The liberal conscience awakes: New Yorker’s David Remnick blasts Netanyahu

Three months after telling a major Israeli newspaper that he “can’t take the occupation anymore,” New Yorker editor David Remnick is telling the world.

His newly published piece goes far for a mainstream, liberal publication when it comes to Israel.  And, most importantly, he takes on the Israel lobby.

Remnick’s writings reflect the growing feeling among American liberals, and specifically Jewish liberals, that Israel is on a dark path, and that something must be done to stop it.  It’s a little too late for that, and for saving the two-state solution, but better late then never.


Now in his second term and ruling in a coalition government that includes anti-democratic, even proto-fascistic ministers, such as Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu has stubbornly refused the appeals of Washington and of the Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, who have shown themselves willing to make the concessions needed for a peace deal. In the midst of a revolution in the Arab world, Netanyahu seems lost, defensive, and unable or unwilling to recognize the changing circumstances in which he finds himself.

The occupation—illegal, inhumane, and inconsistent with Jewish values—has lasted forty-four years. Netanyahu thinks that he can keep on going, secure behind a wall.


If the Administration has been reluctant to put forward a comprehensive peace plan, it’s not because it has any difficulty imagining such a plan. Inevitably, the parameters of a two-state solution would be like those established at Taba, in 2001, and by Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas, in 2008. The greater concern is domestic politics, both in the United States and in Israel.

For decades, AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, and other such right-leaning groups have played an outsized role in American politics, pressuring members of Congress and Presidents with their capacity to raise money and swing elections. But Democratic Presidents in particular should recognize that these groups are hardly representative and should be met head on. Obama won seventy-eight per cent of the Jewish vote; he is more likely to lose some of that vote if he reverses his position on, say, abortion than if he tries to organize international opinion on the Israeli-Arab conflict. However, some senior members of the Administration have internalized the political restraints that they believe they are under, and cannot think beyond them. Some, like Dennis Ross, who has served five Presidents, can think only in incremental terms.

Read the whole thing here.

6 responses to “The liberal conscience awakes: New Yorker’s David Remnick blasts Netanyahu

  1. If Israel did what Remnick wanted, there would be a Genocide on the Jews and Israel would cease to exist. It wouldn’t matter what Israel gave up. Remnick also hasn’t read much on international law as Israel is the only country ever asked to return land won in a defensive war.

  2. I am fully aware that this website is unlikely to publish views they disagree with, but one never stops hoping.

  3. My G-d, I guess Israelis are going to have back to Germany and Poland like Helen Thomas said.

  4. “Inevitably, the parameters of a two-state solution would be like those established at Taba, in 2001, and by Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas, in 2008. The greater concern is domestic politics, both in the United States and in Israel.”

    I don’t know what the “parameters” of Taba were. But whatever they were, why is it inevitable? The CLEAR and LEGALLY required preparation for “peace” is removal of the 550,000 settlers and demolishing of the settlements and the wall (and ending siege of Gaza), and these steps logically (and perhaps temporally) should precede making peace. Then the lines would (inevitably) be the lines of 1967, modified to allow [1] connection of Gaza to west Bank and [2] Israel to Jewish Holy sites in East Jerusalem. Am I agreeing with Resnick or violently disagreeing? I don’t know.

  5. Why should Israel give up territories it is LEGALLY allowed to keep that it won in a defensive war ? If anybody objects, it should be Jordan and Egypt, who held the territories pre-1967. There was no ‘Palestine.’ Palestinians should be grateful for whatever part of the West Bank they get — especially after procastinating for 60+ years.

  6. The word “Palestinian” ddin’t even exist until 1967 when Israel was attacked by multiple Arab states. These people are really Jordanians and used by sovereign Arab states as a sword against Israel.

    Mr. Remnick can’t grasp that reality either.

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