Saturday, April 28, 2018

Abandoning the Jewish state - by David M. Weinberg

An ideologically bankrupt A.B. Yehoshua wants to replace the Jewish state with an Israeli-Palestinian federation of some sort. This is the inevitable end result of a long process of loss of Jewish-Zionist identity and demoralization that began with the Oslo Accords and willy-nilly leads to Yehoshua’s Yom Haatzmaut funeral oration for the Jewish state. Having despaired of the “two-state solution,” Yehoshua is now dumping the idea of Israel all-together. Ugh!

Author A.B. Yehoshua
David M. Weinberg..
A Citadel Defending Zion..
27 April '18..

While Israelis and Jews worldwide were celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Jewish state, author A.B. Yehoshua and Israeli newspaper Haaretz were busy burying it.

While sane people were recommitting themselves to Israel's bright future, extremists on the hard Left of the so-called "peace camp" – radically demoralized and ideologically impoverished – were pushing for Israel's demise.

I'm referring to an essay published last week, specifically on Israel's 70th Independence Day, by one of the progressive Left's deities – novelist, playwright, Israel Prize laureate and peace activist A.B. Yehoshua. His 7,000-word broadside, trumpeted on the front page of Haaretz, lays out a plan for the end of the Jewish state.

His plan is to replace Israel as we know it with a binational state, an Israeli-Palestinian federation of some sort.

The details of Yehoshua's plan – dark and unrealistic as it is – are not important. What is important and scary is that his motivation is not Jewish nationalism or identity but what he calls "humanity."

It goes like this: Yehoshua begins by admitting that the two-state solution is apparently and almost certainly dead. "It is time to say goodbye" to this dream, reads the headline of his article.

"It is no longer possible to divide the land of Israel into two separate sovereign states. Similarly, the possible partition of Jerusalem into two separate capitals with an international border between them is becoming increasingly untenable," he writes.

"The entire peace camp had hoped that the international community would exert economic and diplomatic pressure on both sides, to force them to find the way to a historic compromise."

"But that vision is no longer viable in practice," he admits. Which leaves him and his camp mired in what he describes as "weariness and fatalism."

He concludes that it is no longer possible to defend a Jewish state in the historic land of Israel. It can no longer be his paramount concern. "It is not [Israel's] Jewish and Zionist identity that I fear for but something more important: our humanity and the humanity of the Palestinians in our midst," he writes.

And this overriding concern for "humanity" requires abandonment of the dream of independent Jewish sovereignty in Israel and the underpinnings of the entire modern Zionist movement.

There is no choice but to "stop the apartheid process in principle" and to unilaterally decamp into some form of "de facto binational partnership."

I won't exhaust or disgust readers of this column with additional details of Yehoshua's defeatist manifesto, but what does require attention is the trajectory that led to this nadir – a path of deception and ideological bankruptcy running from the Oslo Accords to Yehoshua's Independence Day eulogy for the Jewish state.

Let's consider the historical record of arguments employed by the hard Left over the past three decades to advance the "two-state solution," and then when having despaired of it, to dump the idea of Israel altogether.

Back in the 1980s, the radical Left told us that peace would become a possibility only if Israel agrees to talk directly to the PLO, despite the organization's horrifying terrorist record. Then we were informed that peace would only be achieved if Israel allows the establishment of the first self-governing authority in Palestinian history, in Gaza and Jericho.

Many Israelis said fine, we've had enough of the conflict; we will live with this for the sake of peace; a Jewish state alongside pockets of Palestinian autonomy.

But then we were told by Shimon Peres that the Palestinian Authority could sustain itself only if Yasser Arafat got himself a police force equipped with military gear and tens of thousands of rifles. It was further explained to us that only if we turn a blind eye to Palestinian human rights abuses and virulent anti-Semitic propaganda could the peace process continue. So we reluctantly swallowed back the bile and said fine, we will somehow manage this.

Next, it was imperative to give Arafat more land in Judea and Samaria. Only if Israel gives him more territory could he "solidify his regime," we were told. So Israel signed the Oslo II accord, and then the Wye River Memorandum, which put 98% of the Palestinian population of the territories under Arafat's control, along with about 45% of the land and some important water resources.

But that wasn't enough. The peace process will only prevail if Palestinian prisoners are released, we were told by many "peace activists" (specifically including A.B. Yehoshua, as I recall). So Israel began freeing Palestinian security offenders "without blood on their hands," and ended up freeing many terrorists whose hands were significantly smeared with Jewish blood. Israelis then suffered more than two years of terrorist violence and suicide bombings before launching Operation Defensive Shield and beginning to build the security fence.

But the Left's "only if" syndrome still held sway. Only if Israel conceded a full-fledged state to the Palestinians was there a chance for peace. So at Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, and Jerusalem in 2008, Israeli leaders presented offers of statehood that would have given the Palestinians virtually all of the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. But the PA rejected these offers, arguing that they would only continue negotiating with us if we offer them 100% of everything they were demanding, including the so-called "right of return."

In 2012, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sought to turn the established framework for peace upside down; to get his statehood "declared" by the international community without having to compromise with Israel; to claim the end result of the peace process without having to engage in any process.

Rewarding Abbas' intransigence and belligerence, the glorious U.N. "recognized" the virtual PA state, against Israel's objections. And how did Yehoshua and friends respond? They called on Israel to embrace this recognition and withdraw unilaterally from the territories.

Then they launched a new argument – the "demographic and democratic" argument. Conceding that Israeli territorial withdrawals wouldn't necessarily lead to peace, they began arguing that divesting of the territories was necessary nevertheless to ensure Israel's Jewish majority.

Having now despaired of a two-state solution to the Israeli -Palestinian conflict and having realized that substantial Israeli unilateral withdrawals are unlikely (for very good reasons, in my view) – the hard Left is now throwing in the towel.

The movement that pretends to be deeply concerned for Israel's Jewish character can no longer support independent Jewish statehood if the Palestinians can't obtain full national rights, too. That's the bottom line of Yehoshua's essay.

This ideological denouement is as striking as it is sad. There always was a tension between the Jewish and democratic principles underlying the drive for Israel, going back to the writings of the early Zionist ideologues and the diplomatic positions of David Ben-Gurion.

But the historic Jewish claim to independent Jewish statehood in Israel always won out, whatever degree of impingement on Arab/Palestinian rights this entailed. After all, the Arabs have quite a few other territories across the Middle East.

But unfortunately for Yehoshua and his ilk, this calculus no longer holds. For them, there is now something more important than Jewish statehood: "our humanity and the humanity of the Palestinians in our midst," which leads to Yehoshua's call for a one-state confederated "solution" – meaning the dissolution of Israel.

This is the inevitable culmination of the protracted process in which the hard Left lost its Jewish-Zionist identity – an identity that has been overwhelmed by fealty to ephemeral "humanity" and extremist liberal principles that apply nowhere else and to nobody else.

Indeed, nowhere else. I hear no global clamoring for confederation of any of the crumbling 22 Arab states. But the sole Jewish state in the world must become half Arab, you see.

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