History before it began repeating itself

This essay on the Camp David Accords, based on books by Zbigniew Brezinski, President Carter's national security adviser and his chief aide William Quandt, shows that more than a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was on the table. The Administration was set on a peace deal with the Palestinians as well. Here we learn how and why that didn't work out.It is instructive to read the whole thing; the author concludes with this assessment: "To recall this history is to recognize that so long as the Israel lobby is more powerful than the justice lobby, the United States is constitutionally incapable of being an honest broker in the Middle East. This unpalatable fact has asserted itself repeatedly, with Carter, Brzezinski and Vance, with George H.W. Bush and James Baker, and with Presidents Clinton and Obama. If a trend can be observed, it is that the United States has become even less able to stand up to Israel with each passing decade. And yet, looked at from a different perspective, the situation seems as fluid and subject to human agency as ever."

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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