I'm proud to have worked with John Judis when I was coming up. Articles like this are why: rigorous, humane, and intolerant of intellectual laziness. It's not just that Judis argues that Obama should have backed a Palestinian state at the United Nations. It's the methodical, incontestable case he constructs, aimed at the heart of Zionist consistency:
I have heard some arguments for why the United States should not favor UN membership for Palestine, but they sound very much like arguments for why the United States should not favor a Palestinian state at all. Moreover, they are the sorts of arguments that easily could have been used in 1947 against UN support for a Jewish majority state.
The United States, it is said, should not assist Palestinians in gaining membership at the UN because some Palestinians still don’t recognize the right of Israel to exist. But guess what? In 1947, there were Zionists identified with the Revisionist movement (parts of which later came together to create Likud) who denied the right of Palestinians to a state. They wanted all of Palestine and even Jordan for a Jewish state; and some of them were willing to use terror and assassination to achieve their ends. And there are still many Israelis who deny the right of Palestinians to a state. That didn’t preclude our helping Palestine’s Jews achieve statehood through the UN, and it shouldn’t impede our helping the Palestinians.
Brave and bold, that's John.
I should say something else. Good for TNR and its new editor, Richard Just, for publishing this. I'm not going to open old wounds or relitigate an ugly incident that's long past. It's just a credit to the magazine that it lent its digital pages to Judis' argument, knowing full well what it means. That's in line with TNR's best traditions of intellectual honesty, the history that made me fall in love with the magazine way back when.