Award to The New Republic

April 21, 2001 12:00 by

Dear Friend,

Few American magazines truly “know” the Middle East. Time Magazine and Newsweek correspondents change every couple of years, and senior writers “parachute” into the region for a week or two to write their “in-depth” analyses. More often than not, these articles present a rehash of the conventional wisdom gained around the Palestinian press center at the American Colony Hotel in east Jerusalem rather than a reality check and a true understanding of the region. To compete with visual media such as CNN, American magazines frequently print the sensationalist, emotional photographs of suffering victims rather than present the true picture on the ground.

“The New Republic” (TNR), led by Editor-in-chief Martin Peretz, consistently rises above the pack and presents an accurate and insightful picture of the Middle East in general, and the Arab-Israeli conflict in particular.

In its latest editorial, “A War After Peace,” TNR proclaims:

“Last summer — we will repeat the tale until we are hoarse, because it is still the truth, and because it is still startling — Israel offered (arguably too generously) to withdraw to the boundaries of 1949-1967 so that a Palestinian state could be proclaimed, with its capital in Jerusalem and its flag over the Haram al-Sharif. Israel offered, in other words, to be a partner in the realization of the Palestinians’ fondest dream, and also in their relief from the misery of their refugee camps. But the Palestinians said no, and sent their children into the streets.”

In another recent column, “W.’s Surprising Support for Israel. Enemies, A Love Story,” Peretz spoke of Ariel Sharon’s successful visit to the U.S. in mid-March: “The first indication Sharon’s U.S. visit would go better than expected was the reaction of the media. Neither The New York Times nor The Washington Post, the twin pillars of liberal foreign policy orthodoxy, treated him like a pariah, something they used to do routinely.”

For all this and more, HonestReporting grants its award to Martin Peretz and The New Republic. We recommends that HonestReporting members subscribe to TNR and place its website among your bookmark favorites: http://www.tnr.com/

Peretz, who identifies himself as a habitual “Labor Zionist,” takes a realistic approach to the peace process. In a January 2001 column, “Good to Go, Why Israel will be glad to see Clinton Leave,” Peretz wrote:

“From the beginning, the challenge of Oslo was to reconcile the maximalist ambitions of the Palestinian leadership with the reality of what Israel could safely bear. When the agreement was signed, I feared that gap could not be bridged, that Palestinian Chairman Yasir Arafat would remain delusional. Now, to my horror, I realize that he was not delusional — the gap has been bridged, but it is not Arafat’s ambitions that have been compromised; it is Israel’s security.”

Peretz is not afraid to take a stand with Israel, even when contrary to the American administration. In an October 2000 editorial, “Where is Washington,” Peretz wrote:

“…Under cover of the great American peace, the United States went from being Israel’s ally to being a broker, a facilitator, a neutral power that no longer wished to choose between its clients in the region… [W]hat does the Clinton administration do? In Paris, Yasir Arafat walks out of a meeting with Madeleine Albright, and the secretary of state runs after him. The indignity! In New York, the United States refuses to veto an old-fashioned resolution of the U.N. Security Council condemning only Israel, and instead chooses to abstain. The American abstention was an act of cowardice and nothing else. It surely encouraged Palestinians and other Arabs who believe that the United States, like history, is at last on their side.”

Over the years, Peretz and The New Republic have published important analyses and essays by writers such as Fuad Ajami and Charles Krauthammer. The New Republic also runs incisive, articulate articles by senior editor Lawrence F. Kaplan on policy-making in Washington. See his articles:

- “Drill Sergeant, The Oil industry’s man at the State Department” – March 26, 2001 http://business.highbeam.com/4776/article-1G1-72006993/drill-sergeant-oil-industry-man-state-department

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