The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, May 13, 2002  

Punditboro Ready to Thumb Back

Former CBS News correspondent Richard C. Hottelet, writing in The Christian Science Monitor today, helpfully and reassuringly points out that President George W. Bush recently thumbed his nose at Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, an almost fitting response to the number of times Sharon has given Bush (and presidents before him) the finger.

Hottelet, reviewing the recent White House meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon, makes clear that Sharon, despite the pre-meeting ravings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, did not have an entirely pleasant visit.

"Prime Minister Ariel Sharon may well remember his latest trip to Washington as a disaster," writes Hottelet in an article entitled "The U.S.-Mideast Two Step."

"[The trip] had been so well prepared. Advance spin from Jerusalem had [Sharon] bringing a 'most serious' peace plan involving the 'painful concessions' he had spoken of earlier. The powerful pro-Israeli lobbies had helped get blank-check solidarity resolutions through the Congress by overwhelming majorities," according to Hottelet.

"Sharon came with a satchel full of documents, intending to prove Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's full complicity in the suicide bombings and therefore his irrelevancy to the peace process" Hottelet continues. "Mr. Bush should have been mightily impressed. Apparently, he wasn't. He brushed off the documents and, as for Mr. Arafat's relevance, affirmed his stand that neither the United States nor anyone else -- only the Palestinian people -- could choose their leaders."

"With Mr. Sharon beside him in the Oval Office, the president spoke to reporters about building a Palestinian state with a better, unified security force and other institutions, a constitution, and a framework for economic development to bring security and hope to the Palestinians....The president spoke of dismantling Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory....Sharon dismissed premature," Hottelet reports.

Sharon, appropriately enough, comes off looking like the mindless fanatic that he is. Moreover, Hottelet shares the view of The Rittenhouse Review that the current Israeli leadership, personified in Ariel Sharon, with an even nastier incarnation -- Benyamin Netanyahu -- waiting is the wings, is not serious about making peace with the Palestinians.

"The [military] offensive [in the West Bank] was meant to provide security for Israelis," writes Hottelet. "Manifestly, it did not. What it really did was smash what there was of Palestinian civil society and bring blame on Israel. In addition, it showed Israelis and others that the prime minister really had no peace plan, but only the delusion that military action could solve the problem of fitting Israel into the Levantine community." [Ed.: Emphasis added.]

Hottelet's view, and ours -- that the Israelis do not want a peace agreement with the Palestinians -- are voices crying in the wilderness. The saddest element of this entire situation, particularly when it comes to the pursuit of U.S. interests in the conduct of American foreign policy in the Middle East, is that Sharon and his ilk can count on a favorable knee-jerk reaction from Israel's supporters in the Punditboro: the dozens of commentators, full- and part-time, that dominate U.S. newspaper editorial boards, op-ed pages, talk shows, cable "news" networks, and the "little magazines" that also oppose a reasonable peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Dare we name names? Yes, we do.*

As of today, the list would include, but not be limited to: Kenneth Adelman, Fouad Ajami, Fred Barnes, Michael Barone, Robert Bartley, Eric Beinart, L. Brent Bozell, Mona Charen, Linda Chavez, Eliot Cohen, Ann Coulter, Alan Dershowitz, Midge Decter, Dinesh D'Souza, Nicholas Eberstadt, Stuart Eizenstadt, Frank Gaffney Jr., Carl Gershman, Jonah Goldberg, Lucianne Goldberg, Owen Harries, Jacob Heilbrun, David Horowitz, Fred Iklé, Laura Ingraham, Jeff Jacoby, Max Kampelman, Michael Kelly, Jack Kemp, Alan Keyes, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Michael Kinsley, Morton Kondracke, Hilton Kramer, Irving Kristol, William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Walter Laqueur, Michael Ledeen, Charles Lichenstein, Rush Limbaugh, Tod Lindberg, Edward Luttwak, Chris Matthews, Joel Mowbray, Joshua Muravchik, Richard John Neuhaus, Peggy Noonan, Oliver North, Michael Novak, William O'Reilly, P.J. O'Rourke, Martin Peretz, Richard Perle, Daniel Pipes, John Podhoretz, Norman Podhoretz, Arch Puddington, Ronald Radosh, Abe Rosenthal, William Safire, Debbie Schlussel, Anthony Snow, Thomas Sowell, Richard Starr, Mark Steyn, Andrew Sullivan, Cal Thomas, R. Emmet Tyrell Jr., Norah Vincent, Ben Wattenberg, Lally Weymouth, Paul Weyrich, Leon Wieseltier, and George Will.

Now, what was that again about the media's "anti-Israel bias"?

* List in formation.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |