1. Gary Rosenblatt’s column on Roger Cohen.

The first 95% of the article is fantastic–balanced, fair, giving Cohen a reasonable hearing but also citing his critics and raising important questions. It’s a model of journalism. And then, somehow, Gary pivots in the last 30 seconds to this:

Cohen called his book about the Balkan war experience “Hearts Grown Brutal.”

It would seem from his writings and conversation that he believes that when it comes to the Mideast conflict, it is Israeli hearts that have hardened and that the government in Jerusalem is trying to ignore terrible things. He is welcome to his beliefs, of course, but Roger Cohen should be wary of conflating one tragedy with another.

Call it lack of balance or fairness, but to cite only one party to blame for the Israeli-Arab conflict is to deny history and reality, and to weaken one’s credibility beyond logic or truth.

Reading Cohen lately — the anger, blame and one-sidedness of his argument — one wonders whose heart, indeed, has grown brutal.

As readers of this blog well know, I have been among Roger Cohen’s critics. But I think that Gary undermines his own case with this move at the end. I don’t think that Cohen’s “heart has grown brutal,” and to make this kind of argument simply misses the point. Yes, Cohen should be more up-front about the lack of fairness in the Iranian elections (see Friedman’s piece yesterday, which compared Lebanon and Iran), but Cohen is also operating in the prophetic tradition, calling Israelis–and diaspora Jews–to take responsiblity for the things for which we should take responsibility, namely whether to attack Iran (which from what I can tell would be a strategic blunder of epic proportions) and how to use the force we have built up in a manner that befits our national aspirations.

2. Ari Shavit on Bibi and the “Seven Word Solution”

The heart of Shavit’s piece is this: “A demilitarized Palestine alongside a Jewish Israel.” Worth reading, and sums up pretty much what seems necessary.

3. I haven’t written anything about Obama’s speech last week. It was, in general, remarkable and amazing. My two bones to pick:

1) I don’t actually care about equating suffering; I think we need to get over that one. But I do care about ignoring history and making it seem as though Israel would not have happened without the Shoah, which is misleading and plays into the basest elements of Holocaust-denying anti-Semitism. Zionism happened before the Shoah for two or three generations, and the Jewish people have 3,000 years of history in Eretz Yisrael.

2) As Andre Aciman points out (his memoir is well worth the read), and as here quoted by Jeffrey Goldberg, the displacement of Jews in Arab and Muslim countries in 1948 needs to be remembered as part of the narrative.

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