The Nay-Sayers

President Bush’s historic speech on Monday provided a roadmap for peace in the Middle East. Told of Yasser Arafat’s direct involvement in recent terror attacks, Bush called for Palestinians to choose “new leadership not compromised by terror.” Rather than shutting down Palestinian aspirations, Bush provided them hope of a new, uncorrupt, lawful, democratic political entity that would be a magnet for international aid.

Praise for the new Bush doctrine was very widespread, but not universal. We present below several critics of Bush’s policy. Some incredibly claim that Bush was motivated by domestic American politics. Others simply cannot relinquish their romance with Yasser Arafat.

===== THE ECONOMIST =====

In an editorial, The Economist considered the speech a “one-sided peace vision” and suggested that it was driven by domestic American politics:

“Most of Mr. Bush’s critics will be tempted to explain this week’s sharp pro-Israeli turn by reference to America’s domestic politics. There is something in this. America has a well-organised Jewish lobby, supported nowadays by conservative Christian groups; the president is preparing for November’s mid-term elections, with control of Congress and the fate of his brother Jeb in Florida in the balance… The American administration, and the governments of Europe and the Arab world, may agree on the need to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel in the West Bank and Gaza. But they do not agree on who the bad guys are. And this makes all the difference.”

Amazing. The Economist and the governments of Europe and the Arab world cannot decide who the bad guys are. After the gallons of innocent Israeli blood spilled, and the tons of Palestinian explosives, nails and rat poisoning devoted to terrorism, they cannot decide.

The Economist also expressed disappointment that the Bush speech did not call condemn “illegal” Israeli settlements [maybe because official U.S. legal advisors determined that they were not].

Read The Economist editorial at:

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===== MARY McGRORY =====

Columnist Mary McGrory (Washington Post, June 27) echoed the canard of Bush’s crass political motivation:

“The Christian Coalition and its allies not only rejoice in the victory of the hawks [in drafting the Bush speech], they are counting the Jewish votes that may fall their way in the wake of the ferocious advocacy of the Israeli cause. Democrats, tongue-tied as ever and hoping not to alienate generous Jewish contributors, had little to say.”

While President Bush calls for democracy in the Middle East and expresses faith in the Palestinian people, McGrory expresses distain for a less corrupt and despotic Arab world.

While McGrory expressed her dissatisfaction over Bush’s policy, where is her condemnation of Arafat’s terrorism that brought the Middle East to its current state? McGrory’s objection to terrorism appears to be only because “the hideous and odious tactic of sending young men and women out to die and take innocents with them costs the [Palestinians} world sympathy –and gives Sharon a rationale for further violence” Indeed, the only time McGrory even mentioned the word “terrorism” is when she cynically called Prime Minister Sharon, “Bush’s buddy in the war against terrorism.”

Read McGrory’s column at:

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===== ROBERT FISK =====

Robert Fisk, writing in The UK Independent, entitled his column “I wonder why Bush doesn’t let Sharon run his press office.” Fisk charged that President Bush is following Israeli diktats: “All that he offers to the Palestinians is a ghastly mockery of what the Palestinians are told to do by the Israelis.”

Fisk has closely followed Arafat’s career from his Beirut days of terror, and expresses his reservations about Bush’s call for new Palestinian leadership: “It is becoming ever more obvious that Arafat did not fail in his duties as Palestinian leader. He failed in his duties as Israel’s and thus America’s proxy colonial apparatchik in the West Bank and Gaza. The fact he is a corrupt little despot does not change this.”

Read Fisk’s column at:

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===== MICHAEL GOVE ======

Other columnists in effect responded to the Fisks and McGrorys in incredibly forceful columns. HonestReporting recommends that members read the column by The London Times’ Michael Gove (“These killers are neither hopeless nor victims,” June 25). Wrote Gove:

“This [Palestinian] ideology of death is not then the product of hope denied, but hope fed. Fed not just by money and arms from neighbours, but fed, above all, by the folly of the West. The hope that terror will bring concessions, the hope that the West is weakening, the hope that fanaticism will prevail, is daily reinforced. That hope is nurtured by movement towards a Palestinian state which is accelerated, not delayed, by bombing. It is also advanced by the moral confusion which suicide bombing has produced among Western elites. The campaign has been designed to obscure the wickedness of ethnic mass murder by seeking to place the killer on the same moral plain as his targets — both are to be seen as “victims”.

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===== ARI SHAVIT =====

Ha’aretz’ Ari Shavit (“A democratic Palestine, with no discounts,” June 28) also came through with a moral and democratic message in response to the naysayers. Shavit addressed commentators who “turned up their noses.” He writes:

“Bush is superficial and simplistic, they claimed; he adopted the Likud’s platform. But Bush did not adopt the Likud’s platform. And the worldview that Condoleezza Rice formulated for him is far from being superficial or simplistic. On the contrary, it is the new American understanding that found expression in the Rose Garden speech is a fairly profound Jeffersonian understanding — an understanding that draws a clear moral boundary between those who are committed to democracy and stability and those who are not so committed, between those who want life here and those who sow death here.”

Shavit continued: “Standing between Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell, the president declared he is no longer willing to accept the bigotry of low expectations with regard to Palestinian society. The Palestinians are no different than any other segment of humanity, he said between the lines of his speech. The fact that they are under occupation does
not grant them moral discounts. When they murder, they are murderers. When they oppress, they are oppressors. When they are victims of occupation, they are victims of occupation. And as long as their leadership does not choose the democratic experience, it should be treated as an enemy of freedom. As long as it lends a hand to the collective aggression of murderous suicide-madness, it should be treated as endangering world peace. Nothing less.”

Read Shavit’s column at:

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Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.