With due respect to CNN’s Jake Tapper, who is one of the best and fairest journalists in the American media today, it was more than a bit odd to see him host a debate Monday evening between Israel critic Reza Aslan and Israel critic Peter Beinart, where Beinart was ostensibly there to represent the pro-Israel side of the argument.
Aslan said that Hamas would hope that the 72-hour ceasefire would lead to the end of the blockade of the Gaza Strip. (Of course it would. Hamas could also end that blockade itself, if it gave up trying to kill Israelis with materials imported from abroad.) Aslan also called for an international arms embargo against Israel (alone, of course) and celebrated what he claimed (falsely) was a decline of support for Israel among Americans.
As for Beinart, he continued his effort to use the war as a means to promote his diplomatic hobbyhorses, Beinart told Tapper that beyond the ceasefire, “I do think the underlying issues had to be addressed” and that Israelis “need to understand” Palestinian suffering–as if they do not. To his credit, Beinart` managed–just!–to oppose an arms embargo, but proposed that Israel release Palestinian murderer Marwan Barghouti.
Tapper has strained to maintain a sense of objectivity throughout this conflict, but has unfortunately tended at times to confuse the issue–for example noting the “lopsided” casualty numbers, as if mere numbers were at stake. Sadly, he lack of a voice representing the pro-Israel mainstream was acute in Monday’s discussion.