Sunday, February 02, 2014

“Dangerous Nonsense”

Ah that there would be six more hours in the day. Then I would be posting as often as I ideally would like to.  But as this is not the case, in the last several days I’ve had to focus first on the Levy Report/Legal Grounds Campaign that I am so involved with. This situation is likely to persist for a while.
Here I begin by sharing an article of mine that came out in Front Page Magazine on Friday.  Please, read it and share it with others.  It makes points that need to be heard without further delay.
As to the dangerous nonsense: Sometimes I assess the situation in this part of the world, as it is reported, and shake my head in bewilderment. 
I have in mind, first, a position espoused by Netanyahu just about a week ago.  He declared – in what seemed at the time a bid to reassure the political right – that “I have no intention of evacuating any settlement or uprooting any Israelis.”
He said this at the Davos economic conference, in Hebrew, to Israeli journalists he was briefing.  Sounded good at the time. There has been so much talk about dismantling of “settlements” as part of an agreement. 
But then subsequently a statement from an official in the Prime Minister’s office cast a decidedly different light on the matter: “His [Netanyahu’s] consistent position has been that those settlements that will be on the Palestinian side of the border should not be uprooted. Just as Israel has an Arab minority, the prime minister doesn’t see why Palestine can’t have a Jewish minority. The Jews living on their side should have a choice whether they want to stay or not.”
Come again?? 
Naftali Bennett, head of Habayit Hayehudi, saw the nonsense implicit in this position.
First on his Facebook page he wrote that:
[It] “reflects the loss of a moral compass. We didn’t experience 2,000 years of yearning for the Land of Israel so that we could live under the government of Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]. Anyone thinking of placing the lives of Jews in the Land of Israel under Palestinian rule is pulling the rug out from under our presence in Tel Aviv.
“I call on the prime minister to immediately reject this terrible idea.”
And then Bennett further criticized Netanyahu’s position at a conference at the Institute for National Security Studies (emphasis added):
“A new idea has arisen: Jews will live in their lands but under Palestinian sovereignty. This will not happen, nor could it.
“Do you know why? Why Jews can’t live under Palestinian sovereignty? Why can't Palestinians rule over Israelis? Because they’ll kill them. How do I know? How do I know? Because it has already happened. In Hebron, there were Jews living in peace with their Arab neighbors, but one day in 1929 they got up and killed the Jews. Just like that, those same Arab neighbors killed them...
The essence of Zionism is sovereignty. Without sovereignty there is no Zionism. Jews under foreign sovereignty is a retreat as far as Zionism is concerned. We already tried that in Europe and it didn’t quite work out. What are the ramifications of even bringing such an idea up? What does that tell us?”
Placing Jews under foreign rule would be a U-turn for Zionism, Bennett concluded.
I don’t know where Netanyahu thought he was going, with this idea. Whether it was a good idea, or (which is the fact of the matter) an atrociously bad, one, it’s hard to believe it was a serious suggestion. For Abbas has made it clear up front, time and again, that there would not be a single Jew in the Palestinian state. And, indeed, PA officials were quick to call Netanyahu’s suggestion ridiculous. 
I would like to think that our prime minister was simply attempting to expose the apartheid attitude of Abbas more clearly.  But - while there were Israeli government statements regarding what the PA opposition to Jews in “their” proposed state tells us – I do not.
It is significant that not only Bennett criticized Netanyahu’s idea.  For, in fact, there was criticism voiced by several major players in Likud.  Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, for example, said:
“Only someone who suffers from the illusion that ‘the wolf will lie down with the lamb,’ and that one can place the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens at the mercy of those who conducted the [October 2000] lynch in Ramallah, can truly believe that we can assure the security of the Dan region and the central region if a Palestinian state is established.”
But Netanyahu’s greatest ire was reserved for Bennett, and his office let it be known that if there was not an apology from Bennett forthcoming, the composition of the coalition might change shortly.
This made a great deal of press here.
Matters cooled down after Bennett offered a semblance of an apology that, in my opinion, was nothing of the sort:
"If the prime minister was hurt, I am definitely saddened by that.
"There are sources that are trying to turn a fundamental debate about the future of our country and our safety to a personal attack that wasn't intended.
"I respect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his leadership under complicated conditions. I support him when needed and criticize him as needed; this is my duty.
"Imposing Palestinian sovereignty on Israeli citizens is dangerous, and it is my obligation to drop this idea from the agenda, and now the idea is gone.",7340,L-4482409,00.html
Right on, Naftali!
It is worth noting that a poll taken following this flap between Bennett and Netanyahu indicated that if elections were held today Habayit Hayehudi would go from its current 12 seats to 17 seats.
This says heartening things about the attitude of our electorate, and perhaps will provide an appropriate signal to Netanyahu.
The turmoil I’ve described here is indicative of the tensions resulting from the pressures being brought to bear by Kerry, in order to push through his soon-to-be announced framework for continuing “negotiations.”  The rumors continue to fly (I will return to further discussion on this), and the pressure grows ever more intense.
Just today the American secretary of state, in Germany, indicated that a failure of the peace talks will lead to global boycotts and delegitimization of Israel. 
This sort of threat by Kerry raises my own blood pressure more than a bit.  He’s a man without principles who will stoop to anything in an effort to achieve his goals.  And here I would like to speak for myself:
I will tighten my belt, figuratively, and do without a good deal, were there to be economic boycotts that reduced the standard of living here, rather than see a deal struck with the PLO in any terms whatsoever.  For me, and many many others, this is a no-brainer.  We will not be intimidated. 
And this is precisely what Bennett said (and I am pleased to quote him yet again, emphasis added):
I want to clarify to all those giving advice: the country has yet to be born that will give up its land because of economic threats, and we won't either. Only security will bring financial stability, not a terror state next to the Ben Gurion Airport.
"We expect our friends in the world to stand by our side, against the anti-Semitic boycott attempts against Israel, and not to be the voice of the boycotts. We've known in the past and know today how to stay strong."
Kerry is likely to find that his tactics are backfiring.
I’ve only begun to touch upon a multiplicity of subjects waiting to be written about – hopefully I will address others soon.  But please, now that you’ve read about the pressures being put upon Israel, go back and read my article, if you have not yet done so.  It is urgently and painfully relevant.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
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