Writing these posts, I often feel like the garrulous uncle remembering his formative years. Sorry, here I go again …
In the 1980s, there were fierce debates about U.S. policy in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Same as today. And the big word was “evenhandedness.” Were you evenhanded in the Arab-Israeli conflict? Evenhandedness was next to godliness.
And it dawned on me, sometime during my college years, that you couldn’t be evenhanded in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Here was why: One side was trying to destroy the other; the other side was trying to coexist with the other. If you were evenhanded between the two, you were in effect siding with the would-be destroyer.
Jones is trying to kill Smith. Smith just wants to live in peace with Jones, and everyone else. If you’re evenhanded between the two, aren’t you really advantaging Jones and shafting Smith?
It’s been a long while since I reflected on all this. But when Donald Trump said he would be “neutral” in the Arab-Israeli conflict, I remembered our old friend “evenhanded.”
Oh, yeah: “honest broker.” There was another one. When someone said we needed to be an “honest broker” in the conflict, you knew that Israel was going to get the shaft.
P.S. I had basically the same education as Barack Obama. We were taught to believe the same things. But I found Norman Podhoretz and his friends, and they led me from the Saidian morass. If only someone had given Obama a subscription to Commentary (or other journals)! If only he had had a little Lewis in his diet!