Fisking a Single Sentence of James Zogby
James Zogby, the founder and president of the Arab American Institute, wrote an essay earlier this month that was translated and reproduced in Arabic news sites.
Called “Normalization Doesn’t Advance Israeli/Palestinian Peace,” the first sentence is all you need to read: “For as long as I can recall, Israelis have sought recognition and acceptance from the Arab World without reciprocity.”
He brings some bizarre “proofs” — mainly that the US promised to pressure Israel about the settlements in 1992 in exchange for Arabs ending the secondary boycott of Israel, and that Israel didn’t stop building (even though there have been very few new settlements built since 1992.)
But Israel never promised anything, and Zogby knows that.
And his ending is as sweeping as his beginning, as he rails against Arab nations softening their stance on Israel:
Israelis have simply never operated in good faith vis-à-vis their dealings with the Arab World, and most especially with the Palestinians. They take and they do not reciprocate. That is why I say “Don’t be fooled. Normalization doesn’t advance peace and it most certainly doesn’t advance Palestinian rights.”
Well, let’s see. Egypt’s economy was helped a great deal by peace with Israel, and Israel has helped Egypt in the fight against ISIS. Jordan effectively uses Israel to defend itself. And they both gained a lot from their official but cold peace with Israel, including intelligence cooperation.
And Israel offers much more to the Arab world in exchange for peace. Israel wants to help the Arab world with water management, with setting up economic zones of cooperation, with direct trade (and there is already lots of trade under the table), and with foreign policy goals like repelling Iran.
Moreover, peace with Israel could result in Arab nations being able to trade goods with Europe through the Mediterranean, as Israel is now proposing with a rail line. That is not a small concession.
Zogby is lying, and he knows it. He has bitterly complained that he is typecast as the “anti-Israel guy.” But this essay alone proves that he absolutely is.