1. Will the Real Doves Please Stand Up?
Denis Jeambar, writing in L’Express (see also Item 4 below), takes Europeans to task for their relentless animosity to Ariel Sharon. No action of his, including destroying his own ruling coalition to pursue withdrawal from Gaza, is greeted by anything but suspicion and derision. Jeambar excoriates the Europeans for their pretensions of dovishness, all the while they ignore any gestures by Sharon, thus encouraging the least dovish of Palestinians to continue their attacks, and the least dovish of Israelis to exploit European antisemitism as another convenient rationale for keeping the territories. But this is not particular to Sharon. Europe ignored Ehud Barak’s offers as well, while giving Arafat a pass as he torpedoed Camp David.
Of course, Sharon’s own allies have been giving mixed messages for the last few months. The Prime Minister’s former bureau chief Dov Weisglass couldn’t have been clearer: “The disengagement supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.” The Palestinians certainly reacted as if they believe this. So did Labour MK Ephraim Sneh, who predicted, “… our death grip on 2.5 million Palestinians…in the West Bank will turn into a perpetual one.”
But Sharon’s other proxy, Ehud Olmert, has continued to focus on the need to end the West Bank occupation and pull back settlements because of the “demographic problem”: the Palestinian vs. Jewish birthrates. Sharon now appears to agree. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine that the momentum generated by the Gaza pullout could possibly be brought to a halt in the West Bank: not just because “the world” would oppose it, but because most Israelis would. That’s why the settlers are desperately calling for civil disobedience.
With the passing of Yasir Arafat, the single major obstacle to a political process is gone.
So if former Nazi agent Anwar Sadat could make peace, why not, lehavdil, Ariel Sharon? And if the Europeans would encourage these moves, instead of posturing, they might actually make a positive contribution to Middle East peace. Will the real doves please stand up?
2. Will the real Zionist peace camp please wake up?
During the campaign of Amram Mitzna, I took the Zionist peace camp to task. Here is what I wrote on the LZA web page in December 2002:
“What will we do now? Will we put aside our differences and support the program of an Israeli leader with a concrete plan for peace? Or will we treat him as we did his Labor predecessor?…
“We left no stone unturned in analyzing Ehud Barak’s political errors. Let’s analyze our own. What purpose was served by those clever post mortems? Finding the truth? But if the truth was that no offer at Camp David would have satisfied Yasir Arafat, that he was not there to negotiate at all, then despite the disclaimers, all that was accomplished was to let Arafat off the hook.
“This is the dark side of tikkun olam. We are obliged to try to better the world. But when we fail, it isn’t necessarily our fault. That is the historical mindset of Galut Jewry, terrified of facing its own weakness: if only we had done this or that a little differently, we could have changed the outcome. If only the rape victim had dressed less provocatively.
“Ehud Barak was betrayed at Camp David not only by his coalition partners, but also by those in the Zionist peace camp who couldn’t confront the likelihood that no offer would have sufficed.”
As the number of books analyzing Camp David continues to grow, it’s deja vu all over again. Our allies in the Zionist peace camp are so busy attacking the nonsensical formulation of the Jewish Right that “Barak offered the world and Arafat just said No” that they are losing sight of the glaring moral inequivalence between inartfulness and intransigence. Sometimes they forget to mention who it was that actually started this war. This plays nicely into the hands of the amnesiac Europeans, who can’t remember Barak’s name, and it signals future Israeli leaders how they will be treated if their peace-seeking efforts fail.
With all due respect to the reminiscences of the various authors (who contradict each other) I am unable to forget the daily news reports during Camp David 2000: Barak proposing the return of over 90 % of the West Bank, and even floating the trading of land within pre-1967 Israel; Arafat claiming that there never was a Jewish presence in Jerusalem, that he was “negotiating for a billion Muslims,”and more.
As George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” And as Chico Marx said to the guy who caught him in bed with his wife, “Who you gonna believe? Me or the evidence of your eyes?”
3. Cut Bait
The mindset of Galut Jewry is not restricted to our allies in the Zionist peace camp. There are few sights more repellent than that of Jews wheedling their enemies. But that is precisely what we have been witnessing as Jewish leaders attempt to “dialogue” with the Presbyterian Church about its decision to disinvest in Israel. Enough already. The so-called liberal Protestant churches have time and again shown themselves for what they are, from their rooting for the Arabs to win the Six-Day War to their current one-sided view of the Middle East conflict. There is no way to convince people who see only black and white, Jewish oppressors and Palestinian victims, that the world has shades of gray. Jewish-Presbyterian dialogues should be stopped, right now. Presbyterians have a Jewish problem; Presbyterians have to solve it. And that goes for other Protestants whose ?antiracist’ ideology is racism itself.
4. French Update
The Jews: A recent issue of the French weekly L’Express had not one, but three articles on antisemitism. They’ve come a long way from two years ago, when they were rationalizing Muslim violence against Jews as a class issue. And they’ve also come a long way in their analysis, focusing on the antisemitism of the ?antiracist’ French Left. One may hope that this change of heart and mind will permeate the consciousness of the French people, so that violence against Jews receives more than a token jail sentence, so that Jewish children can feel safe in French schools, so that criticism of Israel returns to the bounds of human decency. French Jewish leaders scored Ariel Sharon for characterizing their situation as “the wildest antisemitism.” Let us pray they are right.
The Muslims: Soumaya, the sister of a friend of ours, lives in Paris. She is an attractive modern young woman, and dresses as most do today. Getting off the Metro recently , she was accosted by a band of Muslim men yelling “Salle Juive!”: “Dirty Jew!” She got away from them, and in recounting the story to us, related how glad she was that they mistook her for a Jew. Had they realized she was a modern Muslim, her fate would likely have been much worse. It is for the sake of the Muslims like her, as well as for the Jews, and for the integrity of France itself, that the French government has begun a serious crackdown on Islamic fundamentalism. Puzzled by France’s ban on religious garb in schools? Think of gang colors. Think of Soumaya.