Israel and the Blogosphere Revisited

ISRAEL AND THE BLOGOSPHERE REVISITED….Markos Moulitsas sympathizes today with my reasons for not blogging much about Israel-related subjects, but I nonetheless have to take issue with this:

I grew up in a war zone. And there was one clear lesson I learned ? there will never be peace unless both sides get tired of the fighting and start seeking an alternative.

It’s clear that in the Middle East, no one is sick of the fighting. They have centuries of grudges to resolve, and will continue fighting until they can get over them. And considering that they obviously have no interest in “getting over them”, we’re stuck with a war that will not end in any forseable future. It doesn’t matter what we bloggers say. It doesn’t matter what the President of the United States says. Or the United Nations. Or the usual bloviating gasbag pundits.

It’s one thing for an individual blogger to feel inadequate to the task of commenting on any particular subject, but I don’t think that means it’s OK to throw in the towel entirely and give everyone else a pass at the same time. As past officeholders have shown, it does matter what the president of the United States says (and does), and it does matter what the UN and other international actors say (and do). After all, even if they can’t pull lasting peace and harmony out of their back pockets, they always retain the possibility of making things worse. (See Bush, George, 2001-2006, op cit.) Matt Yglesias adds a bit more on this:

For one thing, like it or not the United States is involved. We give an awful lot of money to Israel, and we also give a nice chunk of change to Egypt to help underwrite the Egypt-Israel peace accords. Our policy to Jordan is also linked to Jordan’s relatively favorable attitude toward Israel. Conversely, the two countries in the region with whom we have the most hostile relationships ? Syria and Iran ? are not coincidentally the two countries that support rejectionist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Israel issues, in other words, aren’t just Israel issues. They link up with the other topics in the key region of the “war on terror.” Israel policy is also related to larger issues about the Non-Proliferation Agreement and so forth. Wherever one comes down on Israel in the end, it’s just not possible to outline a progressive approach to the national security issues of the day without engaging to some extent with the Israel issue.

My post this weekend about Israel was mainly a personal explanation for my own light blogging on this topic, but it was also sort of a sheepish admission that my explanation wasn’t really very good. Like it or not, we can’t run away from this stuff.