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Roger Cohen thinks Israelis and Palestinians just need to get along

How a popular columnist fools readers into a false understanding of the situation in Israel/Palestine.

Oh man, is he smooth.

There is a reason Roger Cohen is a columnist in The Grey Lady: he is a fabulous writer. He is also extremely convincing, and his op-ed from yesterday, “Two Ideas of Israel-Palestine,” is no exception. It reads so well that I am sure he basically had most readers eating out of the palm of his hand.

And if that’s the case, boy, did they fall for it.

Because what Roger Cohen did yesterday is spoon-feed his readers one of the core principles of Liberal Zionism, without which they basically have nothing to say in their political arguments in living rooms all over the world, from Ramat Aviv to Brooklyn. And that core principle goes like this: the blame rests equally on both sides.

The “beauty” of this op-ed, focusing on the roots of the conflict, lies in its simplistic three-part structure. If you haven’t read the piece yet, you should – because the way it is built is crucial to understanding Cohen’s mindset.

I won’t deal much with the opening graph, mostly because Cohen himself is too lazy to put recent events into context. All he does is state that “the facts” – that Palestinians killed Jews in a synagogue during the recent wave of violence. Way to go for giving your readers a good picture about what’s going on Jerusalem, Cohen!

But the real gem is the second part of his piece, which include two long paragraphs in which Cohen attempts to bring up every argument possible from each side’s story. Both are equal in length, making the reader think that these are simply two parallel lines that will never meet. They’re just too entrenched in their own narratives. Everybody’s right.

The worst is his last paragraph:

Two children, one Israeli and one Palestinian, asked me if it is possible to have two ideas in your head at the same time. Not in the Middle East, I said. But it is important to try, because this is where you both have to live.

The sheer arrogance of telling us that “you guys just better get along already ‘cause you’re stuck with each other,” especially from one living in a country who has enabled the occupation of millions for almost 50 years, is shameful and enraging.

I’ve got news for you, Roger Cohen, this isn’t some kind of Cold War between two nuclear powers. This is a rich, armed-to-the-teeth colonial regime that has been stepping on the neck of an oppressed people for 47 years. That’s the narrative. That’s the story.

Your nice maneuver of putting two “narratives” opposite each other was indeed a sleek writing move. But I don’t fall for that stance any more.

No one should.

Related:
‘New York Times’ on Jerusalem violence: What occupation?
‘The New York Times’ investigates a Palestinian hobby
When ‘The New York Times’ embeds its reporters with the IDF

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    1. Joel

      Roger Cohen is a twit. That people read his column is pretty sad.

      “This is a rich, armed-to-the-teeth colonial regime that has been stepping on the neck of an oppressed people for 47 years.”

      True. But many of those oppressed people don’t want a two State solution. They want the State of Palestine.
      Forty seven years of oppression would motivate the oppressed to make a peace deal. Any peace deal, that would stop the pain.
      But that hasn’t happened. Has it?

      Reply to Comment
      • Philos

        The cognitive dissonance is strong in you, padiwan hasbarist… Not exactly a Zionist sentiment that is it? Giving in to the oppressor? What with all those fables about Hanukah, Masada, Trumpeldor and the Valley of Tears?

        Reply to Comment
        • Joel

          @Yoda

          They’re fables.

          I live in the real world, which means ‘take the deal’.

          Extremists, zealots, irredentists and idealists aren’t realists.

          Reply to Comment
      • Mouna

        What peace deal are you talking about? Less than 22% of historical Palestine is left and if and when there is a peace deal there will be less because the JSIL continues to forcibly appropriate land and build settlements. the 22% will have no right to ever defend itself, its land, water, or air. the 22 will not even have the right to decide on the school curriculum, electricity, water….. what peace?

        Reply to Comment
        • Joel

          The Jooozzz ‘took the deal’ back in 1947 and only received in turn, a tiny fraction of Mandatory Paletine.

          What part of ‘t-a-k-e- t-h-e d-e-a-l’ don’t you get?

          Reply to Comment
    2. Shelly

      Like many others I am a fan of Roger Cohen’s writing. I always read his columns. You’re right, he’s “fabulous.” And I think you’re being harsh.
      In the piece you are criticizing, Cohen did not even hint that the conflict was between “two nuclear powers” – In his Palestinian narrative he wrote that the Israelis “have all America, money, nuclear bombs, highways, drones, an army and technology We have nothing.” And right from the outset, in that same narrative, he wrote about the core of all evil, the occupation.
      As for the closing paragraph about living together, it’s like an ‘aside’ – even in his writing, it sounds hopeless.

      Yes there is something sleek in his chosen format, but there is also truth as I read it.

      Reply to Comment
    3. It is not just the 50-50 blame, it is the try to use the one heavliy biased oppinion against a mostly factual opinion and try to say that both are wrong. In this way you rject the rightful claims.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Indeed, Thierry, let’s blame them Joos for everything. The Arabs are right and the Joos are wrong. The Joos caused all the problems. The Arabs did nothing wrong. It is perfectly black&white. Facts? What facts?! Damn the facts and destroy them Joowish! Alhamdulalah!

        Reply to Comment
    4. Baladi Akka 1948

      “This is a rich, armed-to-the-teeth colonial regime that has been stepping on the neck of an oppressed people for 47 years. That’s the narrative. That’s the story.”
      Nope, the colonial regime has been around for more than 66 years. Ask the exiled, the internal displaced, the people living under military rule till 1966 … And before that there were other colonial regimes, the Brits, the Ottoman Empire, but none as the Zionists.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Thank you, Baladi Akka, because you are the only one among the numerous ignoramuses here who has the courage to tell Comrade Ami Kaufman and his ilk that they are dead wrong. Indeed, when you Arabs talk about “occupation”, you DO NOT mean Judea & Samaria, not at all. You correctly point out that what you mean by “occupation” is the entire State Of Israel – from the river to the sea! We all know that between 1948 and 1967 NOT a single Jew remained in Judea & Samaria and East Jerusalem. The Jews who lived there were either slaughtered or ethnically cleansed by you Arabs. If you wanted a “Palestinian” State, you could have created one between 1948 and 1967 in ALL of Judea & Samaria and the entire East Jerusalem. But that’s not what the Arabs want. And that which the Arabs want forced Israel to be “armed-to-the-teeth”! Thanks for pointing that out to Comrade Ami Kaufman and the other ignoramuses here.

        Reply to Comment
        • Baladi Akka 1948

          Blah-blah-blah …..The issue was the ‘colonial regime’.
          Even ‘dancing’ for the ‘State of the Jews’ on Shabbath, Ginger Rogers ?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Of course, Baladi Akka, “colonial regime” and “occupation” are synonyms in the Arab psyche. I am not remotely worried about lunatic leftist Jews, because the Arabs will always provide us with the evidence to prove them wrong. The Arabs are our paradoxical best friends.

            Hear your own leaders – in their own words just TWO months ago.

            Watch. And weep, Baladi!
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNZhs7Ey1c4

            (If you need more evidence, I will be happy to supply them).

            Reply to Comment
          • Baladi Akka 1948

            Why should I weep ? Because you post a 20 seconds video from Palwatch or because the guy is talking about liberating Palestine from the River to the Sea ?
            I do agree: we should liberate Palestine from the Zionist ideology and create one democratic State (that you can call whatever you want, to me it was, is and will always be Palestine) for Jews and Arabs, abolish the Law of Return and implement the Right of Return.
            Racist thugs who don’t want to live with the indigenous population are free to leave, and create another Jewish State wherever they want to …. Sheldon Adelson might have some land in Nevada.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Your Honor, I rest my case.

            Reply to Comment
          • His Honor

            Judgment is rendered for the defendant Baladi Akka. Accuser Eis fails to present credible evidence to prove her case, resorts to innuendo and overly broad references to “the Arabs” and indefensible use of phrases such as “we all know.” This Court is adjourned.

            Reply to Comment
          • Joel

            “Racist thugs who don’t want to live with the indigenous population are free to leave ”

            Yes.
            The racist thugs can leave, and so can the religious supremacists who want to reestablish dhimmitude.

            Reply to Comment
          • Baladi Akka 1948

            Ah, another fan of Bat Ye’or…. Dhimmitude was abolished by the Ottoman Empire in 1856, whereas Goyimitude is well alive in 2014, on both sides of the Green Line.
            Soooo hilarious when Jewish citizens of The-Only-Ethnocracy mention dhimmis. …. I guess you’ve been living too long in the smell to realize just how much it stinks.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Goyimmitude. Interesting word-coinage. It is fair to say Naftali Bennet wants to establish goyimmitude. And Reuven Rivlin does not. But it can be argued that Rivlin, rather than being a serious figure who makes a difference, serves as a comic fig leaf for people like Bennet. And Tomer. And Trespasser. And…

            Reply to Comment
          • Baladi Akka 1948

            The institutionalized and ‘legal’ discrimination between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens in the State of Israel, and that started immediately after the establishment of the State in 1948 could perfectly well be described as goyimitude. It’s not just some Bennett-fantasy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Joel

            ” Dhimmitude was abolished by the Ottoman Empire in 1856.”

            Yes. And only due to the pressure exerted on the Ottomans by Europe.
            But that didn’t stop a resurgence of dhimmitude when the Ottomans slaughtered the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks a few years later.

            And what’s ISIS doing today? Selling ‘heretics’ into chattel slavery?

            Reply to Comment
        • The only ignoramus here is you. The more truth you hear, the more unglued you become. You are a bullying she-devil who does more harm to the Jewish people (Joos, Joowish?) than good, causes more enmity between people than understanding and you apparently lack any personal insight at all. You present an excellent case for zionism as a psychiatric disorder.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            …. talking about “psychiatric disorder”, it can’t possibly escape anyone that you have the word “manic” carved on your forehead like the mark of Cain. I gave you that name and you have since internalized it – as you should. Today you call yourself “Manic Marnie”! And now you are projecting your psychotic self on to Zionism and ranting about “enmity” etc., even as you support the murderous terrorism against Israelis; even as you call the Jewish State a “parasite”; even as you claimed that Jews are only interested in “counting money”; even as you claimed that the Jewish People are actually extinct and exist no more (I can go on and on presenting your numerous anti-Semitic rants here)? Gimme a break, imbecile!

            Reply to Comment
    5. Telling lies repeatedly does not make it truth. As you do “go on and on”, you resort to lies and distortions to try to prove some kind of point, what point I have no idea. The more you write, the more you illustrate what many have said about you, that you are a screeching, lying, horrid female. You’re deliberate distortion of anything I’ve said is truly pathetic.

      “I gave you that name and you have since internalized it – as you should.”

      – No, actually I’ve externalized it. It’s an accessory, like a hat if you will. I realize you are going to call me something besides a child of God, so what? In other words, your name-calling is of no account.

      “even as you support the murderous terrorism against Israelis;”

      – I have posted numerous times the murder of civilians is wrong. I said the murder of all civilians is wrong; is that your problem?

      “even as you call the Jewish State a “parasite”;

      – Yes I did and that’s my opinion.

      “even as you claimed that Jews are only interested in “counting money”;”

      – No. I never did and you know it.

      “even as you claimed that the Jewish People are actually extinct and exist no more (I can go on and on presenting your numerous anti-Semitic rants here)?”

      – No. I never did and you know it.

      You can and will continue to slander people here that disagree with you. I’m not sure that is something that you should continue doing. You only showcase the fact that you are incapable of self-censorship. I don’t give a damn what you think of me or anyone else here. You can think all you want. You should have some parameters to guide you, something inside that tells you what you’re doing isn’t right and it is nothing but lies. That’s called a conscience. I guess yours up and died a long time ago from lack of nourishment.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        http://972mag.com/the-difference-between-israels-violent-racist-cops-and-americas/98617/

        “manic marnie, Monday, November 10, 2014
        Police states. And the parasites in Washington and Jerusalem just laugh it off and count the money.”

        Now, manic Marnie, you have admitted that in your opinion the Jewish State is a parasite. Now tell us who the “the parasites in Washington and Jerusalem [who] just laugh it off and count the money” are.

        Deal with this before we move any further. We will take it one by one. I have many more in stock for you lying psychotic imbecile.

        Reply to Comment
    6. GilGamesh

      The only path to peace in the near future is compromise. The extremists on both sides would prefer to see more suffering even if it takes another 60 years of war rather than agree to any concession that would bring peace. Cohen has it right.

      Reply to Comment
    7. “Even as you claimed that Jews are only interested in “counting money”;

      That’s not at all what I said. I said quite plain “and the parasites in Washington and Jerusalem just laugh it off and count the money.” Now you insert [who] into my statement. You’ve lied about what I said and continue to do so. You haven’t proven otherwise, no matter what words you want to add to it.

      “Deal with this before we move any further. We will take it one by one. I have many more in stock for you lying psychotic imbecile.”

      You don’t tell me anything. You really have the gestapo vibe down to a science “you lying psychotic imbecile”. Not too original here -I’m pretty sure I called you psychotic first.

      You’re a dirty player, a real bad sport Eis. You just don’t seem right in the head and frankly you really give me the creeps.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Your exact quote I provided. I equally provided the exact place your exact quote can be found. No one can be confused as to what your words are. Obviously you are rattled, can’t find the correct ‘reply button’ and looking for a quick way out, but I won’t let you do that. So, lets rephrase the question to deny you any escape routes:

        Question:
        Who are “the parasites in Washington and Jerusalem” who “just laugh it off and count the money.”?

        (Pls. answer ONLY the question so that we can move on to the next one. I am not interested in the rest of your psychotic brouhaha! Also learn to click the correct reply button and avoid being all over the entire thread – unless you are really stoned and confused).

        Reply to Comment
        • Where were you when I made the comment? Where was your indignation then? No one challenged my statement then? Were you “stoned” (oh, maybe you should try it) or had you run out of meds? Everyone knows Washington politicians, how corrupt and self-serving they are, every damn one of them and they’ve been bought by the GoI. Money is the only thing that moves politicians, it certainly isn’t the will of the people they were elected to serve.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            No one lies about you, maniac. It’s you vs. your own words.
            1. You have accepted that in your opinion “the Jewish State is a parasite” (settled);
            2. Following that you said: “And the parasites in Washington and Jerusalem just laugh it off and count the money” (also settled. I provided evidence you can’t run away from”).
            3. There is no (emphasis) MATERIAL difference between on the one hand: (a) ‘the Jewish State is a parasite’, (b) “the parasites in Jerusalem and Washington just laugh it off and count the money” and, on the other hand: (c) ‘Jews are only interested in counting the money’. There is no reasonable doubt as to who, in your mind, the “parasites” (plural) “in Washington and Jerusalem” are: Jews/Jewish politicians!
            4. Your attempt to whitewash by claiming that you meant that ‘corrupt Washington politicians’ “have been bought by the “Government Of Israel” to subvert the will of American electorate and serve the interests of the ‘parasite Jewish State’ is equally an extreme psychotic form of anti-Semitism.

            Others will make up their own minds. I just laid out the evidence and will let you have the last word (as you always like to) before we move on to the next point – unless you are throwing in the towel and don’t want evidence rolled out re (a) your support for destroying the State Of Israel and (b) support for terrorism against Israelis.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yvette

            Wow! No logical link whatsoever between (b) and (c). Seems more like a projection or something in your own mind. Perhaps you think that about Jews, Ginger Eis?

            Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          Eis: You are engaging, yet again, in severe, deliberate, malicious distortion. It is tiresome and crazy. I have rarely if ever seen someone declare so flagrantly their personality problems. And please, whatever irrational, hateful, crazy feelings you have about Jewish females should be dealt with privately in the psychotherapist’s and psychopharmacologist’s consulting rooms. Not here.

          Reply to Comment
          • Merav

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phxRZXd6r9E

            (stop moaning, groaning and shouting, brian, no one hears you, because you are crazy. Richard told you before. Listen to Richard. My observation here is that Ginger (besides Richard) has always ignored you as if you don’t exist. That will usually make men like you go bonkers as is manifest in your numerous posts to her that she did not respond to. Time to go home, brian).

            Reply to Comment
          • There’s a lot of medications you can take to stop hearing the nonexistent “shouting”, “moaning and groaning (ugh)” that will not leave you completely catatonic and possibly a little more functional that your friends. How do you feel about experimental drugs?

            Reply to Comment
          • Merav

            I read above how you acquired the name: “Manic Marnie”. Manic means:

            1. (In psychiatry) relating to or affected by mania: ‘the manic interludes in depression’; ‘manic patients’;
            2. Showing wild, apparently deranged, excitement and energy: a manic grin;

            Pls. lady, take you manic attitude someone else, (brian maybe?), because I am not interested, not talking to you and don’t even want to. Gingi has you perfectly in her claws, really exposing who you are and you are not doing a good job of freeing yourself. Your responses show that you are digging yourself even deeper in the hole ….. oh dear …….

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            He’s certainly a one-trick pony with this incessant posting of a video link, Marnie. Only a person of borderline intellectual capacity and low sophistication could possibly think the joke has not worn too thin and petered out altogether. But if he thinks even for a minute that we are the ones shouting, not Eis (you see, it is interesting this technique the shouters have of telling you to “stop shouting”–it’s definitely a pattern) or that Eis “drives men like me crazy”–well, you know you’re dealing with a 14-year-old boy getting his kicks not a serious individual. Best to ignore.

            Reply to Comment
    8. andrew wirth

      The author is correct only if – and this is a big if- one’s narrative starts in 1948 and does not extend beyond the historic border of Palestine. If one pans back even sightly temporally or geographically the narrative becomes more complete – Kaufman is the one pulling a swifty.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Yeah, sure. I’m up against a psychopathic liar and her bitch, Merv. Sounds like fun.

      Reply to Comment
      • Baladi Akka 1948

        I’m sorry to intervene: I can’t stand Ginger or whatever her pen name is at the moment, but your endless private discussions with her are tiresome too.
        Nobody asked you to intervene in this thread. I wrote a comment, she reacted, and you apparently found it useful to intervene to start another personal ‘discussion’ with her. I’m sorry to say but maybe it doesn’t interest the rest of us who come here to read reflections/comments on the actual matter, and I’ve noticed that on many other threads too. Seems more like you should echange e-mails and take that discussion soemwhere else.

        Reply to Comment
        • You are absolutely correct. Please accept my apology.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Now you got it, finally. And pls. stop posting really sickening stuff like this here:

            “manic marnie
            “It’s very plain what Lehava is insecure about. They’re sick and tired of their jewish women running after forbidden fruit (Palestinian males), thus making them “insecure” and “afraid.” So the vagina of the jewish israeli woman belongs to the jewish state, not the jewish israeli woman (David Sheen). All because said jewish israeli males don’t know how to please their women. You’d be surprised how much jewish israeli women kvetch about their men. The things you hear in the ladies room. What better way is there to reassure the israeli jewish male about his performance than the next best thing – your M-16! You’ll get your shot off and kill the competition at the same time. You could see a licensed sex therapist, but that would make too much sense.”. http://972mag.com/far-right-group-to-idf-soldiers-if-you-feel-threatened-shoot-arab-in-head/98571/

            (there are many other posts of the same nature from you on this site. Pls. stop it. It is filthy, disgusting and really sickening!)

            Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          Baladi Akka that’s all well and good and an excellent reminder to all of us to keep it on topic and not bore others. I appreciate the intelligent comments you’ve made–you started something interesting with your coinage of “goyimmitude,” for example. It should be noted however, that the inane exchanges you rightly object to invariably get started by Eis with repetitive assaultive and slanderous interventions by a person obsessed with Marnie for evident pathological personal reasons. I’ve never seen Marnie do anything but, after much forbearance, finally give in to reacting to the severest provocations. And I do mean severe. For the record that’s how it starts. Be that as it is, we all need to do much better at simply ignoring these kinds of assaults and keep it professional. A good reminder.

          Reply to Comment
          • Thanks Brian. That was very kind.

            Reply to Comment
          • Merav

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phxRZXd6r9E

            Wrong, brian, you are clearly obsessed with Gingi and the fact that she has always ignored you drives you to groaning, moaning, shouting and ranting about her non-stop. Baladi Akka is correct and you are wrong. Look up thread and you will see who started it. Gingi always make powerful arguments, while you rant endlessly. Time to let go of your irrational obsession with Gingi, ok, little man?

            Reply to Comment
          • Baladi Akka 1948

            @ Brian
            I’ve been around on this blog for a very long time, as a reader first of all.
            I know Ginger Ale – under her various pen names – and I know there is absolutely NO way to expect somewhat close to an honest discussion with her.
            The fact is still that on this thread, she was not the one to start the ‘hostilities’, and on some of the earlier threads there are long echanges between the two that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic (and when I say topic I mean the Israel-Palestine topic at large).
            It takes two to tango, and if people could just stick to refuting Ginger’s basic Hasbara lies instead of going into personal fights with her.

            Reply to Comment
          • Baladi Akka 1948

            Ah, ‘exchanges’

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Baladi Akka, I and you had an “exchange” above and you weren’t even a match. Everyone can read that “exchange” and make up their own minds as to whether or not you are lying. Stop sounding sour. Its dishonorable.

            Reply to Comment
          • There’s no honor in our exchanges. You are far too proud of yourself, you don’t write “You and I” but put yourself first and write “I and you”. I don’t know, is that considered courtesy in your world? I’m through with cat fights, such a misogynistic term but that’s all we’ve done here. I want to leave you with something though. It may be what you need to help you remember who you so often, with great pride, claim to be. It’s a matanah and I believe a mitzvot, 2 for 1 deal. Crack open your bible and refresh yourself by studying and absorbing Proverbs 31. B’hatzlacha

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Ok thanks very much, Baladi. My experience is not as long as yours in any event. Sounds like a good plan and I intend to honor it. We all know that “don’t feed the trolls” is sound advice and this is a most excellent reminder. Yours is a voice of maturity everyone would do well to emulate.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            And Biladi, let’s be clear. There is a difference between going into personal fights with someone and trying to throw off a screeching crazy harridan who jumps out of a tree on top of you while you’re walking down the street. I have no idea who started what years ago and couldn’t care less, but in my blessedly brief sojourn in these parts what I’ve mostly seen is the screeching crazy harridan jumping out of a tree on unsuspecting passersby and then quickly disappearing when a crowd gathers.

            Reply to Comment
    10. Brian

      Bernard Avishai has a lot of good will and a lot of intelligence. (And is way more informed and way less prone to the liberal Zionist pablum that the blame rests equally on both sides than the likes of Roger Cohen.) He advances an argument for a confederal arrangement in Jerusalem that, as Avishai is envisioning it would not simply be a disguised form of Israeli domination. Chances of getting it to work are slim to none and will take uncharacteristic courage as Avishai says on the part of Israeli leaders. But its chances are absolute zero if more Palestinian land is taken for settlement. More Palestinian land is being taken for settlement, so, whatever. But Avishai is a pleasure to read:

      http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/escalation-jerusalem

      Reply to Comment
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