Saturday, August 02, 2008

Bernard Avishai's commentary on Olmert

Avishai's new book, The Hebrew Republic, is both visionary and analytically impressive.

Bernard Avishai Dot Com: My Breakfast At Ehud's: "'I have to say I could never bring myself to dislike the guy,' Ambassador Alvaro de Soto, the former UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, and (since his resignation) a harsh critic of many aspects of Olmert's performance, wrote me earlier today: 'He may have been a dismal commander-in-chief, but he articulated the depth of the challenge facing Israel with astonishing candor. When it becomes clear to all that Israel is becoming, in Tom Friedman's words, 'permanently pregnant with a stillborn Palestinian state in its belly,' people might recall that he told them so.'"

"OLMERT'S GREATEST FAILURE was his inability to stand up to generals in the cabinet room after soldiers were kidnapped on the northern border in the summer of 2006; generals with contingency plans, maps and reassurances. Political professional that he was, he was loathe to be thought outside the consensus established by military professionals--also by outdated Zionist institutions, American Jewish moguls, and a tabloid press. He told some journalists after the Lebanon war that this was his Bay of Pigs, implying that he had been ensnared by an inherited security establishment. He said he would need three years for people to forget the debacle and credit his peace moves. Alas, he is no Jack Kennedy."

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