Magazine article The American Prospect

Deal Breakers. (Correspondence)

Magazine article The American Prospect

Deal Breakers. (Correspondence)

Article excerpt

MICHAEL MASSING IS grossly misinformed about the American-Jewish community and peace in the Middle East ["Deal Breakers," March 11]. The role of Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians merits no mention in Massing's list of factors affecting U.S. policy in the region. Yasir Arafat's weekly speeches inciting violence and his refusal to combat terrorism also play no role. Massing asserts that two American-Jewish organizations--the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Conference of Presidents--are responsible for thwarting peace in the Middle East.

Massing claims that AIPAC's early-1990s agenda was anti-Oslo and anti-peace. Had he been more familiar with the peace process, he might know that its success grew from direct negotiations between the two parties--exactly what AIPAC lobbies for today. Israeli peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan exemplify this point. In Egypt's case, President Anwar Sadat defied opponents of normalizing Israeli-Egyptian relations when he traveled to Jerusalem and met directly with the Israelis. Even the failure of Camp David, according to some participants, can be traced to Arafat's reluctance to attend or sign an agreement and U.S. attempts to force him to do so. Until the Palestinian leadership commits itself to peace, any effort imposed by the United States--or any third party--is unfortunately doomed to fail.

Massing glosses over the fact that after the failure of negotiations at Camp David, American Jews became painfully aware of the inadequacy of a U. …

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