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.