The Left-Leaning Israel of the 2000’s

A couple of days ago, Israeli PM Netanyahu declared it was time for peace only days after announcing the expansion of settlement construction in East Jerusalem.  This, of course, rang of hypocrisy and led many to be pessimistic about the prospects of actual peace.  Yet it was not only the authors of this site that saw through his claims.  Caroline Glick, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, recently wrote this column which begins like this:

Upon returning from Cairo on Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu proclaimed, “It’s time to move the peace process forward.”

The most sympathetic interpretation of Netanyahu’s proclamation is that he was engaging in political theater. It was a low and dishonest statement uttered at the end of what has been, in the immortal words of W.H. Auden, “a low and dishonest decade.”

Everyone with eyes in their heads knows that there is no chance of making peace with the Palestinians. First of all, the most Israel is willing to give is less than what the Palestinians are willing to accept.

I suppose it is a good thing that Ms. Glick is not as naive (or dishonest) as Netanyahu, but she follows the above statement with an opinion article that disregards history, makes outrageous claims and generally twists all events in the past decade to try to make Mr. Netanyahu look as dovish as Karl Marx kissing Cat Stevens while handing out abortion coupons.  The general idea of the article was to spell out how the last decade was thrown away by liberal appeasement of the Palestinians, likening the policies of Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert to the appeasement of Hitler in the Second World War.

A couple of issues I had with the article:

First, the comparison of Israel’s ‘appeasement’ and the appeasement of Hitler is, at best, wildly inappropriate.  Perhaps Ms. Glick forgot that Hitler was the occupying power in WW2, but Israel is the occupying power now.  A better comparison would be if Hitler appeased the Allied powers and withdrew from half of Poland; and

Second, while Palestinian authorities wavered on their determination to make an immediate peace throughout the decade, Ms. Glick makes several statements claiming that Israel begged for peace by giving an absurd amount away in negotiations.  While it is true that previous peace deals involved more land being transferred to the Palestinians than is currently possible, the proposed deals were still heavily in Israel’s favor.  Furthermore, there is little proof that Israel was any more committed to a lasting peace during the past decade than Palestine was.

The government of Netanyahu is by far the most conservative Israeli government of the decade.  To claim that the current Israeli government is too weak to force a real peace without giving up too much is outrageous after Israel’s actions in Gaza in 2008 – a war in which, according to Ms. Glick, was abandoned and in which Israel did not do enough to win.

While it seems clear that Mr. Netanyahu might be a little less than sincere with his desire for peace, we can all take solace in the fact that the Israeli government is run by someone as far to the left as Netanyahu and not someone as conservative as Ms. Glick.  Wow, I never thought I would say that.


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