Saturday, January 2, 2010

Brilliant Overarching Essay on Israel and Some Comments

1. http://www.commentarymagazine.com/printarticle.cfm/the-deadly-price-of-pursuing-peace-15321

2. Rick:

Good article. While I agree with much of the despair over the current state of affairs, I think that articulating a new right as she suggests would be disastrous on multiple fronts. I agree with stating that peace may not be possible but for the real reasons - the inability/refusal to end violence. Also Israel's critics should be called out for the real driving force behind them which is the singling out of Israel for criticism on a standard not extended to the rest of the world.

3. Me:

Thanks for your brief comments.

I’d differ with a couple of your points.

It’s not, the argument goes, a new right. It’s a right that had been Israeli policy till 1993, if I’m remembering the article right. Oslo was the turning point. Why would it be disastrous for Israel to assert the legitimacy of its claims to the West Bank and East Jeruslam and not concede Judenrein in the West Bank? Why would it be disastrous for Israel to stop the unilateral withdrawals till there is a realistic prospect for peace?

Aren’t you begging the question when you say peace is impossible because of “the inability/refusal to end violence?” From where does that impossibility arise? Isn’t it because while Israel would make real peace yesterday, the Palestinians will not recognize it as a Jewish state, will not relinquish the right of return, will not renounce violence, and turn increasingly to an increasingly radicalized, irredentist Hamas? That’s what has to be said, isn’t it?

Moreover Gordon and other Israelis I hear from do not despair and if you read despair in her essay, you took something different from it than I did:

“...Finally, Israel must stop projecting a sense of panic, through both words and deeds, which merely emboldens its enemies. Israel has not only survived for 61 years despite the absence of peace; it has thrived. Its population has increased more than seven-fold; its per capita income has risen nine-fold; it has maintained a strong democracy in a region where democracy is otherwise unknown. And it can continue surviving and thriving without peace for as long as necessary....”

Look, Israel doing what it has done starting with Oslo, trying so hard for peace, making rejected offer after offer, unilaterally withdrawing, has led only to her facing a peak in world disapprobation, power vacuums which become grounds for terrorist action requiring taking the war to the asymmetric, civilian embedded fighters which begets Goldstone and even more censure. It cannot win to the course it is now on.

If I was an Israeli I’d have confidence in Netanyahu pragmatically threading his way these minefields.

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