Posted 8 years ago on July 5, 2012, 8:03 a.m. EST by flip
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You praise the reports of human rights groups in helping to distinguish facts from ‘Zionist fiction’. But, at the same time, you criticize Human Rights Watch (HRW) for its report on Lebanon. What mistakes did it make? HRW does not make ‘mistakes’. It makes political calculations. It relies heavily on liberal Jewish donors, so it occasionally trims its sails when it comes under heavy attack by the Israel lobby. Although Israel fired four million cluster submunitions on south Lebanon when the war was already over in August 2006, HRW could not find evidence that Israel had committed war crimes. It was very shameful, and cowardly. If you could choose just one glaring falsehood regarding Israeli history that you would like the world to know, what would it be? Your readers would gain a lot from reading Zeev Maoz’s Defending the Holy Land. After an exhaustive review of the scholarly literature he concludes that, with the ‘possible exception’ of the 1948 war, Israel has never fought a war of self-defence.
You pull no punches in your writing. Books that relay the Israeli version of events are described as ‘sheer fraud’, ‘absurdities’, ‘shoddy’ and ‘rancid propaganda’. You also take both sides – pro- and anti-Israel – to task: critiquing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, as well as old foes like Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz. Do you ever tire of conflicts and clashes? Yes, I do tire. But I don’t intend on being anyone’s useful idiot. Die Gedanken sind frei [Thoughts are free] – that’s my credo.
How do you think the revolts that swept the Arab world in 2011 will affect US-Israeli relations? Too soon to tell, although clearly Israel can no longer depend on the lock-step obedience of its hitherto two major allies in the Muslim-Arab world: Turkey and Egypt.
You argue that the distancing of American Jews from Israel will ultimately benefit Israelis as much as Palestinians. Explain how. Israel has become a crazy state, intoxicated by its power and self-righteousness, which can and does act with impunity because of the US veto. It desperately needs a sobering-up. Paul Krugman wrote the other day that it’s heading toward ‘national suicide’. I think he’s right.
What steps do you think need to be taken to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict? Do you support a two-state solution, for example? Personally, I would prefer no states, in the Middle East as elsewhere. But such a preference has no bearing on politics. I support the maximum that can be achieved now, which is the solution supported by the whole of the international community: two states on the June 1967 border and a ‘just resolution’ of the refugee question based on the right of return and compensation.