Friday, February 28, 2014

Kerry and his admirers

Dror Eydar

. Last week, Channel 2 anchorwoman Ilana Dayan interviewed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It is a good idea to go back to the interview and listen to the one-sided questions, the lack of any criticism of Kerry and the fact that at no point in the interview did Dayan mention, even subtly, the claim of our right to this land.
Once we have done that, we can see how the interview was part of a public relations effort by the State Department -- with significant assistance from Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz -- to convince us that Kerry is a wonderful friend of Israel and that we had better listen to his advice and accept his plan for national suicide. All through the interview, Dayan took a line that described Kerry as sensitive, determined, brave and patriotic; she even used a Jewish connection in her profile of Kerry, savior of humanity (yes, the Messiah).
Here is one of her quotes: "John Kerry is the initiator, the public-relations person and the architect of these talks. It may be that he will change history. It may be that history will defeat him. But he will not let it pass him by." Wow. Dramatic music and fade.

Dayan elaborated on Kerry's military background in Vietnam -- "He was wounded three times and received two medals for bravery. On his desk is a photograph of his best friend, who bled to death in the rice fields of Vietnam. ... Do you still carry your dogtags with you?" -- so that we understand that he knows what an army is and what war is, so we can entrust our future to him. He mentions Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon -- "Nobody will teach us what security is or what Zionism is." That was how the Oslo Accords and the disengagement were marketed to us. So, they weren't wrong?
"Everybody knows the end game," Dayan said to Kerry. This is a typical left-wing statement that means: Everybody knows that in the end, Jerusalem will be divided and the Palestinians will receive all of Judea and Samaria (except for the settlement blocs), and so on.
Well, no, not everybody knows that. Many serious people think differently. So far, the solutions proposed by the left-wing camp have pushed us to the edge of the abyss. Like the rest of her fellow journalists, Dayan resists being described as belonging to any "political camp." After all, she is from the U.N. and has no political agenda that receives prominence on her program. But that is the root of the lie that has been stuffed down the Israeli public's throat -- supposedly, there is a press that reports the news and is objective and free of political ambitions, and there is a press that is right-wing. That is not true at all.
But let us turn our attention to Dayan's question: "Everybody knows the end game. But I wonder now whether you can understand the fear of Israelis? Do you understand that many Israelis feel that no deal is better than a bad deal because it might could blow up in our faces the next day?" There it was, right in front of our faces: the word "fear." Not rights, not the historical and religious connection, not the core of the justification of the Zionist movement. Who talks about that on television? Just "fear." A security-related conversation that pushed aside the discourse about the Jewish people's right to their land. That is the only way to numb the public's awareness, since if security is the only issue we are dealing with, then we can build another warning station and bring hundreds of American military experts who "know better than we" how to make sure that this time, the deal "will not blow up in our faces."
2. Dayan insisted on asking the ingratiating question: "Is there any chance that you will lose hope on this one? Is there a chance that, at a certain point, you will tell Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] and Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, 'I've had enough -- if you have any news, you can call me'?" The assumption implicit in the question is part and parcel of the left wing's relentless efforts to bring international pressure upon us so that the non-Jews will save us from ourselves, because the Jews have gone mad and they are choosing life over political suicide.
Kerry, of course, reassured us. "I'm an optimist," he said. "I believe Israel will get so much stronger and so much more prosperous. There is so much benefit that could come to the citizens of Israel and the West Bank Palestinian territories and the region. I've had an Arab foreign minister say to me in a private meeting of the Arab community that if we're able to make peace, Israel will be the powerhouse economy and do more business with the Arab world than they currently do with Europe." You heard it, Jews: You will have more money if you give up the land of your lives.
On second thought, it seems to me that Kerry is quoting from President Shimon Peres' monumental book, "The New Middle East," as if nothing had happened in this region in recent years. What lack of modesty toward history and toward the ancient cultures of the region. Of course, there is no doubt that the moment we become weaker, the Arab states will stand in line to do business with us.
As proof, Dayan brought in Chuck Todd of MSNBC, which, over here, is like bringing in someone to the left of Haaretz.
"Would you bet on him [Kerry]?" Dayan asked, and Todd replied: "I'd reverse the question. Would you bet on Netanyahu?" Dayan responded, "It all comes back to Bibi." It does not come back to a thousand and one political, cultural, security-related, religious, historical and political factors. Just "Bibi." Nice. Two left-wing journalists from opposite sides of the planet agree that if the talks blow up, it will be Israel's fault.
3. Then, after the interview, came the debate in the studio. Dayan brought in negotiations head Tzipi Livni and, for a bit of variety, commentator Amnon Abramovich, who attacked Livni -- from the left. What a surprise. Even Abramovich agreed that it all comes back to Netanyahu, "who does not have the courage to do what he does not believe in -- withdraw."
How naive of me. I had thought that it took courage to stand up to the U.S., Europe and our own backsliding elite, and to tell all of them: "No!" Did it take courage for Livni to change political camps? She only gained by it; all over the world, she is treated like the new Peres. The Israeli media extol her as a paragon of moderation and good judgment, giving her the kind of praise normally reserved for those who discovered the primordial light that has been hidden since the six days of creation.
Could it be that this is not only about courage, but also about a deep historical perspective? Finally, someone who thinks differently from the choir was brought to the studio: former cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser. He said that what Kerry and Netanyahu had in common was that they thought in historical terms, something quite rare in a political system that mostly worships the present. The difference, Hauser added, was that Kerry was managing the risks of another, while Netanyahu was managing our own.
At that, Abramovich jumped in and spoke against the demand to recognize Israel as the national home of the Jewish people, adding that there were risks to balance those that Hauser had mentioned: a binational state, boycotts, international isolation, and so on. Oh, dear.
In response, Hauser said that Abramovich was living in the past, since a binational state could come into existence even with a ratio of 80 percent Jews to 20 percent non-Jews. If a peace agreement is reached, the heavy weapons will turn toward Israel's inside. They will seek to strip Israel of its Jewish characteristics and turn it into a "state of all its citizens" -- an Israeli invention for the idea of "a state of all its nationalities."
That is why no agreement can be reached without Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. This recognition is not for us, but for the Palestinians. Without it, the right of return will remain in place and there will be no end to the conflict.

No comments: