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Posted at 1:07 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Gen. Jones does it again

By Jennifer Rubin

The Herzliya conference made front-page news today in Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the core problem in the Middle East, and solving it will go a long way toward securing regional and even global peace, James Jones, US President Barack Obama's former national security adviser, said Monday.

...

"I'm of the belief that had God appeared in front of President Obama in 2009 and said if he could do one thing on the face of the planet, and one thing only, to make the world a better place and give people more hope and opportunity for the future, I would venture that it would have something to do with finding the two-state solution to the Middle East." Speaking to reporters after addressing the conference, Jones said Israel's dispute with the Palestinians was the "knot that is at the center of mass."

His remarks actually played worse among American attendees than with Israelis. A conservative couple from Texas told me, "People were aghast." And yet a TV reporter who has been in Israel 30 years told me, "We are used to people saying these things." True, the "Israel is the source of all woes" is a common theme for Israel's foes, but usually God is not invoked.

Nevertheless, to American ears at the conference the recitation of the mantra that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the region's central problem seemed decidedly off-key when Egypt is suffering an eruption, Tunisia has thrown off the shackles of its despot and Iran is on the offense in Lebanon, Gaza and elsewhere. It also puts Gen. David Petraeus's comments along the same lines in context. One suspects that the upper echelons of the military are steeped in the brew of "Israel is the key to the region's problems" conventional wisdom. In that regard, one is tempted to advise a great many generals and admirals to hush up and fight.

Moreover, Jones went on to suggest that what really frightens Iran is a Middle East peace deal. In fact such a deal is what Iran fears the most. This is linkage on steroids, in its most cartoonish incarnation.

This is bizarre, a reflection not of current Obama administration thinking that has attempted to back-burner the peace talks but of the abysmal judgment shown by Obama in ever placing Jones in a top security role.

A State Department spokesman declined to comment on the speech. Jones did make clear he was talking as a private citizen. For that we can be thankful. Unfortunately, in its fumbling, bumbling handling of Egypt that has managed to confound nearly everyone, the Obama team has not demonstrated that there is any current official able to navigate choppy Middle East waters.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 8, 2011; 1:07 PM ET
Categories:  Israel  
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Comments

Not quite sure here - I thought official Iraeli policy was favoring a home for the Palestinians. Is it just not Likud policy?

Posted by: jiji1 | February 8, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"I'm of the belief that had God appeared in front of President Obama in 2009," Obama would have said: "Who are you? I'm in charge here now."

Posted by: garyfrank1 | February 8, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Jones is right for a change- God did appear in front of Obama. God appears every single time Obama looks into a mirror.

Posted by: Lumiere1 | February 8, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm really confused by this column. Is Jennifer insinuating that Jones had sinister motives because he discussed the Israeli/Palestinian issue and its importance for the region, rather than more recent events?

Is solving the Israeli-Palestinian issue not a big concern? Hasn't this been an important issue for both Republican and Democratic Administrations over the past fifteen or so years?

I think Jones' language was a little over the top, but I don't honestly see why Jennifer or her anonymous sources are reacting in the way they are.

Posted by: mustangs79 | February 8, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Actually this remark by General Jones goes a long way towards explaining exactly why the Obama adminstration has screwed up American foreign policy in the Middle East.
Obama has focussed his Middle East policy on the most irrelevant and trivial issue in the region, the Palestinian Israeli negotiations. Thus he and his foreign policy team have failed to even see the Tunisian and Egyptian tsunamis coming, much less deal with them effectively.
So long as this mind set continues, Obama's policies will continue to fail.

Posted by: Beniyyar | February 8, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Isn't General Jones an adherent of the Dean Acheson school of foreign policy?

Posted by: aardunza | February 8, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Thank you General Jones! Now that he does not have any official function, and has completed his career with nothing to fear from the backlash, he can finally tell the truth.

Jennifer Rubin is a Zionist.

And Zionism is racism and unending war.

Perhaps you think this harsh. Then consider:

No two state solution; foreclosed by forty some years of illegal annexations and colonization on the West Bank.

No one state solution; a state unitary democratic and non-sectarian confronts the Zionist sine qua non of absolute political sovereignty based upon a religion.

No enduring Apartheid solution; the whole world rejected this in South Africa and beyond the US, will again here.

Time is up. Its too late.

Posted by: tarquinis1 | February 8, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"His remarks actually played worse among American attendees than with Israelis. A conservative couple from Texas told me, "People were aghast."

OMG, he didn't offend the conservative couple from Texas did he? Were other Americans taken to the hospital?

After all, it's not like he knows anything about the Middle East. It's not like Secretary of State Rice in a Republican administration asked him to be Deputy Secretary of State (which he declined). It's not like he served as a Special Envoy for Middle East Security, during the Bush administration either, because THEN we might have to give his words some weight.

It's not like the two state solution is the official policy of the PM Netanyahu, which he has expressed as:

"In my vision of peace," he said, "in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect, each with its own flag and national anthem.".

My God, who is turning our experienced generals into Manchurain Candidates?

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 8, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"This is bizarre, a reflection not of current Obama administration thinking that has attempted to back-burner the peace talks but of the abysmal judgment shown by Obama in ever placing Jones in a top security role."


. . . and the earlier judgement of President Bush, who apparently wanted him to occupy an even bigger post!

Jennifer, don't you ever get tired of embrassing yourself with details of which you are unaware, history you don't know, policy positions which are wildly inconsistent (being charitable) facts which, quite frankly, you make up, and disagreements with people who have extensive experience in areas where you have none whatsoever?

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 8, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

beniy wrote:

"Obama has focussed his Middle East policy on the most irrelevant and trivial issue in the region, the Palestinian Israeli negotiations."

That may be the first ever reference to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as "irrelevant and trivial".

Congratulations!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 8, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

johnmarshall5446 wrote:

"That may be the first ever reference to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as "irrelevant and trivial".

Congratulations!"

Nicely put John. Beniy never fails to step into his own rhetorical traps.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 8, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Beniyyar,

"Thus he and his foreign policy team have failed to even see the Tunisian and Egyptian tsunamis coming, much less deal with them effectively."

Who did see the Tunisian and Egyptian tsunamis coming Beni?

"So long as this mind set continues, Obama's policies will continue to fail."

As opposed to what, Bush's catastrophic successes?

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 8, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"One suspects that the upper echelons of the military are steeped in the brew of "Israel is the key to the region's problems" conventional wisdom. In that regard, one is tempted to advise a great many generals and admirals to hush up and fight."

Isn't this statement an example of an extraordinary conceit and hubris?

How dare these generals and admirals, who have been away from their families and along with their soldiers, been fighting America's enemies for all the years of their professional lives, question the judgement of a labor lawyer from California, and self-appointed guardian of the interests of Israel.

Please note that she herself has never deigned to battle any of those enemies which she wants the military to "hush up and fight", but only that they should do her bidding and shed blood quietly without giving their annoying opinions.

Of all the comments you have made in the time you have had this column Jennifer this is the most despicable, and the one for which you owe every American general and admiral a humble apology.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 8, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 8, 2011 8:37 PM

Please note that she herself has never deigned to battle any of those enemies which she wants the military to "hush up and fight", but only that they should do her bidding and shed blood quietly without giving their annoying opinions.

-------------------------

Please note that many of those she demands should "hush up and fight" will doe because of our Israeli centric foreign policy.

Please note that according to Wikileaks, Condi Rice admitted that troops were being placed in Iraq to protect Israel, the same troops that Jennifer wants to hush up and fight".

I wonder why Jennifer hates the troops so much. Surely that's the question she would be posing if her "hush up and fight" statement were made by a Democrat.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 8, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Shingo1, johnmarshall5446, and Gen. Jones all seem to suffer from the same delusion, that because the Israeli Palestinian negotiations get lots of media attention ergo, they must be of world shaking importance and deeply influencing the entire Middle East.
I would think that after almost three weeks of uproar in Egypt that particular delusion would finally be put to rest.
The non democratic Arab countries of the Middle East all suffer from the same problems, none of which even slightly relate to Israelis and Palestinians.
The real problems of the Arab Middle East are bitter and continuing poverty and malnutrition among the majority of the Arabs, lack of education, decent medical care, and hopelessly extreme unemployment among populations in which 60% of the citizens are under 25 and not working. Another serious and perhaps existential problem facing all the Middle East is the deathly serious lack of potable water.
Yet with an almost hysterical nonchalance,
Shingo1, johnmarshall5446, and Gen. Jones, all entirely ignore these real, immediate, and perhaps even causus belli problems and spout pious and sanctimonious nonsense about the deadlocked Israel and Palestinian negotiations.
And yes, George Bush did a much finer and more professional job dealing with the Middle East. He discovered to his dismay that the Palestinians were simply lying to him directly about their intentions towards peace and exploiting his diplomatic good faith in trying to offer assistance to them. He then wisely cut them off from any further American diplomatic help and told them that when they were serious(and honest) he might talk to them.
Unfortunately President Obama much like Shingo1, johnmarshall5446, and Gen. Jones are still trying to draw water from that empty Palestinian well.
All I can do is congratulate them on their incredible ignorance and naivete.
The Israeli Palestinian issue is a non starter, the time has come to address the real problems of the Arab Middle East.

Posted by: Beniyyar | February 9, 2011 5:05 AM | Report abuse

Beniyyar ,

Your post is so incoherent it's almost impossible to read.

Gen. Jones isn't gettign hsi informatino from watching television. As the Wikileaks cables reveals, he told Abba that he is losing ten men every month becasue fo the IP conflict.

"I would think that after almost three weeks of uproar in Egypt that particular delusion would finally be put to rest."

On the contrary, the Egyptian struggle has brought the Israeli issue to the fore. Israel has been insperable from the reports and every talking head on cable news can't stop talking about Israel. Same goes for the State Department.

In fact, a Wikileaks cable released thsi week shows that Suleiman is an Israeli puppet.

"The non democratic Arab countries of the Middle East all suffer from the same problems, none of which even slightly relate to Israelis and Palestinians."

It's true that noe all heir problems are related to the IP conflict, but the fact that they are dicattorships has a great deal to do with Israel, as we have seen with Egypt. While the world is suporting democracy, Israel and the other dictators stand alone in opposing democracy.

The issues of poverty, malnutrition, education, medical care, and unemployment can all be traced back to the fact that these dictators are obscenely corrupt and derelict in their duty of running theircountry.

You can complain all you like about the situation in the Middle Easy, but the mess in Iraq, Afghansitan, Iran, Egypt and Lebanon is all George Bush's legacy. When he left office, Iran weer more powerful thanever, so were Hezbollah and Hamas.

A very fine and more professional job dealing with the Middle East woudln't you say?

How on earth you can calim that the Palestinians were lying to him, when the Palestinian Papers reveal thateh liars were Olmert and Israel.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 9, 2011 7:23 AM | Report abuse

"hush up and fight.." with the goyim cholerya's babies, right?

The right should never have let the neocons in. This country has sufered the worst for it.

Jones is not
blaming Israel". He's saying that it's to the benefit of the U.S. for a peace deal. You know, looking after U.S. interests for a change.

Posted by: mfray | February 9, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

beniyyar: well stated.

I am not sure why Ms. Rubin is so surprised that Gen Jim Jones would still be repeating his personal belief that the core problem is Israel-Palestine 'conflict' (it is more than a conflict). Is that not what the Herzliya Conference knew he would say when they invited him to speak.

Face it, the Obami can not do anything about Arab state problems, food inflation, human rights, so they zero in on apartments in Jerusalem instead of trying to change any of the external factors (absence of a credible palestinian government or the Jew-hatred in textbooks and state media) that use Israel as a distraction.

The only solution is for the Jews of Israel to leave a 'bad neighborhood' and let the Sunnis kill the Shi'a (after they both kill all the Christians) until the Muslim Arabs have no one left to blame except the Kurds. Then the world can sit by and watch the extermination of the Kurds of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria.

Posted by: K2K2 | February 9, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The Palestinians don't have a partner in the peace process. They live in a very dangerous neighborhood since the Zionists moved in and they don't have the clout that settlers from Brooklyn can muster back home. And the gun laws there would make any reasonable NRA member get out his UZI and demand his Second Amendment Rights (only foriegn settlers, I mean Israeli Jews can buy fire arms) How can there ever be peace when one side has to sneak around with kitchen made weapons and the other has atomic bombs, apache helicopters and enough prisons to house evry Arab unfortunate enough to have been born in the region's only functioning democracy. It's enough to sour you on democracy, unless you are a settler or an Evangelical in town hoping to be a first hand witness to the Rapture.

Posted by: lastrebelstanding | February 11, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

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