Settle Down, Settlers

Ah, the settlements. We're not sure how that particular word got chosen for massive housing tracts that more closely resemble Southern California suburbs (if those suburbs were, say, plunked down on land that technically belonged to someone else), but still, homes inhabited by Israelis that are built in the West Bank are referred to by a term usually used to denote pioneers, like Laura Ingalls Wilder or Davey Crockett. President Obama, following the Mitchell Plan of 2001 (which identified settlements as a flashpoint and advised an immediate freeze), has now drawn the ire of Abe Foxman and the Anti-Defemation League--the ADL coughed up money for a full-page ad in the New York Times to say so. The takeaway is this: "the problem isn't settlements, it's Arab rejection."

J Street, having none of it, published an open letter on August 4, retorting, "The problem isn’t just settlements, nor Arab rejection. And a lasting resolution to this decades old conflict - a goal which I know you and your organization supports - isn’t advanced by pointing fingers at either side."

And the ADL fired back with it's own open letter, to J Street, criticizing the "exaggerated emphasis on the settlement issue."

J Street's Isaac Luria sat down with us to discuss the settlements earlier this year. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HajW1sLvw9I]