Suzanne Fields

Beinart focuses on the views of privileged Jews in America who are far from their origins. Few have heard relatives speak English with Yiddish accents. These young Jews, who grew up in comfortable suburbs, surrounded by luxury and ease, hold scant empathy for the Israeli settlers saving to add a room or two to their houses to accommodate expanding families.

The new generation is eager to blame Israel first, much as young liberals are eager to blame the United States for the tension and violence in the Middle East. They can't criticize the Palestinians for refusing the generous terms to settle their argument with Israel, offered a decade ago by President Clinton at Camp David, nor do they credit the Israelis for withdrawing from Gaza settlements at considerable sacrifice. When Hamas sent its thanks via deadly rockets, there was no outrage.

Jeffrey Goldberg describes in Atlantic magazine the absence of proportionality in popular blogger attacks on Israel: "The (leftist) rejectionist front facing down Israel has seen every Israeli pullback as a victory not for the principle of compromise, but a victory in their campaign to eradicate Israel."

Reality in the Middle East never remains static, and every generation must forge its response from both experience and history. Aaron David Miller, who was actively engaged in the "peace process" in both Bush administrations and the Clinton administration, now thinks the process should be on hold because big decisions require strong leaders, and there is no Anwar Sadat or Menachim Begin to seize opportunity today. U.S. power is real, but defying and mocking the United States takes no particular courage today. Barack Obama, ever ready with an apology to troublemakers, has already won his Peace Prize.

But hope is not dead. This week, lots of Americans -- young and old, Orthodox, Christian and secular, black, white and other -- celebrated with the Israelis the 62nd birthday of an independent Israel with parades and marching bands. As far as we know, Satan made no appearance, but a helluva good time was had by all.


Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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