Israeli Columnist Akiva Eldar on Israel Lobby, Nuclear Weapons and Iran

Akiva Eldar, chief political columnist for the Israeli daily “Ha’aretz,” calls for a nuclear-free Middle East and questions whether the Israeli lobby in Washington is contributing to the security of Israel…

AMY GOODMAN:

I interviewed Akiva Eldar last month and asked him how the so-called “Israel lobby" in the United States is perceived in Israel.

AKIVA ELDAR: They are a very important instrument in order to pursue Israel’s policy, but I’m afraid that they’re a little bit behind the Israeli government and the Israeli people. We are in a different mode, which I think takes time for the American Jewish organizations to digest, the fact that we don’t want to keep those territories. And probably the Israeli propaganda was so efficient that it’s very hard now to change the mode and to convince them that it’s a different era now. It’s a different government. We have seventy out of 120 members of the Knesset who support a two-state solution based on the ’67 lines.

And, you know, if for forty years, you tell the Jewish community that Israel cannot afford to give up the territories, they are important for Israel’s security, just overnight to tell, “Sorry, we were wrong. Now, we don’t need those territories,” …

AMY GOODMAN: Why do you think the — would you say that the Israel lobby is more powerful?

AKIVA ELDAR: Because they’re more committed. I think that they are very committed to the — Israel’s security and well-being of the Israelis, and they are motivated to work and to invest.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think they’re making Israel more secure?

AKIVA ELDAR: No. I think that they have good intentions, but you know sometimes where good intentions are taking people…

AMY GOODMAN: What do you make of the Arab League renewing their peace offer, full peace for full withdrawal? Israel rejected it the first time. What about now?

AKIVA ELDAR: You know, in November, we are going to celebrate ninety years of the Balfour Declaration, which was the first most important document offering a Jewish state to the Jewish people, a state in Israel. I think that the Arab League declaration ninety years later is closing the circle that started, because the Balfour war — the Balfour Declaration started actually another round of violence, because the Arabs didn’t — were not willing to accept the idea of a Jewish state. Ninety years later, the Arabs are completing what Balfour started. And I think that this is the best news that we had in ninety years. And I think it is not only stupid, I think it is criminal to miss this opportunity. And I hope that the generations who will come will not regret this.

Israeli Columnist Akiva Eldar on Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East, Iran, Military Censorship in Israel and the Influence of the Israel Lobby in the United States (Democracy Now!)

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