Blogs: The Yudelson Files
“I don’t think it’s possible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians in public negotiations. I believe strongly in secret back channels,” he said, because the constraints on both Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas “are such that they cannot negotiate openly.”
“It’s very much like in the case of Shalit, a question of political will,” said Baskin, who met privately with Abbas this week and believes the Palestinian leader “has decided on peace with Israel.
There’s no doubt in my mind that it is possible to reach an agreement.”
However, “I don’t think Netanyahu has reconciled himself with the price he has to pay. The most difficult issue is not Jerusalem and the refugees, it’s real estate. The Palestnians are making a mistake that they’re not negotiating, but I understand their position because I don’t think Israel is sincere about negotiating,” he said.
Baskin said that the divisions between Hamas and the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah should not be a reason to avoid negotiations.
“Hamas has agreed that Abbas is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in negotiations,” Baskin said. “They have agreed that if Abbas were to reach an agreement, it would come to a referendum. They do not oppose talks; they think it’s a waste of time. So this whole issue of whether or not [Abbas] can negotiate an agreement — put it to a test. See what happens."
While researching the three recent non-Bergen County sprees of crimes targeting Jews or featuring anti-Semitic graffiti – two of which turned out to be committed by Jews, with the other being investigated as insurance fraud -- I came across some rather hysterical reporting of the incidents.
Blogger Pamela Geller, for example, put the headline "Kristallnacht comes to America" on her report of car tourchings in Brooklyn -- fires that police now believe were set by the car owners to collect insurance money.
Here's her commentary:
"Welcome to America under siege by the leftists and Islamic supremacists."And here's how the author of Israel Survival Updates commented on "Kristallnacht In New Jersey" -- the smashing of store windows in Highland Park:
Tool up. That means go get some evil scary-looking guns, learn how to safely handle and use them and get ready, because “it can’t happen here” is happening here.I'm not going to try to dissuade people from their paranoia. But it is worth noting that equating smashed windows with Kristallnacht is missing the point of what took place in Nazi Germany.
The problem with Kristallanact was not that hooligans smashed windows. It was the power of the state was smashing windows and burning synagogues, and ordering the firefighters not to put out the blazes.
By contrast, look at how authorities responded to the recent apparently anti-Semitic crimes.
First of all, they were all investigated. The perpetrators were actively sought. And it was not only a police concern.
In Bergen County, elected officials stood with the prosecutor's office in denouncing the crimes and calling for their investigation.
There was no question that the authorities totally opposed attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions.
Contrast this with the reports from Berlin in 1935, which I happen to be reading about in Dara Horn's excellent “Kindle Single,” The Rescuer. Three years before Kristallnacht, and Storm Troopers were with impunity entering pubs and stabbing Jews and leading organized mobs who pulled Jews from their cars in Berlin and beat them to death. Hate wasn't a crime in Nazi Germany; it was a justification that made crimes legal.
But today, in New Jersey, a firebomb thrown at a synagogue isn't a reminder that Jewish life and property is up for grabs; it's an occasion for congressmen and nuns and Christian and Muslim clergy to join in solidarity with the Jewish community and sing Hebrew hymns.
That didn't happen after Kristallnacht.
That should be the real lesson of the attacks in Bergen County, even if they turn out to be committed by an avowed anti-Semite: It's not 1938. As Jews, we have far more friends in American than we do enemies.
There's one unanswerable question about the recent incidents whose Jewish perpetrators have been caught.
What is it that made two disturbed Jewish individuals – one in New Jersey, one in New York – act out their madness and anger and frustration through anti-Semitic slogans and actions?
Is our community's paranoia making our mentally disturbed members crazier?
Something to think about.