Jonathan replies. Read it yourself. My fundamental point was that he had an intellectual responsibility to account for the many factual untruths and wildly unsupported accusations in a rant he called "persuasive." He baldly refuses to do so:
Andrew asks me to go through Leon’s piece point by point. I’m not going to go through every line. I do think that the criticisms of his Middle East views, in general, were trenchant.
I did not ask him to go through the piece line by line. I asked him to go through it lie by lie. Look: I sympathize with his inability to do this. I didn't exactly expect Jon to refute Leon Wieseltier's demonstrated untruths in TNR. I worked there, after all. I know the limits of intellectual honesty at that place. It's just sad to see Chait kowtow so openly to them.
He also reiterates something untrue. He says that I favored "an American invasion of Israel followed by a NATO occupation of the border." No I didn't. Here's what I wrote:
My own view is moving toward supporting a direct American military imposition of a two-state solution, with NATO troops on the borders of the new states of Palestine and Israel. I'm sick of having a great power like the US being dictated to in the conduct of its own foreign policy by an ally that provides almost no real benefit to the US, and more and more costs.
How is any of this an "invasion of Israel"? I am saying that at some point, if the two parties cannot and will not come to terms, and if the conflict keeps imperiling the rest of us by inflaming a global religious war, then NATO could be involved in enforcing a two-state solution, guaranteeing security for the two states, and policing the border. Like a marriage counselor, we could act as enforcers of a restraining order. Because our security is increasingly threatened by this conflict, and the last decade has reinforced that view. Maybe I'm wrong; but I fear this is the case and see Israel's intransigence as affecting the lives of Londoners and New Yorkers as well as the inhabitants of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem. Qom and Tehran.
I'm not the first one to propose this. It would be an attempt to protect US security. I do not believe that the pulverization and blockade of Gaza and the daily humiliations of Palestinians on the West Bank in the face of growing numbers of Israeli settlers have nothing to with Islamism's growth. You have to live in a TNR bubble not to see it.
One more thing: what universe is Chait living in when he claims that what chunks of Israel have endured lately is anything like the London Blitz?
43,000 Londoners alone were killed in that event in a few months - let alone the carnage in Coventry and the rest of the country. My own family lived in houses that were assailed from the skies - and a million homes were demolished. In one day, in the last assault, 1,364 people were killed and 1,616 were seriously injured. My own mother as a child was knocked unconscious; my great aunt was blinded; my grandfather was permanently disabled. Is Chait seriously suggesting that unaimed, largely useless Qassam rockets from Gaza that killed around a score of Israelis, however indefensible, are anything like the terror that Londoners faced in 1940? Or the human toll?
You begin to realize that the sense of deranged beleaguerment many Israelis and some supporters of Israel feel when you read a usually sober and sharp writer like Chait make such absurd comparisons. I understand the source of the unfathomable trauma, but decades later it has become so irrational, so out of proportion to reality in Israel, that having a rational debate about this is impossible. But I will keep trying. I hope Jon will too.
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