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October 7, 2011 1:42 pm

Nicholas Kristof: Enemy of Israel

avatar by Ed Koch

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Nicholas D. Kristof, Columnist, The New York Times, USA. Photo: World Economic Forum.

I read the op ed of Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Times of October 6th with its headline caption, “Is Israel Its Own Worst Enemy?”  I concluded on finishing that article that it is Nicholas Kristof who is truly an enemy of Israel.

As is fashionable nowadays, Kristof blames Israel for the lack of progress in the peace process with the Palestinians, claiming, “Nothing is more corrosive than Israel’s growth of settlements.”  Why?  One million, five-hundred-thousand Muslims live in Israel. Why do the Palestinian Authority and its supporters like Kristof believe that the West Bank should be “Judenrein” or that Jews may not live in a part of Jerusalem when they have lived in all parts of Jerusalem for 3,000 years until the Jordanians drove them out in 1948?  Why, when a two-state solution comes into being and borders are agreed upon and Jews are located on the Palestinian side, shouldn’t Jews have the choice of remaining on as Palestinian citizens or resident aliens or leaving?

Nothing offended me more and showed Kristof’s true colors and antagonism to Jews than his claim that the Obama administration “humiliated itself” at the U.N. by making it clear that it will veto any effort to create a Palestinian state outside of direct negotiations between the parties.  What is humiliating about insisting that the Palestinians recognize the state of Israel and negotiate all of their differences?  Is Kristof implying that Obama is being pressed into taking that stance against his will, or against the will of the American people?  Is he implying that the Jews forced him into taking that position?

Kristof calls for the pre-1967 borders with land swaps. Does he tell us how that is possible when Hamas (half of the Palestinian Authority the Quartet, U.S., Russia and European Union label as a terrorist organization) believes it is entitled to occupy Tel Aviv and its charter states every Jew entering Palestine after 1917 must be expelled. Has Kristof ever criticized Hamas’ charter and its numerous acts of terrorism intended to accomplish this goal?

Kristof criticizes the fact that Israeli citizens have become more conservative on “border[s] and land issues.” Why shouldn’t they?  Former Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barack and Ehud Olmert offered to settle borders giving the Palestinian state 97 percent of the West Bank which they rejected. Many supporters of Israel believe Palestinians are not interested in a two-state solution, one Jewish and one Palestinian, but seek instead a return of Palestinians to Israel so as to ultimately overwhelm the Jewish state and make it a Muslim state. Has Kristof ever addressed that outcome?

The criticism that Kristof lodges against Hamas is “And Hamas not only represses its own people, but also managed to devastate the peace movement in Israel. That’s the saddest thing about the Middle East: hardliners like Hamas empower hardliners like Mr. Netanyahu.” As Ronald Reagan once said, “There he goes again,” equating terrorists with Israeli “hardliners.”  Surely, Kristof knows the difference.

The Israelis have concluded, and I agree, the Palestinian leadership does not want peace.  Within the last two weeks, the Quartet asked both parties to go back to the negotiation table and negotiate without preconditions.  The Israeli Prime Minister immediately said “anywhere, anyplace.”  The President of the Palestinian Authority said “no” unless Israel agrees to a settlement freeze and negotiates based on indefensible 1967 borders. Has Kristof criticized Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority for his refusal?

In his column, Kristof urges Palestinian women to engage in civil disobedience which could, he knows, end in violence and be met, he says, with “tear gas and clubbing,” ending with “videos promptly posted on YouTube.”  So there we have it.  Kristof wants a physical confrontation or have the state of Israel and its military lay down their arms and submit to threats of violence rather than defend their people.  What an outrage.  I have no doubt he is repelled by the deaths of innocent civilians in Syria at the hands of the Syrian army, but expresses no qualms at what would follow to the Jews of Israel were the Arab armies or terrorists to enter a vanquished Israel.

Kristof attacks Israel for “burning bridges” with Turkey.  I believe it is Turkey that has effectively declared war on Israel.  Recently, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and Turkey’s prime minister Erdogan stated he will send Turkey’s navy to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, a blockade a U.N. commission has just said is legal under international law and intended to prevent the Hamas government in Gaza from bringing even more rockets and other arms from Iran into Gaza.  So if the Israeli navy continues the blockade, and the Turkish navy seeks to break it, and there is a naval clash, clearly Kristof will blame Israel for protecting its people from attack, the first obligation of any government.

Kristof closes with his usual disingenuous “mea culpa,” saying, “Some of my Israeli friends will think I’m unfair and harsh, applying double standards by focusing on Israeli shortcomings while paying less attention to those of other countries in the region.  Fair enough.  I plead guilty.  I apply higher standards to a close American ally like Israel that is a huge recipient of American aid.”

Does he care that the Palestinian Authority now includes Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, and receives millions in American aid?  Does he care that Egypt which allowed the Israeli embassy to be sacked gets $2 billion in American aid?  I don’t know what Turkey gets, if anything.  But I do know that NATO’s expenses, and Turkey is part of NATO, are paid by the U.S. to the extent of 75 percent.

Frankly, I have no hesitation in calling Kristof by his rightful name: an enemy of Israel.

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  • maz hess

    In the second world war the europeen jewish population jumped out of a burning house and on the heads of the palestinians.

    war is stealing by murdering. a dirty war is stealing by exstensive murdering. a clean war is stealing by minimal murdering. Israel leads for the last 60 years a clean war against the palestinian population.

    Doing unjustness give you a feeling of bad conscious and bad consious produces nearly always hate. Missused power corrupts your mind, psych and soul. Israel started 60 year ago with the aim to create a model of a state. Where it has ended? 60 years of oppression against the people on which their grandparents had jumped on the heads has deeply corrupted the country and has already started to destroy the roots of this country deep deep deep in the ground.

    And why no compromise? Is it because 25% of the jews in the diaspora are marrying non jews and going lost. Are the orthodox in the goverment afraid that in a case of peace this would happen in israel too as it happend in israel during in the period of the babylonic exile?

  • Moshe

    The New York Times has a very bad choice of Extreme right writers that will heart Israel and the Times circulations.
    It’s not Nicholas D. Kristof that’s the enemy of Israel its the New York Times. they will probably will avoid publishing my comment.

  • Michael Davison

    Dear ex-UK:

    I have been a citizen of Israel for the past 42 years and disagree with your response. How often do Mahmoud Abbas and Ismael Haniyeh have to tell you that their ambition is a “Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea” before you understand them?

    Have you ever bothered to read the Palestinian National Charter (either version– from 1964 or from 1968)? Have you ever read the Hamas Covenant?

    I have no love for Bibi Netanyahu, never have and never will vote for him, but he is far from being the obstacle you seem to imagine he is. Over the past 11 years, two offers were made giving the Palestinians virtually everything they demanded, yet both Yasset Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas walked away from the negotiations without even making a counter-offer.

    The reality is that the Palestinians have given Israelis no reason to trust them, in word or in deed. They have not even fulfilled a single condition agreed to in the 1993 Oslo Accords. The onus for trust-building is on the Palestinians, not on Israel.

    91 years of rejectionism, riots, terrorism and wars of aggression by the Palestinians in concert with the Arab League and no end in sight is the reason Israelis do not trust the Palestinians.

    Go and do some homework before you post such things anywhere. You may be surprised at what you learn on the way.

    Mr. Brian Shedrow:

    If all you can do is attack the author without rebutting his case in any way, what are you trying to say? I disagree with Nicholas Kristof too, and think his suggestions are both counter-productive and show a very shallow understanding (if any) of the conflict as a whole. Is he an “enemy of Israel”? That’s something each reader has to decide for himself, based on the merits or lack thereof in his opinions.

    Are you denying those who disagree with you the right of free speech? Are you denying them the right to disagree with you? What’s next on your agenda? Is it the denial of free thought?

    • Brian Shedrow

      Chill, Michael… I was telling Koch that he was guilty of amazingly irresponsible rhetoric.

      If he chooses to stop saying these things, it’ll be because of good common sense — not because i’m taking away his right to free speech.

  • exUK

    I am resident in Israel for last 3 years
    I disagree with your article.
    How can the Palestinians negotiate for the peace,as their proposed state is being settled ongoing by israel.
    If Netanyahu truly wanted to change the status quo regarding peace,he would at least freeze settlements as a first gesture.The reality is,that he does not know how to begin to move them.This does not mean that the other side are perfect,or genuine

  • Dan

    Great article.

    “Kristof wants a physical confrontation or have the state of Israel and its military lay down their arms and submit to threats of violence rather than defend their people.”

    It’s a shame that the quote above represents the views of most of the Muslim world. Israel has every right to defend itself and as a lone democracy surrounded by dictatorial and oppressive regimes, they deserve the help of the United States.

  • What amazingly irresponsible rhetoric this is to brand someone with whom you disagree as an enemy. Hizzoner should just go back to the People’s Court bc he clearly he has no chops for mediating any more serious issues.