In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 22, 2004 / 7 Tishrei, 5765

A monument to failure

By Jonathan Tobin

Dennis Ross wants yet another chance to repeat dead-end policies

https://www.jewishworldreview.com | Don't blame Dennis Ross for the Oslo peace accords. And don't blame him for the catastrophe that passed for American Middle East policy even though he helped direct it as the U.S. envoy to the Middle East from 1988-2000, a period stretching from the beginning of the first Bush administration to the dying days of the Bill Clinton era.

Ross and Arafat

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

Forces far more powerful and more rooted in the region bear the prime responsibility for these things than the mild-mannered American diplomat. No, don't blame Dennis Ross personally for the thousands of lives sacrificed in the name of the peace process that he championed. He didn't plant any of the bombs, and his good intentions are not really in question.

But the questions for those who delve into Ross' recently published memoir "The Missing Peace" — and even those who don't bother wading through its turgid 800 pages of prose — are the same: Did Ross learn anything from these failures? And what, if anything, would he do differently if he got another chance to play the game?

Given that he is an informal foreign-policy adviser to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, this is not an idle question. Many in the know assume Ross will be brought back to the State Department if Kerry wins the election. Unfortunately, the answer to the above is not a lot.

Sure, amidst the hundreds of pages of excruciating play-by-play of every up and down of the process during these years, there are a few nuggets of self-awareness.

In retrospect, Ross admits the cardinal sin of the Clinton administration's attitude toward the accords. He acknowledges that the White House and the State Department did nothing to hold Yasser Arafat and the rest of his merry band of Palestinian Authority henchmen accountable as they used their newfound power. Ross, the supposed arbiter of peace, sanctioned official whitewashes of the P.A. as it built a corrupt dictatorship intent on fomenting hatred of Israel and carrying on a terror war against its existence, rather than fostering peace.

And with the passage of time and the complete collapse of his carefully orchestrated negotiations into the horror of Arafat's blood-spattered intifada, Ross now sees Arafat as the prime obstacle to peace. In interviews and speeches conducted to promote the book, Ross is prepared to concede that Arafat will have to go before peace can arrive.

On this point, Ross' book advances the debate on the demise of Oslo. He refutes the claims put forward by Arafat and his apologists that the offer laid on the table by Israel during the July 2000 Camp David summit was of no value. Ross sets forward the extraordinary concessions made by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak that would have given the Palestinians a viable state with a capital in Jerusalem.

At least on this point, Ross is clear: Arafat rejected peace and statehood, and instead chose war. The peace was there to be had. The problem was, Arafat didn't want it.

And it is in this nugget of revelation that many of Ross' other conclusions about his 12 years of diplomacy fall apart.

Donate to JWR

Like many others who have urged more and more concessions from Israel, Ross claims that the conditions outlined by President Clinton, which embraced Barak's plan and added to it, remain the only possible terms of peace.

What he never explains is why Israel's acceptance of these ideas would end the war with the Palestinians. In fact, if there is any reasonable conclusion to be drawn from Ross' career, it is that the Palestinians are at least a generation away from accepting Israel's existence — and any hope of peace. That is why Ariel Sharon's government, with support from the current Bush administration, is unwilling to talk further with Arafat, and prefer instead to unilaterally draw their own borderline without the illusions of past peace deals to prevent them from defending themselves.

Although Ross cannot be blamed for Oslo (it was cooked up by Israeli leftist Yossi Beilin and his confederates, not by the Clinton State Department), he, along with Presidents Bush the elder and Clinton, does bear some responsibility for the Palestinian decision to choose terror over statehood.

Why? Because everything that Ross and his masters did during their years in power had convinced Arafat that they would never turn their backs on him, no matter what outrages the Palestinians committed.

No amount of violence or bad will exhibited by the Arabs would deter either Bush I or Clinton via their envoy Ross from pressuring Israel to give more and more. Sold a program of "land for peace," the Israelis got "land for terror" instead.

As it happens, Ross is using his book tour as a platform to make the point that the current Bush administration's decision to cut off Arafat — and its refusal to push negotiations until the Palestinians get their act together — is a mistake that has cost Israeli lives.

This blatant partisan dig isn't merely misleading and unfair. It also shows that four years on the sidelines appears to have sharpened Ross' appetite for power more than his powers of introspection. Ross resents Bush the younger's decision to reverse decades of State Department folly in the Middle East. For all of his hard work and unquestioned desire for peace, it was Ross who convinced the killers that they would face no penalties for their crimes.

George W. Bush and his team have made mistakes, but at least they understand that the policies pushed by the president's father and Clinton were dead-ends that help create the current impasse.

In the event that John Kerry is elected this November, he should think long and hard before he launches Ross back into yet another series of negotiations that can only end in false expectations for the Palestinians and more horror for Israel.

Ross may see his book as an apologia for a career and an argument for continuing it, but Democrats and Republicans alike should view it as a monument to failure.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

Jonathan Tobin Archives

© 2004, Jonathan Tobin