Commentary Magazine


The Best J Street Can Do?

You will recall this magnificent performance by Alan Dershowitz in chewing out Hadar Susskind of J Street. Susskind has now penned a perfectly absurd letter to the editor in response to Charles Krauthammer’s column of last week (my vote for  the best single column of the year, if not the decade). Susskind writes that, yes, Israel has a right to enforce the blockade (wow! but I guess not with force), but the blockade doesn’t make Israel more secure. Susskind’s evidence for the idea that preventing weapons from reaching Hamas doesn’t make Israel any safer? Judge for yourself:

[J]ust look at the results of the blockade. Hamas remains in power, and its stature in Gaza and its weapons capabilities have increased over the past three years. Meanwhile, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was abducted by Palestinian militants in 2006, remains in captivity; Gazan civilians continue to suffer; and Israel’s international standing is rapidly deteriorating. Simply put, Israel is not served by the blockade — Hamas is.

Huh? Is he actually arguing that Hamas would fall from power if the blockade were lifted? Is he saying that the lifting of the blockade would not be a triumph for Hamas? And to test this proposition, Susskind is more than willing to risk Israeli lives. He then concludes with the left’s favorite non sequitur:

The Israeli raid on the Gaza flotilla highlights not just why the United States needs a new approach to Gaza, but also why President Obama must act urgently to turn this crisis into an opportunity — boldly leading the way to a two-state solution that protects Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic homeland and prevents further bloodshed.

Giving into Hamas is supposed to promote peace in our time, after 60 years of Palestinian rejectionism, and when the more “reasonable” Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is struggling to maintain his legitimacy. How? Funny, the withdrawal from Gaza didn’t promote peace; instead it led to war.

It is this sort of evidence-free rhetoric (which, gosh, exactly mirrors the Hamas line) that reminds us that regardless of Israel’s actions, the solution is the same: roll back Israel’s defenses and badger the Jewish state to accept a “peace” agreement that is a recipe for its dismemberment. Remember that the Gaza 54 letter (a pet J Street project signed by, among others, Joe Sestak) called for a rollback of the Gaza blockade long before the Turks and the terrorists came up with the flotilla gambit.

Whether the argument comes from the UN or J Street or Peter Beinart (who really needs to get past the whining and hurt feelings every time he is bested in a debate), the patter is the same. Israel’s right to self-defense exists in theory but never in practice: any risk to Israel is acceptable while any bruising of Palestinian feelings is unacceptable. And Israel has no right to manage its own national security. Susskind is not unique, only one of the more inept propagandists for this tripe.