by Barry Rubin | JPost.com | December 18, 2011
In a world that has moved so far to the political Left, it is hard to know anymore just what a ‘centrist’ Israeli view would be.
There is a constant effort – especially by the anti-Israel Left (and also by its anti- Semitic portions) to portray those who express mainstream public and professional Israeli views as “right-wing” or “Likudnik.”
This leads me to wonder what one would have to say to please these people. What would be centrist? What would be the equivalent of “liberal?” I presume one would have to say that US President Barack Obama is the best American president for Israel ever (even he says so!), and that there are no problems in the US-Israel relationship. Furthermore, even if there were to be problems, they would be entirely due to the Israeli government’s selfish, short-sighted and unreasonable intransigence.
To them, the only acceptable liberal view would state that peace with the Palestinians could be achieved within a few months if only Israel would make a few more concessions and stop being so belligerent and stubborn. The Palestinian Authority wouldn’t even have to change any of its policies, wouldn’t have to stop anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement or admit openly, clearly and in Arabic that the Jews have a right to an independent country in the historic land of Israel, nor would the Palestinians be required to negotiate or compromise. Israelis should never talk about these things.
I suppose the only acceptable liberal view is that the PA sincerely wants peace, and if given the West Bank plus a corridor to the Gaza Strip and all of east Jerusalem it would be a reliable partner and keep all of its commitments. In exchange for a peace agreement, Israel should withdraw to the 1967 borders with minor modifications and dismantle all settlements. But to ask for recognition by the PA of Israel as a Jewish state, prior agreement to resettle all Palestinian refugees in Palestine (or where they are living now), and demilitarization are unreasonable demands and should be dropped because these demands only block peace.
IF ALL the above were to happen, the liberal view must be that the Middle East would become quiet and peaceful. Islamists would either become moderate or lose support. Terrorism against the West would cease and America would be very popular, nor is the PA-Hamas partnership really a problem, because once there is a peace agreement, Hamas will give up its goal of wiping Israel off the map and there will be no more rocket, mortar, or cross-border attacks. But if Hamas does attack Israel from the Gaza Strip then Israel shouldn’t retaliate since to do so would inevitably involve disproportionate force and hurt Palestinian civilians.
The failure of Western countries to keep their commitments to Israel in 2006 to keep Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon and stop arms smuggling is unimportant, and Israel should not mention it.
That fact is unimportant and should not influence Israel’s thinking or actions, and neither should the experiences of the 1990s peace process and 2000 Camp David meeting.
As for Islamist takeovers in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, Israel really has nothing to fear. The Muslim Brotherhood is really moderate, and Israel should stop talking about a supposed threat from these groups. It is up to Israel to patch up relations with Egypt and it should not be concerned about cross-border terrorist attacks, repeated assaults on the natural gas pipeline or the government permitted mob takeover of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Perhaps Israel should agree to renegotiate the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
Same with regard to Turkey.
Israel should apologize to Ankara for letting IDF soldiers defend themselves after being attacked by jihadi terrorists on the Mavi Marmara.
Israel should give up any option of attacking Iran’s nuclear weapons’ facilities at any time, not only now to prevent Tehran from getting such weapons but presumably in the future as well if there is a perceived threat from Iran. Instead, Israel should depend on US protection. If Iran hits Israel with nuclear weapons, the United States will then (probably?) retaliate.
I HONESTLY don’t think I’ve exaggerated the attitudes of American and European leftists (including many Jews) about “proper” Israeli policy.
Strangely, I don’t see the Kadima or Labor parties adopting such a program. It would be amusing to survey random Israeli pedestrians on the street in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem about what they think of the “liberal” plan for Israel.
As always, since the mainstream Western media generally does not allow a real response to the ridiculousness of the program for Israel it so often advocates you won’t be reading any of the points made above there. People will just be left to believe that the current government is just unreasonably reactionary; that most Israelis support Obama (or that they deserve what they get if they don’t); and that the region would be just fine if only Israel would let the American far- Left choose its government.
Indeed, if any left-wing blog mentions this article it will only be to brand it “right-wing.”
The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and a featured columnist at Pajamas Media. His new book, Israel: An Introduction, will be published by Yale University Press in January.