Thursday, August 24, 2006

Totten in Israel, looking at Peace Now

This morning's sparkling diamond of reporting is once again from Michael J. Totten. He writes from Kibbutz Shomrat near the border with Lebanon. His interview with two members of Peace Now is a close-up snapshot of the Israeli peace movement. This is not your Cousin Sue's movement from Berkeley, folks. No empty idealism here, just pragmatic realities. These people understand peace like a fish knows water.

I wanted to know if there are many Berkeley-style leftists in Israel.

“I think what’s different from our peace movement,” Amichai said, “from the peace movements in the United States, in other countries, and in Europe is the question of serving in the army. Peace movements are usually pacifists and they don’t encourage their members to serve in the army. The Israeli peace movement believes that Israel would not exist if we didn’t defend it. There is a slogan that’s going around: If the Arabs put down their arms, there will be peace. If the Jews put down their arms there won’t be any Jews left. And I think there’s a basic truth to that.”

In the interest of balance here is a link to Kesher Talk where Benjamin Kerstein deconstructs Peace Now. (Also cross-posted at his blog.)
...we see the abdication of responsibility. To a great degree, Hezbollah got the "glory" of kicking Israel out because of the peace movement's constant assertion that the occupation of Southern Lebanon was fundamentally immoral and had to be ended whatever the political consequences. The same in regards to Hamas and Gaza. This is not a reflection on the rectitude of these withdrawals, but one does have a right to demand some recognition of obvious consequences from those who presume to deal seriously with politics and war. It is easy to critique. It is much harder to admit to consequences. I supported the Gaza withdrawal. I believe this withdrawal did embolden both Hamas and Hezbollah and - in the short term - damaged Israel's detterance. There is nothing particularly difficult in admitting to the consequences of one's positions. However, there is something immensely dangerous in the hermetic tendencies of those who cannot, and will not, admit any such thing. Until the Israel peace movement can come down from the dream palace of infallibility it has built for itself, it will continue to be isolated in the impotence of the streets and the comfort of facile sureties.

From this distance it this "deconstruction" comes across as fairly benign in the larger context of the madness of the Middle East. Take away the fluff and both sides are aiming at the same target. There is disagreement, however, regarding how to get there. This is a good example of the saying that where there are two Jews there will be three or four opinions.

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