Rupert Murdoch, Ground Invasions, and the Downside of the Iron Dome System

Some updates, and questions answered:

1. I'm waiting for Obama's critics on the right to acknowledge that he has backed Israel unequivocally since this mess started. And I suppose I will continue waiting.

2. A good reason why Netanyahu and Barak may not opt for a ground invasion, from Anshel Pfeffer: "Netanyahu is obsessively cautious. Barak is a fan of quick and sophisticated maneuvers. They are not disposed to a protracted, large-scale campaign and beneath the talk of "broadening the operation" is an eagerness to find a way of ending it this week still."

3. Palestinians who hope for Israeli civilian deaths ultimately aren't doing themselves any favors, via Khaled Abu Toameh:

There is nothing more nauseating than watching people celebrate as rockets are being fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip. This is what happened last week when Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

As soon as the sirens went off, many Palestinians took to the streets and rooftops, especially in Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods, to cheer Hamas. Sometimes they responded to the Hamas rockets by launching fireworks into the air as a sign of joy, and chanting, "We are all Hamas!" and, "O Jews, the army of Mohammed is coming after you!"

Scenes of jubilation over the rocket attacks on Israel were also reported in several Palestinian cities in the West Bank, including Ramallah, the center of Palestinian "pragmatism and moderation.'

4.  A friend of Goldblog who knows a great deal about the Middle East wrote in to point out a potential downside of the Iron Dome system, which is doing a very good job of protecting Israeli skies:

As I have watched the conflict, one of the things that has worried me has paradoxically been the effectiveness of the Iron Dome system.
 
Obviously, any weapons system that reduces civilian Israeli fatalities is a good thing. Let's get that out of the way first and foremost: we are right to hail this marvelous new technology. But ideally, the Iron Dome would allow Israeli civilian leaders the space to make hard choices about what, exactly, they are to do with Gaza. I had the same hope for the Wall/Fence in the West Bank. Leaving aside for a moment the tricky issue of where the Wall/Fence was constructed, it nonetheless effected a stunning drop in suicide attacks in Israel proper. This, again, is a good thing. But instead of giving Israeli civilian leaders the space to make hard decisions about what to do in the West Bank, the Wall/Fence instead allowed most Israelis to forget about the West Bank and the Palestinians altogether. The Palestinians, out of sight, drifted out of mind as well.
 
But the problem of what to do with the people and the land Israel conquered in 1967 isn't going away. In the near term, I very much hope Israel is able to stop the rocket attacks from Gaza. But in the long term, I hope the solution to Gaza will not be to simply build bigger and better walls -- both on the ground and in the sky -- while continuing to put off hard political decisions.

5.  MIchael Wolff dissects Rupert Murdoch's very strange tweet about Jewish publishers (the one that proves the point that a philo-Semite is an anti-Semite who likes Jews):

In fair context, Murdoch comes from a generation (he's 81) and a place (Australia) where the word Jewish was often used in a way - a way that most often had an "other" implication - that it is not used now. And in private, Murdoch remains very much an unreconstructed person from his time and place.

Indeed, there is almost always a fluttering around Murdoch by his minders in an effort to clean up his retrograde-ness. (Once, when I interviewed his now 103-year-old mother, she made a retrograde remark about her son's Chinese wife that precipitated some serious crisis management in the company. Curiously, Murdoch's wife Wendi often uses the word "Jewish" in an atonal context - "You Jewish, right? I know you Jewish!" - that makes Murdoch's minders jump.) He may even become more retrograde to bedevil his minders.

But there is, among the people around, including the many Jews around him, a real and unresolved question about what Murdoch actually thinks about the Jews.

Gary Ginsberg, his long-time aide - part chief-of-staff; part PR consigliere - was often hurt and confounded by Murdoch's jibes, insensitivities, and humor (there was the Christmas every executive desk got a crèche by order of the boss). Once, with me, Murdoch got into a riff about Jewish groups and money: how they were good at tricking him out of his dough.

6.  A Goldblog reader asks: "Your solution, to somehow engage Egypt, is no solution.To follow your reasoning, Egypt gets lucky and negotiates a cease-fire; Israel withdraws a bit and then another missile is launched, as you know it will. And another.  What then? You've seen what happens after Cast Lead. A brief lull and then more missiles. So....?

Is anyone under the impression that a long-term solution is in the offing? There will be a cease-fire, and that is a good thing -- Hamas's rocket supply will have been degraded, and, with any luck, Israel and Gaza can avoid a debilitating ground war. But since all the trends are negative in the conflict, we'll be here again. There is no military solution, and there is no direct political solution. But it would be better for Israel to stop now, and it would be good for Egypt to show itself to be a responsible player. I'm not kidding myself about the long-term, though.

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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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