A conservative writer who’s sensible on Israel

A conservative writer who’s sensible on Israel

I have a politically right-wing friend.  Greg’s not a neocon militarist; he’s what is sometimes called a paleo-conservative, a believer in pre-Eisenhower, anti-New Deal, isolationist conservatism. His heroes are Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul.

The basis of our friendship, from my side, is that he’s intelligent and very witty.  I think he likes me because we find many of the same things funny and he appreciates that when we discuss politics, philosophy and religion (he’s Catholic, by the way), I can disagree with him respectfully.

One year, Greg gave me a gift subscription to The American Conservative, a very right-wing magazine founded by Pat Buchanan about ten years ago.  It advocates an agenda that is basically for small government and an anti-war, anti-interventionist foreign policy.  Its articles on Israel tend to be very critical, even hostile, and sometimes include harsh Israel critics associated with the left, like Philip Weiss and M. J. Rosenberg (although Rosenberg is not anti-Israel in the way that Weiss is, he often writes as if he is). 

Recently, via a link provided by J Street’s daily email News Roundup, I’ve discovered Noah Millman, someone who chucked his Wall Street business career in 2010 to pursue literary and journalistic ambitions.  He writes with uncharacteristic modesty for The American Conservative, including with intelligence and sensitivity on Israel.
Take for example, his review a year ago of Gershom Gorenberg’s The Unmaking of Israel, “Is Israel a Failed State?”  What I’m going to give you a taste of here, is the beginning of another piece, “The One-State Illusion,” published last month:

Every now and again, when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict looks particularly intractable and/or when the Israelis seem to be operating with particularly obtuse intransigence, someone will point out that Israel desperately needs a viable two-state solution, because the alternative is a one-state “solution” that ends the Zionist dream of a Jewish state…. Some even declare that a two-state solution is already impossible, and that the only remaining option is granting the Palestinian Arabs of the West Bank (and Gaza?) equal voting rights within a bi-national state.
It should be clear to people who say these things that a one-state “solution” is an illusion, and this kind of rhetoric amounts mostly to moral posturing on the part of critics. By “posturing” I don’t mean to impugn the moral stance of said critics – they may or may not have right on their side; that’s another question – but to suggest that this stance has little chance of actually affecting reality.
…. First of all, the Israeli Jews simply won’t agree to it, because they are fully aware that it would mean dissolving their state, and would be understood almost universally as the surrender of their country to a hostile enemy. … [Click here for entire article.]

By | 2013-01-03T16:42:00-05:00 January 3rd, 2013|Blog|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Richard Schwartz January 4, 2013 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Kol hakavod to Ralph for consistently increasing awareness of realities related to israel. I think it is essential to keep stressing that israel needs a resolution of her conflict with the palestinians through a 2-state solution, in order to avert renewed conflict that would have horrific consequences, to effectively respond to her economic and other domestic problems and to remain both a Jewish and a democratic state.

Leave A Comment