Soros’s $8.5 billion buys a whole lot of words

MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP Just as rock stars and models often hope to parlay their success in one arena into possibly more glamorous careers on the silver screen, so do hyper-rich moguls often come to fancy themselves as policy experts whose undoubted sagacity in matters of business obligates them to dole out advice on matters of state. So it is that we find ourselves treated ...

602793_070406_soros_05.jpg
602793_070406_soros_05.jpg

MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP

Just as rock stars and models often hope to parlay their success in one arena into possibly more glamorous careers on the silver screen, so do hyper-rich moguls often come to fancy themselves as policy experts whose undoubted sagacity in matters of business obligates them to dole out advice on matters of state. So it is that we find ourselves treated to a 3,567-word critique of current U.S. policy toward Israel by George Soros in the latest New York Review of Books that could have been accomplished in three or four sentences:

The Bush administration is actively supporting the Israeli government in its refusal to recognize a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, which the US State Department considers a terrorist organization. This precludes any progress toward a peace settlement at a time when progress on the Palestinian problem could help avert a conflagration in the greater Middle East .... [The American Israel Public Affairs Committee] under its current leadership has clearly exceeded its mission, and far from guaranteeing Israel's existence, has endangered it .... It is up to the American Jewish community itself to rein in the organization that claims to represent it.

MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP

Just as rock stars and models often hope to parlay their success in one arena into possibly more glamorous careers on the silver screen, so do hyper-rich moguls often come to fancy themselves as policy experts whose undoubted sagacity in matters of business obligates them to dole out advice on matters of state. So it is that we find ourselves treated to a 3,567-word critique of current U.S. policy toward Israel by George Soros in the latest New York Review of Books that could have been accomplished in three or four sentences:

The Bush administration is actively supporting the Israeli government in its refusal to recognize a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, which the US State Department considers a terrorist organization. This precludes any progress toward a peace settlement at a time when progress on the Palestinian problem could help avert a conflagration in the greater Middle East …. [The American Israel Public Affairs Committee] under its current leadership has clearly exceeded its mission, and far from guaranteeing Israel’s existence, has endangered it …. It is up to the American Jewish community itself to rein in the organization that claims to represent it.

Soros’s sprawling essay is very much a lesson on what money can and cannot buy. Eloquence? Perhaps not. Originality? Not so much. But one thing’s for sure: Soros, who happens to be Jewish and happens to be worth a cool $8.5 billion, doesn’t have to worry that criticizing AIPAC and U.S. policy toward Israel will destroy his career.

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