Ok, a few more scattershot points. I bring up the Logan Act for the same reason — I think — Krauthammer brought it up. We have a Logan Act for a reason. It puts into law a fairly common sense observation that civilians should not be trying to conduct freelance foreign policy. I have to assume the Israelis don’t have a similar law, otherwise Beilin would be under arrest by now. But that doesn’t mean the principle is nullified. In other words, this sort of thing is such a bad idea we even make it illegal here. Just because it’s not illegal there doesn’t make it a good idea.
You say that this is nothing but a glorified press release. But that is not the way it was billed, the way it was framed, or the way it has been treated in the West. Again, I agree with you and Andrew that the Jane Fonda analogy probably goes too far, but just to beat it into the ground: Jane Fonda defended her trip to Vietnam as nothing more than private citizen’s fact-finding tour. But she knew and the Vietnamese knew, that it would be received as much more than that. Similarly, Beilin’s effort can be defended as nothing more than a glorified press release but that hardly means that was the intent or the effect.