Getting Israel to Focus on What Is Actually Important

Maureen Dowd puts it best today (and, by the way, perspicacious deployment of a certain Middle East quote-generator):

Netanyahu is taking his time-out in an Israel where many citizens and columnists are embarrassed by his behavior. Yet Post-Biden, the government is acting petulant and is inviting construction on more new homes in northeast Jerusalem. Perhaps Bibi will have the good sense to realize the Biden insult was a bit more than "regrettable," as he tepidly put it. He may remember that the two most important things to Israel should be a security doctrine that prevents a neighboring adversary from getting a nuclear weapon and cherishing the relationship with America -- rather than zoning and earmarks.

The Iranian mullahs must be laughing at the Americans and Israelis arguing about who insulted whom, while they are busy screwing their nuclear bombs together.

It's time for the Israelis to focus on the existential threat. And only America can help them manage the Iranians in any meaningful way. 

I would also recommend Tom Friedman's column (by the way, the Friedman/Dowd combination today is a reminder that whole centuries go by before other small countries get face-time on the opinion pages of the Times -- except, of course, for Flora Lewis's famed series, "Whither Bolivia?"  But these columns mark the fifth and sixth times, by my quick count, this week that Israel has been the subject of columnist attention. Which raises the question: What is David Brooks doing with his time? Something useful?)

The Friedman column focuses on the revolutionary work of Salam Fayyad, the first Palestinian leader to use David Ben-Gurion as a role model. Fayyad's work, of course, makes it harder for the Israelis to claim that they have no partner for peace.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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