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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Insults Israel’s Supporters, Especially the Remaining Jewish Liberals Among Them

On September 25, the charismatic socialist congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced that she no longer planned to attend an upcoming commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Yitzḥak Rabin’s assassination, sponsored by the left-wing group Americans for Peace Now. Michael Koplow comments:

Rabin is revered by liberal American Jews and Democratic lawmakers, many of whom view his assassination as the event from which the peace camp never recovered. To denigrate Peace Now by leaving the impression that it is covering for alleged Israeli war crimes and to treat Rabin as an insincere Trojan Horse who was only feinting toward peace and concessions, in order to perpetuate injustice, [as have the far-left activists who appear to have convinced Ocasio-Cortez to back out of the event], is as hard a turn to radicalism as exists in the context of Democratic politics and American Jewish discourse. It is out of step with the overwhelming majority of American Jews, who view Rabin as a positive example, and it is redolent of when outsiders make lists of good and bad representatives of an ethnic or racial minority. Many Palestinians have cause to dislike Rabin, but for Ocasio-Cortez to treat him as beyond the pale puts her well beyond the boundaries of traditional liberal politics.

This message is not a criticism of Israeli behavior; it is a criticism of Israeli legitimacy. It says that nothing Israel can do is good enough, that compromise is not sufficient, that Palestinian concerns and grievances and aspirations are valid—and they are!—but that Israeli ones are not.

If Rabin, who did what he did despite deep reservations and what turned out to be fatal opposition from his domestic political opponents, is worthy only of being shunned, then no Israeli leader will ever meet Ocasio-Cortez’s standard.

Read more at Israel Policy Forum

More about: American Jewry, Democrats, Liberal Zionism, Yitzhak Rabin

A Senior Saudi Political Figure Takes the Palestinian Leadership to Task

In an extended television interview with an Arab broadcaster, Prince Bandar bin Sultan—who served for twenty years as the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., for a decade as head of the Saudi National Security Council, and two years as intelligence chief—responded forcefully to the Palestinian claim that the Gulf states have, by normalizing relations with Israel, “stabbed the Palestinians in the back.” Defending Saudi devotion to the Palestinian cause, Prince Bandar delivered a lengthy history of his country’s role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, in which he bluntly upbraided Palestinian leaders, and Yasir Arafat above all, for squandering chances at statehood and for their lack of “ethics.” While Bandar’s sentiments can hardly be described as pro-Israel, he asserted that the Palestinian leaders are every bit as responsible as the Jewish state for the plight of their people:

[After the UN issued its 1947 Resolution 181 for partitioning Palestine], a Jewish state called Israel was recognized, which became a member of the United Nations. As for the Arab side, the Palestinians rejected the resolution, and as usual, we [Saudis] supported their rejection. Many years later, the main demand of our Palestinian brothers has been UN resolution 181, which is no longer on the table. No one is discussing it now. This was the beginning, and such events, as I mentioned, were repeated once, twice, and three times.

After the Oslo Accords, I asked Abu Amar, [i.e., Arafat], God rest his soul—and as they say remember the virtues of your dead—what he thought of the autonomy provisions [offered to the Palestinians under the 1978] Camp David Treaty. He said, “Bandar, Camp David’s autonomy provisions were ten times better than the Oslo Accords.” I said, “Well, Mr. President, why did you not agree to it?” He said, “I wanted to, but Hafez al-Assad threatened to kill me and to drive a wedge among the Palestinians, turning them against me.” I thought to myself, so he could have been one martyr and given his life to save millions of Palestinians, but it was as God willed it.

Bandar recounts another incident where he came to Arafat with an offer from the Reagan administration to pressure Israel into making concessions to the Palestinians, but Arafat stalled pointlessly until the offer expired. In short, Bandar’s view of things reflects the old adage “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Read more at Al Arabiya

More about: Israel-Arab relations, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, Yasir Arafat