Tuesday, December 07, 2004

 

Missing the point, just a bit

Matt Ygelesias is almost right about this.
News Flash

In a desperate bid to restore my liberal bona fides let me pronounce myself unshocked that a large proportion of IDF soldiers harbor anti-Arab views. It's almost as if they've been engaged in a prolong period of ruling over a disenfranchised Palestinian population while simultaneously congratulating themselves on being the armed force of a liberal democracy. Like all men were created equal but some are more equal than others. Admittedly, Israel had its reasons for commencing, and then continuing, this occupation of the West Bank, but it should be obvious to anyone that this isn't a viable way for a country that aspires to high principles to behave.
I say almost right, because, when I read the opening lines of this post, I expected him to go on to write, "It's almost as if they've been engaged in a prolonged period of ruling over an implacable enemy that has sworn never to recognize their right to exist at all, in any shape or form. Oh wait - they have!"

(Why the hell does Matt Yglesias have to restore liberal bona fides - aren't those simply assumed?)

I'm a lifelong supporter of Israel, which does not mean, of course, that I support every action Israel takes. I think the occupation, while necessary, is also incredibly damaging to Israel, both morally as well as strategically. It breeds greater opposition, ruins Israel's image abroad, and causes incalculable damage to Israel's soul. Which is not to say they can simply withdraw from all the territories seized in 1967. Israel's opponents fail to recognize - or, more likely, refuse to admit - that Israel seized those territories in a war for its survival - a war that still exists. Everyone always shrieks that Israel has to be willing to trade land for peace - never once pointing out that this means Israel's enemies must be willing to trade peace for land.

Until recently, nearly every Arab country had a simple response to that - never. Yes, the Arab League a few years ago hinted that it would be willing to trade recognition of Israel for a Palestinian State, and yes, Israel should be willing to do almost anything for peace. But the Palestinians themselves still use maps in their school showing all of Israel as part of Palestine. They still don't speak to their own people in Arabic about sharing the land. They refuse to do anything to prepare their people for the inevitable or to take steps against their maximalists. Israel has good reason to fear that the Palestinians will say right-sounding things but still harbor dreams of driving the Jews into the sea.

My only point is, Israel never wanted to occupy the territories simply to be an occupying force. That it has become a permanent occupier is a tragedy for both sides. I think it behooves Israel to consider how the tactical necessities of occupation have degraded Israel as a light unto the nations and to realize that the current situation cannot continue indefinitely. Withdrawing from Gaza, as essential as that is, won't solve anything if it encourages Israeli hard-liners to settle into the West Bank even more grimly.

I'm caught in the middle. On the one hand, I condemn what the occupation is doing to Israel, as well as what it is doing to the Palestinians. On the other hand, I am willing to cut Israel some slack because they are in an impossible position, surrounded, as they see it, by over 100 million potential Jew-hating murderers. The world sees them as concentration camp guards, while they see themselves as a tiny band of partisans in the woods hiding from the SS. The truth, of course, is a completely different thing, but that's hard to distinguish amidst all the heated rhetoric.

I will say, it's time for Israel to live up to its high principles. Judaism requires the Jews to do the right thing, not the expedient thing. The right thing for Israel to do is propose a generous peace with the Palestinians, give them something to aspire to, and hope for the best.
Comments:
Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit AmericanFlags.com right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

Semper Fi!

Bill Adams
 
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Comments: "
Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit AmericanFlags.com right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

Semper Fi!

Bill Adams
 
" Post a Comment

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