in this interview. On Jerusalem, for example, he said: “I am the first who wanted to enforce Israeli sovereignty on the entire city. I admit it. I am not trying to justify retroactively what I did for 35 years. For a large portion of these years, I was unwilling to look at reality in all its depth.”" Ethan Bronner
I remember Olmert when he was deputy mayor of Jerusalem under that great and good man, Teddy Kollek. He would sit in meetings brooding over Kollek’s clear willingness to think of himself as the mayor of all the people of Jerusalem/Yarushalayim/Al-Quds. He did not like that attitude. His own attitude of chilly indifference to people other than his own was patent.
Now he wants to make peace. NOW he wants it. It is unfortunate that he did not experience this "conversion" before he allowed himself to be compromised by people who surely do not want to see accommodation in the Holy Land.
When he speaks of the Israelis as a people who have lost a sense of proportion about themselves he speaks the truth. That delusion lies at the heart of much that is otherwise inexplicable. pl
Road to Damascus moment?
He didn’t think that when he let the airforce blow the shit out of Lebanon in summer 2006!
He’s angling for a sinecure post in Mid-East peace, just like Tony Blair.
He can take as flying f%ck as far I am concerned.
One of the unexplored permutations of the current financial crisis is whether the United States’ support for Israel is a luxury it can continue to afford.
Stated otherwise: the bailout is not using “taxpayers’ money.” It is using our creditors’ money. Such creditors are hard to come by, any more – and one of the few such sources is Mideast sovereign wealth funds.
it is not just the Israelis who have lost the sense of proportion.
9.11 happened not because the actors hated our “freedoms” but largely because of our blind support of Israeli kinetics against the Arabs. Treating the indigenous people much as the Lacedemonians treated the Helots.
Even Richard Clarke misplaces our support of Israel- framing it on the idea of a southern flank counterweight to the Soviets. Iraq, Syria, & Egypt were driven into Soviet embrace by our Israeli policy.
There could have been many ways to support Israel other than the doctrine of no fixed border, no written constitution,no return of refugees, no equal rights. All anathema to the basic social contract of these United States.
What are the chances that a U.S. politician would come to reality- to an Olmert moment. Witness the indecency of the political whores Biden & Palin competing for Israel votes and piling on Iran. Palin, even emphasizing that she would move the embassy to Jerusalem.
Olmert is wrong about Syria cutting ties to Iran and HA. What is needed is a regional sol’n as the Col. has noted- a CONCERT OF THE MIDDLE EAST. Sayed H. Nasrallah of HA has said:” “At the end of the road no one can go to war on behalf of the Palestinians, even if that one is not in agreement with what the Palestinians agreed on.”
Note bene, not a single 9.11 hijacker was an Iraki nor Afghani.
Could Olmert be speaking for Tzpi Lvni? Saying truths on his way out that she cannot say openly on her way in.
A$$h!@#s. We’ll have to see if the present leaders of Palestine are willin’ to negotiate a peaceful way out…
Not hopeful ’bout this.
One certainly can argue that Olmert’s statement constitutes an admission — and damn near a confession — that Illan Pappe was right all along. One caveat however and it is this: military tactics, when looked at collectively, must reflect the overall strategic goal.
Based upon that assumption, if Olmert is correct, then the historical strategic goal of Jabotinsky’s Zionism (not that of Buber or Magnes or several others!) has been and remains one of ethnic cleansing.
It is to Olmert’s credit that he has parted ways with that Irgun-to-Likud view but his statement may foreshadow the Jabotinsky endgame — Middle East genocide, aka the Dimona project. In other words, unleashing Dimona represents Podhoretz’s ultimately desire, either conscious or unconscious. And one should never forget — it also represents the grandest wish of Hagee’s Bible thumpin’ crowd. The thought of mushrooms clouds appear to make Hagee click his heels in joy — his epiphany, I suppose.
And, to be fair, it also is necessary to evaluate evidence that concludes otherwise. In fact, one must. Nonetheless, based on Olmert’s statement, one, in good faith, can certainly file a motion in limine, so to speak, and argue that Uris’ Exodus should no longer be considered in the American discourse on US foreign policy in the Middle East because it is irrelevant and/or any prejudicial value of the work outweighs any probative value.
That’s an American tragedy because Uris’ Exodus created the American view of Israel — one of whelming empathy, understanding and support. Empathy must always remain — it is part of the American experience that started with ’ol George Washington himself and should never end — but it should not be based on Uris’ storyline, assuming Olmert’s statement is correct.
So with that in mind, if — and I stress “if’ — Olmert confirms Pappe’s analysis, then it is only proper, as an American, to ask: is the US government supporting racism in the Middle East? If true, then the epicenter of American racism has shifted away from the US and to Gaza. People can say what they want, but Gaza is an American project.
But try telling that to some (certainly not all) Woodstock Democrats. Geez…nothing in the Democratic platform suggests that the party has examined America’s role in this type of ethnic cleansing. Instead, it seems that a few Democrats would rather pretend that it’s Woodstock again, so they can regress back to their youth and then say on the Georgetown cocktail circuit, “ Isn’t it so terrible what is going on in Jackson, Mississippi.”
Same ‘ol. Same ‘ol. The inability of certain liberals to look within. Far easier to blame others for “sins” of the past when, in fact, the Democratic Party today is participating in crimes far worse than anything that went down in Mississippi, again assuming Olmert’s statement is true.
And the view shared by these few Democratic leaders may reveal a blindspot in the American psyche. Jackson ,Mississippi in 2008 is more racially integrated, in many ways, than the Georgetown cocktail circuit or the workplaces of the Washington Post or NYT. Check out a Waffle House in Mississippi and compare it to the dynamics in place in Gaza or at the workplace of the New York Times and then ask yourself, “Which of these is more genuine in terms of American race relations?”.
Not saying problems don’t exist in Jackson Mississippi and elsewhere. Not saying problems will not arise in the future. But Gaza and the NYT sure look worse in 2008, again, assuming Olmert’s statement and the Jayson Blaine scandal at the NYT are accurate.
So one wonders if the refusal of the Democratic platform to acknowledge the reality of Olmert‘s statements represents a collective regression on the part of a few. Is it possible that when Chris Matthews and those of his ilk felt a tingle in their legs over Obama that such was indicative of some type of lure to return to a Woodstock youth? Did that tingle indicate that he finally could tell his daddy that his daddy was wrong about Mississippi or something along those lines? If true, then that aspect of the Democratic party will not help America move ahead, in my opinion. Looks like it is stuck in a time warp and maybe even an ability to move beyond family dynamics.
But again, this analysis is based on Pappe’s work. If Pappe is wrong and if Olmert is wrong, then this comment is entirely wrong and I’ll gladly say so. Doesn’t matter to me. Just want to do what is best for America’s race relations. And if Olmert is correct, then at least he has more courage than those of the Democratic Party. What’s going down in Gaza is reflection of America’s race relations, for better or for worse. The problem ain’t Jackson Mississippi.
Olmert can say whatever he wants. He is not in charge anymore.
As long as there is no change on the ground, it’s all talk. And there have been plenty of talks of all sorts.
At least Israel cannot claim Iran will launch ballistic missile. We have a radar just installed in Israel.
Actions will always speak louder than words, Olmert has zero credibility with respect to peace.
Just hope he gets the maximun sentence possible if he is even charged at all.
It seems to be the same with Israeli heads of government since decades.
They enter the office as hawks, but after many years in office they realize that they need to pursue a policy that seeks peace by compromise. That’s about the time when the next hawk takes over.
don’t sell Olmert short nor underestimate the consequence of his words. Words do matter. They precede action. He may have resigned but he is still in charge of the government- caretaker government that it may be.
I give him a gold star for having said the unspeakable.
we too, have paid an enormous price for our support for Israel.
Walt and Mearsheimer
attribute our Irak War to the Israeli Lobby.
“Although neo-conservatives and other Lobby leaders were eager to invade Iraq, the broader American Jewish community was not. Just after the war started, Samuel Freedman reported that ‘a compilation of nationwide opinion polls by the Pew Research Center shows that Jews are less supportive of the Iraq war than the population at large, 52 per cent to 62 per cent.’ Clearly, it would be wrong to blame the war in Iraq on ‘Jewish influence’. Rather, it was due in large part to the Lobby’s influence, especially that of the neo-conservatives within it. ”
According to Nobel Prize winner Economist Stiglitz the Iraq War’s true cost has been in the trillions. We invaded a country that neither desired war with us nor was a threat to us.
Pray that we not repeat that error toward Iran courtesy of the Israeli Lobby and their lackeys both Democrats and Republicans.
Except that too late implies that had he had this “epiphany” when he had power he could have acted on it.
I would suggest that had he had this “epiphany” earlier or if he had not been under investigation and resigned his post, these words would have never been said.
The fact that a senior Israeli politician (the sitting PM no less) has admitted this is a start and it allows the opportunity for like minded politicians to pipe up.
But they won’t.
Better late than never.
Now we need others who can make a tangible impact to grab this opening and opportunity – the “truth” shouldn’t be dodged forever.
It is not uncommon for Israeli leaders to come to jesus (indulge me) as they leave office.
On the way in? Hasn’t happened yet.
This becomes, then, a discussion of “legacy.” In other words, irrelevant as a predictor of future Israeli policy.
Perhaps Olmert is bitter toward these defense strategists because they led him to think Lebanon was a good idea? That little error doomed his pm-ship, never mind what it did to Lebanon and the region, including his own country.
His remark could easily be founded on something that simple. I say this especially because he has always struck me as an extremely stupid man.
I can more readily see his statement arising out of vindictiveness than from deep realization.
Words are cheap.
Sidney O. Smith III : You meant the Americans BASED their policies on some novel? Jeez, talk ’bout flawed perception.
Read a few pages of the late author’s work, damn, he’s convincin’, but I ain’t so dimwitted as to believe every novel that has some historical settin’. That’s why they call some books “romances”.
the israeli far right are now castigating and nashing their teeth about how olmert is giving away jerusalem to the russians, in hopes by olmert that such a move (transfer of the property rights to the sergi compound which is known as part of the property known as the russian compound) will sway the russians from selling to the iranians and the syrians the ‘game changer’ s300 system. olmert is scheduled to arrive in moscow on monday.
guess we’ll see how much the russians ‘budge’ and how still in a knot their knickers are from israel’s hand in the georgia affair.
couldn’t blame the russians if they slapped olmert in his face followed by a big russia boot to olmert’s backsides as they thrust him back to israel from whence he came.
but we’ll have to squat and watch.
Truly, you may be right. Uris’ work is a “romance”, as you so well said.
I must admit that I was pulled very deeply into the Uris mythology, if you want to call it that, and also admit that at times it is difficult to let go. Very powerful story.
But as I am sure you are aware, a growing number of American Jews are starting to take a stand against the Uris view and, and by doing so, raise the possibility that Jabotinsky’s Zionism has a very dark side. To name just a few: Weiss. Karon. Klein and possibly the J Street lobby. Others are around and appear to be growing in number. Recommended book of which you may be aware. Wrestling with Zion.
So who to believe…Joe Klein or William Kristol. Admittedly, I am suspicious of some of Kristol’s friends — the Hagee crowd. And it astounds me how so few people will recognize the anti-Semitic underpinnings of Rapture literature. Arguably it’s anti-Semitic in the true sense, as neither Jews nor Arabs fare well in Rapture fantasyland. It is beyond strange that Kristol would align himself with such. And such an alliance arguably may signify something, particularly when trying to construct a psychological profile of same.
But if you really want to take the question deeper, the question becomes…who do you believe… Rabbi Teitelbaum and his Edah HaCharedeis crowd (Voyoel Moshe) or Agudat Israel. From my perspective, it looks like that is where the the action is, as a full on fight is being waged within the Jewish soul.
Now, I certainly don’t know the answer to that one, but it seems that Klein and other assimilated Jewish Americans are starting to echo many of the observations, and even warnings, that Rabbi Teitelbaum made decades ago. They just do so through an assimilated American voice. (And that’s what beautiful about America — assimilate or don’t. Everyone’s choice. E. Pluribus Unum).
But, again, I don’t know the answer. Sort of waiting to see what happens with the Klein-Kristol debate, as it may reflect an assimilated and more secular view of the HaCharedeis-Agudat fight. Maybe the answer is/was Buber, but, as Olmert inferred in his comment, he got kicked out of the club a long time ago. So I don’t know. Best I can do at this point is just try to frame the issue and continue to look. And I wouldn’t even do that if the USM were not stuck in the Middle East.
The in one sense soothing assumptions of the power of the Israeli Lobby to shape U.S. policy (soothing in that they implicitly absolve us of responsibility and/or shift our responsibilities into a “warding off the other” mode) are so rampant here as to have become close to the norm, but I think that over the years, and even now, U.S. policies toward Israel have been shaped primarily by U.S. interests — not that those interests have been monolithic. For a brief example, see this review:
of “Decades of Transition: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and the Origins of the American-Israeli Alliance” by Abraham Ben-Zvi (Columbia U. Press, 1998).
thanks, Pat Lang. I love your little anecdotes. Teddy Kollek must have been a really rare human being. I haven’t met anybody you knew him and did not use terms similar to yours.
In re Kollek, I sent this response to another SSTer –
“I met him half a dozen times and sat next to him at dinner one night in a restaurant that sits across the valley from the Jaffa Gate. It is in a place that was once an artist’s colony. Maybe you know Jerusalem? He was brought a box of Partaga Diplomats by the headwaiter. The box belonged to Kollek and the restaurant kept it for him. There were two in the box and he gave me the last one. I bought him a box the next day and sent it to his office with best wishes. Kollek had the kind of “old Europe” charm and worldliness that is so seldom found in Israel, even though there were many Ashkenazim of his generation in the post-war population. Maybe I just did not know enough of them.
On my other hand that evening was a judge of what is the equivalent of SCOTUS for Israel. He was a Syrian by birth. The group of men from the USA that I was with was mainly Jewish and he made the “jump” to thinking that I must be also. After we discussed a number of issues, abortion, capital punishment, gun rights, federalism, etc., He opined that no Jew should have my opinions. I told him I was not a Jew. He then said that in that case it was perfectly all right for me to think whatever I pleased. I asked him if he had ever met a Jew named “Patrick?” He said that he had thought that perhaps I was one of the few.
Kollek though all this was immensely funny. So did I.” pl
No time to look at the comments, but so far it looks as if the Europeans have to pay quite their own share for having bought all these fancy bundled securities by posh firms. The German state and a series of banks not mentioned below seem to have saved a giant in the field of real estate. And this only the last item in a series:
German mortgage giant is ‘too big to fail’
I agree it’s funny. (admittedly it took me a while to realize what was in the box. Cuban cigars?)
Although lately it gets harder and harder to look with a “humorous eye” on the hawkishly Jewish/Israeli perspective, like e.g. the pan-Islamist threat scenario:
From Clarion: A Protocols of the Elders of Islam?
Didn’t Kollek annex East Jerusalem?
Sidney O. Smith III : Shalom. May there come a day when Arab & Jew can live in peaceful coexistence…
The fundamental flaw in US/Israeli relationships is the US policy allowing dual citizenship. Should be no such thing. No picking and choosing based on events.
Truly, your most kind offer of “Shalom” is returned in kind.