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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

# Posted 5:26 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

KRISTOF OFF THE DEEP END: I often disagree with Nick Kristof but generally think of him as someone whose arguments are worth hearing. Then he comes up with something like this:
Our embrace of Mr. Sharon hobbles us in Iraq even more than those photos from Abu Ghraib.
Kristof is probably right that "Iraqis (in contrast with, say, Kuwaitis) genuinely sympathize with the Palestinians." But does American support for yet another Israeli prime minister in anyway compare to the rampant abuse and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners, most of whom were never charged with crimes?

Kristof's fundamental problem is that he demonizes Sharon and Bush while whitewashing their predecessors. According to Kristof, the Israeli's wall around the West Bank is no different from the East Germans wall around West Berlin. Yet if memory serves, very few West Germans strapped dynamite to themselves before riding East German buses. With regard to Bush, Kristof writes that
American presidents have always tried to be honest brokers in the Middle East. Truman, Johnson and Reagan were a bit more pro-Israeli, while Eisenhower, Carter and George H. W. Bush were a bit cooler, but all aimed for balance.
Wow. That sounds like revisionist history from the National Review. Reagan and Bush I as "balanced"? If the people of Iraq agreed with that assessment, they might, just might consider Abu Ghraib to be the lesser of Bush's evils.

Anyhow, I haven't gotten to the actual point of Kristof's column, which is that John Kerry's position on Israel is no less extreme than that of George W. Bush. On that point I agree with Mr. Kristof, and am glad that the Senator from Massachusetts has displayed a modicum of common sense.
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