Pipes and Krauthammer: Uncharacteristically Off Base

UPDATES 7 pm Israel time Saturday:

While Christians have been celebrating today in Jerusalem in advance of Easter tomorrow, Judea and Samaria continue to roil with violent unrest. Yet another Israeli child (3 year old Adele Biton remains in a coma from three weeks ago) was wounded this afternoon on Route 60. Clashes between Palestinian rioters and IDF and Israeli security personnel continue from Qalqilya (beside Kfar Saba) to Qalandiya (in Jerusalem).


Your humble servant is normally a big fan of both Daniel Pipes and Charles Krauthammer. Both of these men over the years have been among Israel’s staunchest defenders and deserve our admiration for being so.

However, this past week, both Pipes and Krauthammer were simply incorrect in articles that they penned.

To begin with, Pipes engaged in some mental gymnastics to come up with a reason why the idiotic apology that Netanyahu gave Turkish PM Erdogan was in fact “a good thing”:

“For a relatively inexpensive price — some words — Israelis and others have gained a better insight into the Turkish leadership’s mentality. They don’t suffer from mere injured pride; they are Islamist ideologues with an ambitious agenda. If the misguided apology makes this evident to more observers, the results possibly could make this into a net plus.” 

For a student of history, Daniel Pipes really misses the boat here. Erdogan has been an Islamist idealogue with an ambitious agenda” ever since he first ran for office a decade ago. As has been pointed out in this blog on several occasions, some of those campaign speeches surely rank among the most anti-Israel speeches ever delivered. And these were before he became prime minister.

After Erdogan became prime minister, he immediately set off on a tour of Arab countries during which he lambasted Israel at every stop. And all of this was before he personally arranged the IHH terrorist vessel to try to break the Gaza blockade.

In this context, Pipes’ idea that the apology will make observers realize Erdogan’s true nature is sheer nonsense. Anyone who has followed Erdogan and Turkey knows without this latest episode who Erdogan is and what he stands for. We didn’t need a “misguided apology” to emphasize it even more. Netanyahu’s apology was expensive; those “few words” spoke volumes to the Arab world.

Second, Krauthammer’s “What really happened in Jerusalem” attempts to show that we all missed the boat by overlooking the fact that Obama told the Palestinians that they could no longer use “the settlements” as an excuse for not negotiating with Israel:

“Exposing settlements as a mere excuse for the Palestinian refusal to negotiate — that was the news, widely overlooked, coming out of Obama’s trip. It was a breakthrough. Will it endure? Who knows. But when an American president so sympathetic to the Palestinian cause tells Abbas to stop obstructing peace with that phony settlement excuse, something important has happened. Abbas, unmasked and unhappy, knows this better than anyone.”

It was a breakthrough?

What Krauthammer seems to miss is that Obama’s “advice” immediately fell on deaf Palestinian’ ears in general and Abbas’ ears in particular. After years of hearing Obama himself and his entire Administration rail about the “settlements”, the Palestinians are not about to change course and climb down off of their high horse–especially now that the United Nations, European Union, and others completely support their demand for a construction freeze.

Just yesterday, we had chief Palestinian “negotiator” Saeb Erekat saying once again that there will be no negotiations until Israel freezes all construction in Jewish communities of Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. 

And Charles, perhaps you missed it, but PM Netanyahu allowed Obama to talk him into a “quiet” construction freeze in all areas outside the “major Jewish community blocks.” 

One last thought: do you remember dear reader how many times candidate and President Obama has backtracked on such statements as “Jerusalem will never be divided.” 

I leave it to you to guess what the coming months will bring.


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