I agree with M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum (IPF) that it is important for the United States to vigorously pursue a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to diminish Muslim hostility to the US. But I believe that Rosenberg has over-emphasized the role of neoconservatives in shaping the Bush administration’s aggressive and arrogant policies; the neocons have been more the tools and enablers of disastrous Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld decisions rather than the prime movers. Nevertheless, the relative absence of neocons in George W’s second term is a good thing. The following begins Rosenberg’s “IPF Friday” column of January 4:
A few hours after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, I happened to see an interview with a group of Pakistani university students who were part of a stunned mass of grieving people on the streets of Karachi. They all looked and sounded secular, educated and western.
The reporter asked them about Bhutto’s death, prospects for democracy in Pakistan, and what they thought about the United States. They had varying opinions, arguing among themselves and cutting each other off until one young woman brought up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Of course,” she said, “we all feel such rage against the United States because of what is going on in Gaza. This is something all Pakistanis feel.” The others nodded vigorously in agreement.
There it was. Take pretty much any group of Muslims—Arabs, Iranians, South or East Asians, whatever—and the one subject on which there is near universal agreement is the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Click here for Rosenberg’s entire column online.