Roger Cohen is the prominent former European reporter for the New York Times, now a columnist for the International Herald Tribune. He is the author of serious books including Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo. I saw him speak about the book at the old Hungry Mind Bookstore in St. Paul. My memory of the event is a bit hazy, but Cohen struck me an an ardent advocate of the Clinton doctrine promoting American military intervention for humanitarian purposes.
In his New York Times Magazine profile of Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Cohen shows himself still to be carrying the torch for Bill Clinton and full to the brim with malice toward Israel. When Cohen quotes “a Druze Knesset member” commenting that Livni “has nothing Clintonian about her,” it is to be taken as a criticism of her. In Cohen’s world, George Bush’s “with-us-or-against-us school in Washington” is the obstacle to perpetual peace between Israel and the Palestinian tribes including Hamas. Saeb Erekat says so.
Cohen’s malice can be discerned, for example, in his description of the West Bank as providing “a primer on colonialism” and in his description of Israel as “compromised by a 40-year occupation, its kibbutznik uniqueness compromised by a globalized commercial culture[.]” The article is full of such loathing, even self-loathing. But you have to crawl all the way to the penultimate paragraph of Cohen’s long cover story to find this:
I strolled through Rabin Square, which has all the beauty of Warsaw at the height of Communism. In one corner is a small shrine to Rabin at the spot where he was murdered on Nov. 4, 1995. An inscription says that here Yitzhak Rabin was murdered