An Addendum to the Fareed Zakaria Anti-Netanyahu Post

A number of readers -- a large number -- objected to my approving mention of Fareed Zakaria's statement that "the newsworthy, and real, shift in U.S. policy was Obama publicly condemning the Palestinian strategy to seek recognition as a state from the U.N. General Assembly in September."

Some objected to this because they feel Obama's true shift was toward Israel's 1967 borders. But others objected to this endorsement because Zakaria went on to write that Israel rules over "millions of Palestinians in serf-like conditions -- entitled to neither a vote nor a country." The objection is to the term "serf-like," and I should have mentioned in the earlier post that I, too, found this term objectionable, to the extent that I even understand it. Few, if any, Palestinians, work in Israel anymore; the West Bank economy is flourishing, and the average Palestinian has an income far higher than the average Egyptian. "Serf-like" connotes economic enslavement. What the Palestinians lack is political independence. But they aren't serfs. The situation is bad enough that exaggeration isn't helpful.

Another widespread exaggeration I've heard over the past few days: That the absence of negotiations is the fault of the Israelis. Netanyahu has a lot to answer for on this question, but it is actually the Palestinian side that, over the past several months, has refused to negotiate.

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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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