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Jeffrey Goldberg’s Qatari myopia

There’s something to be said for self-awareness, and where its absence can lead an individual. Thursday’s Bloomberg View featured an attack by columnist Jeffrey Goldberg against the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, which he described as “The Attention Starved Teen of the Middle East.” Nothing should insulate Qatar or any government from harsh criticism, but Goldberg’s argument is notable for deep myopia, hysteria and essential hypocrisy.

Goldberg’s piece takes aim at, among other things, the alleged dishonesty of Qatari foreign policy. Citing Qatar’s dual policy of good relations with Israel and funding of the Hamas-led administration of the Gaza Strip, Goldberg excoriates Haim Saban – an Israeli-American and another major funder of Brookings (along with the Qatari government itself) – for his public embrace of Qatari Prime Minister Hamid bin Jasim Al-Thani. Denouncing Qatar as “seeing nothing incongruous about maintaining open contacts with Israelis while funding an organization whose declared goal is killing Israelis,” Goldberg fails to grasp the distinction between preventing the economic collapse of the Gaza Strip and of funding terrorist attacks against Israel. Qatar explicitly falls into the former category. Saban, the Israeli government and the Israeli private sector are willing to talk to Qatar regardless of its relationship to Hamas, so why isn’t Goldberg?

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