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Foxman's Red Herring

Abe Foxman is a smart person, a responsible person, an honorable person with a strong moral core. I have known him for years and I respect him.


I just read the ad that he published in the New York Times today, stating that "the settlements are not the impediment" to peace, and that "the issue is simple: the Arab and Palestinian rejection of Israel's right to exist."


The ad also says that "with recognition, Israel has said again and again that everything is on the table without preconditions."


Foxman is an excellent student of Middle East history and politics. He knows full well that the settlements are an impediment to peace. He knows that nothing is simple about the Arab-Israeli conflict. He knows that the current Israeli government refuses to bring everything to the table, without preconditions. He is well aware of the sea-change that we have all witnessed in the position of Arab and Palestinian leaders in the past sixty years regarding peace with Israel.


Foxman must know that Israel's chief interlocutor, the PLO, has already jumped through the recognition hoops. He himself played a role in solidifying that recognition.


Foxman also must know that all 22 members of the Arab League gave Israel a deposit seven years ago. It promises not just recognition but full normalization with Israel once it concludes peace treaties with the Palestinians, the Syrians and the Lebanese.


Foxman must know that Israel is seeking from its Arab neighbors deeds rather than words. It is seeking deliverables: peace, security, normal relations. A declarative recognition of Israel's right to exist would be nice, but how significant a contribution is it to Israel's wellbeing?  


Foxman must therefore know that the demand for recognition now is a red herring. It is Netanyahu's excuse-de-jour for inaction. It's just not serious. He knows it.

Abe Foxman is a smart and responsible man. He should be supporting policies that can bring peace to Israel, not peddling excuses.