Israeli PM Shamir didn't want to withdraw, either – he said it in 1988

An interesting blog post this week [August 25 ] by MJ Rosenberg on something that happened when he worked as “a foreign policy aide to Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI). One February day, Levin called me into his office to say that he was disturbed at a quote he saw in that day’s New York Times. An article quoted Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir saying that he rejected the idea of withdrawing from any of the land Israel captured in the 1967 war”… This blog post can be read in full here.

I highlighted the interesting points on Twitter:  @Marianhouk · NYTimes 1988: “Mr. Shamir said in a radio interview, ‘It is clear that this expression of territory for peace is not accepted by me’.”

MJ Rosenberg wrote, in his blog post, that:

“Levin instantly understood what Shamir was saying. He was repudiating U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which provided for “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent [1967] conflict” in exchange for peace and security. Those resolutions represented official U.S. and international policy then, and they still do.

But, in 1988, Shamir tried to declare them null and void.

Levin asked me to draft a letter to Secretary of State George Shultz stating that it was the view of the Senate that the U.N. Resolutions remained the policy of the U.S. whether Shamir liked it or not. Of course, the letter wasn’t written in that kind of language. It was more than polite. Additionally, Levin wanted it addressed to Shultz, not to Shamir, to avoid ruffling too many feathers in Israel”…

Rosenberg continued:

“In the meantime, Levin heard from President Ronald Reagan, who thanked him for organizing support for the administration’s position. Meanhile, Shamir began calling senators to express ‘astonishment’ that his policies had been criticized.

Then came a moment that was, for me, the most shocking experience I ever had during my years working for the United States government.

William Safire, the most influential New York Times columnist, phoned me in a rage. He told me that he knew for a fact that neither Levin nor I had drafted the letter. He said that he knew that the letter was written by an aide to the leader of the Labor Party opposition in Israel, Shimon Peres. He said that aide, one Yossi Beilin, had hand-delivered the text to me, and that I had convinced Levin to circulate it. He said that my goal was to unseat Shamir and replace him with Peres”.

@Marianhouk · Israel’s then-Amb to UN Benyamin Netanyahu was 1 of 2 who told N/YTimes William Safire that Yossi Beilin had really drafted Levin letter

@Marianhouk · But that was an overwrought paranoid invention [if not outright lie]; the letter had been drafted by @MJayRosenberg + finalized by Levin

@Marianhouk · Rosenberg told Safire that Levin sent the letter “to help Israel because he thought that if Israel ruled out territorial withdrawal, the conflict would never end”…

MJ (Mike) Rosenberg @MJayRosenberg · The Day The Top NY Times Columnist Threatened to “Get Me” For Criticizing Israel http://wp.me/p3JVyK-W via @wordpressdotcom

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