According to New York Jewish Week, some in the pro-Israel movement are concerned about the prospect of George Mitchell as special envoy to make piece in Israel-Palestine (via the Arabist). Why? Because they are afraid he’s going to be too even-handed.
“Sen. Mitchell is fair. He’s been meticulously even-handed,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “But the fact is, American policy in the Middle East hasn’t been ‘even handed’ — it has been supportive of Israel when it felt Israel needed critical U.S. support.
“So I’m concerned,” Foxman continued. “I’m not sure the situation requires that kind of approach in the Middle East.”
Well too bad. I think pretty much everyone in the world would want a peace broker to be someone you can describe as “meticulously even-handed”, particularly in a situation as complicated as the one in the Levant. As far as I can tell, I think that Mitchell is a good choice. He has actually had success brokering a peace deal before, something that actually can’t be said of that many diplomats. He is of Lebanese descent, which could possibly give him some credibility in dealing with Arabs. Of course, I don’t have complete faith. Achieving peace will be far from easy. But if someone’s going to do it, I think that meticulous even-handedness is a good place from which to start.