Dr. Reality-Based and Mr. Fiery Ideologue
There is the accusation of wishing reality to conform to one’s ideology. For example, it is said the “Christian Zionists manipulating the decisions at the White House at AIPAC’s behest” are forcing reality to be in conformance with their “vision of Armageddon”. This is in order to contrast with the “sane, rational, reality-based” attitude toward foreign policy on the Left, which is informed above all by respect toward reality, toward the facts—by going with them, not trying to bend them.
There are examples galore of how this dichotomous view is false, but I think nowhere is it more blatant than in the case of the Israel/“Palestine” conflict. Such a contentious point is I/“P” for the Leftists that they often do not bother to display even the rhetoric of being reality-based, although they spare no effort in blaming Israel and the Neocon Administration for ignoring the facts on the ground.
They speak of “justice”. No, justice is not a bad thing (but pay attention to the problem of “The Grand Sez Who”); however, it must be truthfully acknowledged that standing for justice and being reality-based are incompatible. Why is that? Because justice is an ideal, while being reality-based, as I said, requires compromising on ideals, or sometimes giving them up altogether, in the face of reality.
The Left’s pretensions to being reality-based, as far as the Israel/“Palestine” conflict goes, are all annulled by the recent (since about five years, maybe a little more) trend away from 1967-ism and into 1947-ism—away from the fairly pragmatic vision of land for peace on the lines of Israel’s treaty with Egypt, and into the idealistic, reality-be-damned vision of “fixing” the “mistakes” of the very foundation of Israel.
1967-ism, I have said many times, was a respected and mandated position among the majority of the Israeli Jewish public from 1993 to 2000, and even beyond despite its process of decline after the outbreak of the Al-Aksa Intifada, right until its demise after August 2005. That point and that date are all-important, for they demonstrate the thinking of the Israeli Jewish public—thinking which the “reality-based” Leftists think they can sweep aside, concocting the most treacherous of “peace plans” on the backs of the Jews like Neville Chamberlain on acid.
The uprooting of the entire Jewry of Gaza was followed by rocket fire on Sderot. The charge that the Kassams are “primitive”—though that didn’t prevent them from killing Jews, but of course the weighting of the number of Jews killed against that of “Palestinians” killed will be called forth as counterargument, just as the cry of “Disproportionate response!” was for Lebanon last summer—is a deflection from the real issue. The real issue is that Sderot is situated within the 1949 Armistice Line. And disregarding the significance of the 1949 Armistice Line as an item of Israeli Jewish concensus is the worst mistake a peace planner could make.
The Israeli Jewish public, in contrast to the “Palestinian” one, which is still beholden to the same ideas and slogans of 60 years ago, has known many shifts of opinion. One has only to compare Rabin’s denunciation of the 1975 UN resolution equating Zionism with racism, where he protested that it was “the opening for setting up an Arafatian state”, to Rabin’s signing of the Oslo Accords just eighteen years later. These were not merely his private decisions—the Israeli Jewish public had really shifted in opinion, from a hardline “No talks with terrorists” stance in 1975 to a pragmatic “Peace is made with enemies” stance in 1993. Post-Zionism is lamentable, but in it is the sign of strength, of a people willing to reconsider their opinions—and, therefore, the current shift toward hardline stances too is a sign of the same strength, however much the Leftists may think evil of it.
But with all those shifts of public opinion, there is one thing, one solitary article of Israeli Jewish thinking, that has not changed, from the first days of Zionism to this day: the vision of Israel as a Jewish state. Except for a handful of far-out lunatics, always ending up cutting themselves from the public, such as the quisling Ilan Pappé, the idea of Israel as a Jewish state has always been taboo, sacrosanct, unquestionable, non-negotiable. This is an immovable reality that the Leftists, in their most un-reality-based idealistic fervor, have since some years ago decided to go roughshod over.
Commenter “another American” on Daily Kos, much though I may disagree with him on some points, is a wise, pragmatic and reality-based one, showing it in his call to reject the One-State Solution (which Steven Plaut calls “The Rwanda Solution”) as something that no Israeli Jew would agree with. In one of his diaries he brings Amos Oz as an example of how “the most dovish of Israelis” does not support the “Palestinian Right of Return”. It was truly said: if Amos Oz says a flat-out “No!” to the influx of millions of “Palestinians” to within the 1949 Armistice Line territories, what chance is there for the Israeli Jewish public as a whole to accept it? For Oz’s dovishness is now a rapidly waning position among Israeli Jews.
It was interesting to watch the comments in reaction to aA’s diary: appeals to “justice” and “reparations for past wrongs” and denunciations of “the ‘Might Makes Right’ attitude that underlies the opposition to the Palestinian Right of Return” were swift and copious. One of the commenters said, when aA repeated his emphasis on Amos Oz’s inordinate dovishness and willingness to compromise on all other positions, that he wouldn’t care if Oz were an angel of light. In other words: uprooting all the Jews of the 1967 isn’t enough, and resettling the “Palestinians” there or in other Arab states isn’t acceptable, but the refugees (or more accurately their descendants—a unique case of inheritance of that status in the whole world) are to be allowed to flow, en masse, back to the same places from which they were driven away in the course of the war of 1947–9. All for the sake of “justice”, of course, and the reality that this issue is non-negotiable concensus among the Jews of Israel be damned.
The participation of Arabs within the 1949 Armistice Lines in the Al-Aksa Intifada of October 2000, the firing of Kassam rockets into areas within the 1949 Armistice Line, and the recent documents by Arabs (Muslims, and Christian dhimmi helpers of theirs—the latter are being cleansed from Gaza by Hamas as we speak) within the 1949 Armistice Lines demanding the dilution of Israel’s Jewish character—all are direct strikes on that inviolable nerve of Israeli Jewish concensus: the founding of Israel as a Jewish state. Israel’s Declaration of Independence states the intention of lack of discrimination against citizens based on religion, sex or creed, but it also contains, written before and after that statement, the clear and unequivocal idea that Israel is a Jewish state, with a Jewish character.
A reality-based person would realize this fact and go from it. Going from it would mean that, in order to achieve a negotiated peace, 1967-ism is the only option. That means making it clear to the “Palestinians” that the 1967 territories would be all they were going to get, and the “Right of Return” was headed to the trashcan. But the Leftists display their reality-based façade only when it suits, for example for bashing Bush, while, in their stances on the Israel/“Palestine” conflict, there is a wide faction among them, possibly already a majority, and certainly growing with each passing day, who are fiery ideologues who couldn’t care less about reality, preferring to bend it to their views of what ought to be—all on the Israeli Jews’ expense, it cannot be stressed enough.
Of course, there is no shortage of justifications for that stand, most common of which is the idea popularized by Dhimmi Carter (may he go to hell soon, amen): that the insistence on the hardline, 1947-ist stance is equivalent to the insistence on the hardline stance against Apartheid South Africa. Never mind that the status of non-Jews in Israel is incomparable to that of the blacks of South Africa of then (was there a black Minister of Science in South Africa before 1994? There is an Arab, Muslim Minister of Science in Israel right now—Ghaleb Majadleh), and never mind that the other side is most unlike the blacks of South Africa in its view of the desired solution and its aftermath. (Consider this: the African National Committee not only lacked genocidal statements in their charter, but followed with peaceful reconciliation with the whites after 1994; whereas the “Palestinians” are genocidal in both word and deed, even unto the education of their children, and even unto killing their own without mercy. And we are expected to trust them?!)
Charges of “racism” and “apartheid” can be leveled without refrain, but the concensus of the Israeli Jewish public regarding the core of the Jewish state will not be moved—it has not budged through decades of manifold events and upheavals, so it won’t be changed by mere boycotts and resolutions. The shift of the world’s stance on addressing this conflict from 1967-ism to 1947-ism, no matter by how severe sanctions and boycotts it is reinforced, serves only to strengthen the Israeli Jews’ conviction that concessions are not in their best interests, and that survival is more important than compliance with international law. The Left’s preference of a fiery ideological stance over being reality-based is a most potent factor in turning Israeli Jews Kahane-ward.
What a pity Barbara Tuchmann is no longer alive. Watching this unfolding of events would have provided her with the most superb example ever for her book The March of Folly.