The stupidity of Roger Cohen

What an idiot. Roger Cohen writes a piece completely divorced from reality – again.

1.”Fayyad’s state building in the West Bank — schools and roads and institutions and security forces — led the World Bank to declare last year that the Palestinian Authority was ready for a state “at any point in the near future.””

Yet, Cohen does not mention the continued existence of the terrorist groups in the PA controlled areas, the continued genocidal incitement against Jews and Israelis in particular.
Incitement was supposed to be stopped under the Oslo Accords, yet the PalArabs never ceased to indoctrinate their children in school, mosque or media to hate Jews and to preach the goal of destroying Israel.

2. “Israel snubbed a viable partner — criminal waste.”

This ignores the repeated attempts of Olmert and Livni to negotiate on an even more radical platform than Barak in 1999-2000. This was rejected by Abbas et al. Cohen does not propose to address this conceptual problem of how does one negotiate with a party that does not wish to negotiate except upon maximalist terms. As usual for the New York Times, Netanyahu is treated with a combination of contempt and rhetorical sleight of hand in an attempt to blame the Israeli government for PalArab rejectionism. The ten-month freeze in settlement building outside of Jerusalem is ignored but what is worse in Cohen’s dishonest approach is that he again reduces the PalArabs to the status of objects, ignoring the very real problem for Israeli politicians of PalArab behaviour during those ten months.
In the ten months in which Netanyahu persuaded reluctant political partners in a coalition government to suspend building outside of Jerusalem, the PalArab leadership, which Cohen calls “a viable partner” did not approach or suggest negotiations. Instead when the period was almost up, they asked for it to be extended! Netanyahu took a big gamble and the PalArabs behaved exactly as Israeli conservatives expected.
This behaviour must lead us to one of two possible conclusions: either the PalArab leadership in the PA does not want to make peace (as reflected in their own literature, political programmes and propoganda) or they cannot because they fear the reaction of a radicalised, terrorised PalArab population if the sacred goals of “Palestine from the River to the Sea” were abandoned.

3. “But Fayyad never got recognition from Israel for his achievements: Terrorist violence is down 96 percent in the West Bank in the past five years.”

Fayyad has nothing to do with the reduction of terrorist violence emanating from Judea and Samaria. The continuous presence of the IDF beyond the Green Line has been almost solely responsible for the near cessation of terrorist violence but the threat remains and reappears from time to time. The attacks upon Jewish car drivers in Jerusalem, the murder of the Fogel family and many unreported (in the Western media) attacks on Jews on either side of the Green Line are terrorist attacks, are motivated by PalArab propaganda and militant sentiment and are applauded in PalArab society and state.
How can Cohen unilaterally attribute reduction in terrorist violence without taking into account the IDF? Why has he nothing to say about the murderous propaganda emanating from mosque, school and media?

4. “The Israeli insistence on up-front recognition from the Palestinians of Israel as a “Jewish state” is absurd — a powerful indication of growing Israeli insecurities, isolation and intolerance.”

This has been the official view of the Israeli state since the founding of Israel but the reason for this insistence is to press the PalArabs to abandon the “one state solution” or to accept that Israel is a Jewish and sovereign state in the same way as a Palestinian state would be a Muslim one. It about ending the Nakba and accepting that Israel is a fact and not an obstacle to Arab honour.
Cohen does not ask why PalArab rejection of this demand is so consistent, nor does he delve into the reasons for this reluctance. If he were do so, he would have to revise his vision of a pragmatic Palestinian people and see a terrorised and radicalised people who’ve been ruled by authoritarian Arab regimes until 1967 (at least in Gaza and Judea & Samaria) and by an authoritarian, corrupt terrorist regime since 1994.
Cohen does not because his mind and eyes are closed. He treats Arab politics merely as a reaction to what he perceives as the excesses and insecurities of Israeli politics.

5. “States get recognized, not their nature, and the Palestine Liberation Organization has recognized Israel’s right to “exist in peace and security.””

Fatah has never recognised Israel. Fatah is the ruling party of the PLO and the ruling party of the PA. Cohen would do better to actually research these things before simply repeating them as common-place truths. This is not solely Cohen’s fault but is one that is shared between writers such as Friedman, Freedland and even Nick Cohen and David Aaronovitch. They all persist in trying press moderate credentials on mainstream PalArab factions and individuals and persistently run into the problem that those factions and individuals hold radical, genocidal views which embrace political violence and antisemititism.

6. “So pushing it to the front of the agenda is just Netanyahu’s way of putting delaying tactics ahead of strategic thinking once again.  The waste is staggering and the looming train wreck appalling.”

Here Cohen is using the Livni tactic of ascribing catastrophic significance to the September vote in the UN. This event may not pass but the attempt to describe this as catastrophic is to place undeserved importance in this diplomatic stunt. Caroline Glick and others have pointed out that the UN General Assembly has declared Palestinian statehood on previous occasions but nothing came of this because the move is empty of the stuff of political power.
Cohen attempts to portray Netanyahu and by extension most Israelis as stupid and inviting their own destruction because they will not countenance a course of action which will not be accepted by the PalArabs and which if acted upon unilaterally will not end the war against the Jews but merely enable its continuance.

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2 Responses to The stupidity of Roger Cohen

  1. JOS says:

    Hi Richard!

    Very insightful article, and you do a superb job of rebutting Cohen’s inane ramblings. Unfortunately (and to great alarm), it seems the sentiments he expressed are becoming mainstream in the US. I stood in shocked disbelief as Prez Obama called for a return to the 1967 borders, and placed the responsibility for “peace in the Middle East” squarely and unfairly on the shoulders of the Israelis.

    – JOS

  2. wien1938 says:

    Thanks for your comment, JOS!

    The best stuff I’ve read on the Obama administration has been published by and around people like Barry Rubin.

    It is interesting how the liberal-left mindset cannot comprehend the racisms and hatreds of the non-Western world.

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