Monday, September 26, 2011

Concessions & History

Gidon Levy is an extremist. He does not represent the majority of Israeli left wingers. However, he does raise two ideas in his latest op-ed in Haaretz which are far too common way of thinking within the Israeli left. Levy highlights the falsehoods that concessions will probably bring peace and that attachment to our history is a stumbling block in our maturation as a country.

Netanyahu was particularly persuasive when he explained that a Palestinian state would endanger Israel - narrow waist, just hundreds of meters from Israeli cities, thousands of rockets - one giant blah-blah that willfully ignores the possibility of peace.

Willfully ignores the possibility of peace? Concessions don't bring peace in this region, and if they do, it's temporary at best. Menachem Begin's peace with Egypt brought temporary quiet to Israel's southern border, but peace? Egypt's government continued to promote vicious anti-semitism and anti-Israel sentiments in their media, and we are seeing the full effect of this during the overthrow of Hosni Mumbarak. With the non-stop threats from Egypt that the peace treaty is not permanent and can be ended, the concessions we made bought us 30 years of quiet and that's it it seems (unless we include the US giving Egypt non-stop military aid to make their army a serious player in this region). Yitzchak Rabin's Oslo Accords brought suicide bombers into Tel Aviv. Ehud Barak's Camp David attempt brought us the 2nd Intifada and 1,000+ dead Israelis and 3,000+ dead Palestinians. Arik Sharon's Disengagement brought us a Hamas government and rockets on Ashkelon & Ashdod. Two states won't necessarily bring peace, especially if we listen to Hamas ("It can not abandon the path of jihad and resistance and its dedication to the martyrs with their blood and their sacrifice." - source) or Fatah ("If we say that we want to wipe Israel out... C'mon, it's too difficult. It's not [acceptable] policy to say so. Don't say these things to the world. Keep it to yourself." - source), the parties who rule, and will rule, Gaza and the West Bank. I have no problem with people promoting two states in hope that it will bring peace - but we need to be realistic. Deliberately keeping our heads in the sand has resulted in much bloodshed over our history - why continue with this self-imposed blindness?

Every decent Israeli must be ashamed of their prime minister, who stands before the world and tries to sell it the same old shopworn, even rotten goods that are long past their expiration date, expounding on ancient, irrelevant chapters of history

Ancient, irrelevant chapters of our history? Excuse me? Why are we here again? How can any decent Israeli not be horrified by what Levy is highlighting here - the secular Left's detachment from their Jewish identity. I've written about this before, and Arik Sharon's quote needs repeating:

And I for one, even then, never believed we would really be able to survive here if we were nothing more than Israelis. For our attachment to the land of Israel, our identity with it, comes through out Jewishness. I am a Jew, I thought then, as I think now. That does not mean I am a religious man. I am not. When it comes to practicing Judaism, there is much I do not know. But I do know for certain that above everything I am a Jew and only afterwards an Israeli and the rest.

I just hope that Arik's warning is 'heard' amongst the secular Left before it's too late.

This conflict isn't about land - it wasn't before '48, it wasn't after '48 or '67 and it's not that now. It's about something that has been an active part of the Jew's life in this region since ~600 CE:

The key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and in the wider Israeli-Arab dispute, is the issue that dare not speak its name, the pervasive and profound anti-Semitism that permeates the contemporary Islamic world, especially the Middle East.

This is the real barrier to peace, and people who are concerned with peace will try to ameliorate it.

It is analytically false, historically untrue and conceptually impossible that all this anti-Semitism has arisen from Israel’s sins, real and imagined.

Greg Sherdian

(h/t Gedaliah)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well written!