Ha'aretz editor: Israel wants to be raped

David Landau tells Condoleezza Rice Israel needs more vigorous US intervention to resolve conflicts.

Ha'aretz editor David Landau told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at a recent private dinner that Israel "wants to be raped by the US" and needed more vigorous American intervention to resolve Middle East conflicts, according to a report in the New York Jewish Week. Landau made the remarks at a confidential gathering of Israeli guests at the home of US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones on September 10, the Jewish Week reported on its Web site Thursday. The paper said that Landau, who was seated next to Rice, reportedly referred to Israel as a "failed state" politically that needed a US-imposed settlement. It added that Landau reportedly "implored Rice to intervene, asserting that the Israeli government wanted 'to be raped' and that it would be like a 'wet dream' for him to see this happen." In response, Landau told the New York weekly that this description was "inaccurate" and "a perversion of what I said," and that he had expressed his views with "much more sophistication." But, he went on, "I did say that in general, Israel wants to be raped - I did use that word - by the US, and I myself have long felt Israel needed more vigorous US intervention in the affairs of the Middle East." He explained to the paper that each of the participants at the dinner spoke of Israel's challenges, and he chose to point out that since 1967, Israel had failed to resolve its territorial conflicts with the Palestinians. "I told [Rice] that it had always been my wet dream to address the secretary of state" on this critical issue, Landau told the Jewish Week. Rice was "fantastic" and "completely unfazed" by his comments, he said, and remained "urbane and diplomatic." Landau said he had no regrets about what he had said, and that he was later congratulated by several professors in the room who felt "I articulated what many Israelis feel." Other participants said Rice told the guests that the US had no intention of imposing a settlement on the Israelis and Palestinians. Channel 2's Arab affairs expert Ehud Ya'ari briefly reported the incident some weeks ago, but did not name Landau. Ya'ari called the incident "embarrassing."