Jeremy Ben-Ami on a Settlement Boycott, Plus Other Nasty Business

Goldblog is going on a hiatus shortly, so I wanted to round-up some not-so-disparate items.

1) I can't stop thinking about Miriam Monsonego, and Arye and Gabriel Sandler, the three small children executed by a Muslim radical for the crime of being Jewish. I think every Jewish parent is in shock at the horror, even though the pace of these sorts of attacks seems to be accelerating. Monsonego's killing was especially horrifying; the murderer grabbed her by the hair, tried to shoot her in the head, but when his handgun failed, he pulled out another and successfully fired. The hatred this man felt for Jews is otherworldly, but it is born in this world. It is the outgrowth of an ideology of dehumanization that has spread across parts of the Muslim world.

2) I can't stop thinking about another case of child-murder, that of Trayvon Martin. For those of you who aren't reading Ta-Nehisi on the subject, what are you waiting for?

3) I'm posting, as soon as possible, an interview I did earlier this week with Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder of J Street. It's an annual ritual for us, this interview. The whole thing is interesting (in my humble opinion) but I wanted to highlight what he had to say about Peter Beinart's call for a boycott of the settlements. Jeremy makes the best case I've heard so far about why this is a terrible idea. Here's some of what he said:

"...I don't think that it makes any sense to put negative pressure on people whose behavior you hope to change. I think that the way that Israelis will feel comfortable making the compromises and the sacrifices -- and Israel as a whole, not just the settlers -- is when they really feel that not only American Jews, but the United States, is going to be there for them. I think if you begin to do things that say, "We're not really with you, we're against you, we're putting pressure on you," I think that causes people to pull more into a shell and pull back."

4) Re: Andrew Sullivan, I think I'm going to take the Ariel Sharon position and unilaterally disengage. There's just no point: He thinks I'm a terrible Netanyahu apologist, and I think he's a scapegoater of Jews, and nothing either of us says will convince the other.

5) In Roger Cohen's column today, he criticizes me (implicitly this time) for reporting on Israel's sincerity re: a possible strike on Iran. But why doesn't he mention that the New York Times Magazine, which is part of his newspaper, recently predicted, flat-out, that Israel will strike Iran in 2012? Did he somehow miss that cover story?

6) Please read the exchange I had (and am having) with Jim Fallows on this particular subject. It might be enlightening for some people.

7) Please also read Suzanne Maloney's American Prospect piece on containing a nuclear Iran. I disagree with much of it, but it's very comprehensive and interesting.

8) Finally, please read this very interesting Ari Shavit column about the sincerity of the Israeli leadership.