Ed Koch’s facts


In a letter to the editor, Ed Koch takes the New York Times to task for taking him to task for turning the New York 9th special election into a send-a-message-to-Obama-on-Israel moment.

Marc Tracy at Tablet wonders about the effectiveness of Koch’s strategy — wouldn’t the hawkish pro-Israel community be better served by a Democrat taking potshots at Obama next year than a Republican? — and he ponders whether Koch understands what land swaps involve.

Tracy, however, deems this passage the emboldened passage in the following part of Koch’s letter  "fair":*

The president’s demand that Israel negotiate with the Palestinian Authority — which is now governed by Hamas and Fatah — starting with the pre-1967 lines plus “swaps” effectively placed the onus for the lack of progress in negotiations on Israel.

President Obama should have demanded simultaneously that Hamas renounce terrorism before negotiations begin, and that Hamas amend its charter, which calls for the creation of an Islamic state in “Palestine” and the obliteration of Israel. Hamas must accept the legitimacy of the state of Israel, and pledge in any peace settlement that it will accept Israel as a Jewish state.

It’s not so fair.


The P.A. is not governed by Hamas by any measure. Reconciliation seems all but moribund.

More substantively, Obama in his speech imposed exactly the onuses Kochs seeks on the Palestinians:

For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.


Now, let me say this: Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel: How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist? And in the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. 

Palestinians will not "achieve peace" if Hamas "insists on terror." Palestinians must give Israel a "credible answer" about Hamas’ charter.

Both of Koch’s demands were met in the speech. The speech was more than a single sentence about 1967 lines. I was there, I shifted a lot in my seat, it went on for quite a while, I filled a lot of note paper, I have a lot of audio.

Ed, call, I’ll hook you up to the speakers, you can listen.

*Marc tweets that he did not deem the whole passage fair, which is fair enough.

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