ISRAEL’S ‘SACRIFICE’ DOESN’T CUT IT
New York City
Re “Spectacle at Annapolis” [Dec. 17]: Roane Carey makes a two-state solution sound possible if both sides make large sacrifices–Israel would have to remove several hundred thousand settlers from the West Bank, and the Palestinians would have to give up the right of return. In a situation like this, we cannot speak of justice–not for the thousands killed, the lives stunted by loss of education, health and income–but we must think of some kind of resemblance to justice, and the two-state solution without recognition of refugee rights does not cut it. The PLO–the only recognized representative of the Palestinian people–might cede the right of return, but it is an individual right and cannot legitimately be given away.
One can speak, as Carey does, of a parallel sacrifice by Israel of returning to the 1967 borders; but the land was stolen and returning it is no more a sacrifice than a thief makes a sacrifice when returning stolen jewels.
A two-state solution may no longer be possible, but for those who believe in it, a simple preliminary–a census of how many Palestinians would actually return and how many would accept compensation–has never even been officially proposed.
BLOW IT OUT YOUR PRIUS–OR NOT
Kudos to Alexander Cockburn [“Beat the Devil,” Dec. 17] for his exposé on the sham of recycling. It’s time the enviro-left faced up to the fact that the Priuses we drive will never recoup any “energy savings” that the car’s pollution in production causes. Or the sham of fluorescent bulbs with their vastly less “recyclable” thirty-plus parts (including mercury) compared with a humble incandescent’s roughly seven (and easily “recyclable”), and on to the string bags we righteously take to the co-op then fill full of plastic bags bulging with organic produce (from Mexico and beyond), or the endless packaging we haul home touting “natural” ingredients and health benefits then toss into the “recycling” bin mindlessly. The list goes on and on.
Nowhere in the environmental movement is there a coherent voice addressing the stark realization that none of these amenities of Western “civilization” (including our Starbucks latte, the morning newspaper, our iPods, MacBook Pros, stereos, tap-water filters made of plastic from Mississippi and so on, ad nauseam) are sustainable. Not a one. Yet only with that unpopular but critical realization will we finally come to a more intelligent dialogue about the likely fate of our battered, dying yet wonderful Earth, as the (bourgeois) well-meaning lefty environmentalists we claim to be.