Mourn the Israeli Peace Camp

June 13, 2011 by Raffe Gold
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Green Left Weekly posted an article this week entitled ‘After 44 Years of Occupation: Where is the Israeli Peace Camp?’ in which the paper outlined that in Netanyahu’s recent address to the US Congress he may have espoused the cause of a two state solution but it was ineffectual and nothing close to reality. The paper then continued to lambast Israelis saying that there was no Israeli peace camp and if there was one it has become ‘weak and marginalised’.

Anyone who has read Green Left Weekly knows that they are champions of the extreme. Their support for politicians like Hugo Chavez are public and they are the medium of choice for those in academia, journalism and left-wing politics. Their coverage of Israel is often claimed to be biased and cherry picking of facts and  makes Che Guevara look the middle of the road. However, in this most recent article concerning Israel’s peace camp, one cannot help but be impressed that their article is astute and correct

Raffe Gold

There is no Israeli peace camp anymore, but not for the reasons that the Weekly suggests. It is not because Israelis have somehow rejected peace or that those who desire it are afraid to speak up. Rather it is because the Israeli peace camp has now become the mainstream thinking in Israel. In fact, today Israelis are willing to go farther for peace than prior to the Oslo Accords. And according to media reports, many Israelis are prepared to go even further.

We have seen this with the disengagement from Gaza, from the negotiations with Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, with the economic cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian businesses and with the mass demonstrations, as recently as last week, which saw thousands march for peace in Tel Aviv. This is convincing evidence that the Israeli peace camp is as vibrant as ever before. What we are not seeing is what Green Left Weekly would like to define as the ‘peace camp’ – a move towards a one-State solution, which would see the end of the Jewish State. The Israeli Peace Camp, if one wants to call it that, now broadly encompasses a majority of Israelis. Those not part of it are the fringe elements of the left-wing, right-wing and religious extremists. Even Prime Minister Netanyahu has expressed support for a Palestinian state on a number of occasions and recently in front of the US Congress, albeit demilitarized.

The difference between the left and right wing members of the Israeli mainstream is how to arrive at the creation of a new Palestinian state. Those on the Left want a complete withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and an open border with the Gaza Strip. However, those on the Right want a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines along with various land swaps to accommodate Israel’s very real security requirements. There are other primary differences between the two camps, most crucial of which is the status of Jerusalem and whether or not it should be divided. There are a lot of social, domestic and foreign policy issues separating the left and the right in Israel but when it comes to the Palestinians the majority of Israel has accepted that there will be a Palestinian state.

Look at one of Israel’s most celebrated and dovish Prime Ministers, Yitzhak Rabin, and his acclaimed Oslo Accords. It has been less than 20 years since the Accords were signed and the controversial handshake on the White House lawn but the Israeli public has come so far since that day in relation to the Palestinians. The Oslo Accords purposefully left out positions on Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements, security and borders for a later date. One can only wonder what would happen had Rabin not been cut down by the assassin’s bullet and what we would see today. However without the great peacemaker leading us, we Israelis have managed to take gigantic leaps and bounds in relation to all of these aspects of peace. Compare that with those who want to be our partners in peace, a government which has never stopped broadcasting their hateful messages and anti-Semitic rants, or threatening Israelis with another Holocaust.

So Green Left Weekly managed to hit the nail on the head with their claim that the old Israeli Peace Camp has disappeared. But that is because Israelis are not suicidal. The ‘Peace Camp’ that Green Left Weekly envisions exists on in the mind of the one-state solution extremists like Antony Loewenstein, Norman Finkelstein and their ilk. Yes, there are some in Israel who call for a one-state solution and they lace their argument with idealistic and naïve scenarios of a peaceful world, and who see Israel as the sole cause of all instability in the Middle East. But these Israelis are shunned in the mainstream and often confine themselves to their friends with like-minded persuasion. More often than not many Israelis do not hear of them but they are championed by left-wing academics world-wide who use them and their association in order to prevent themselves from being labeled as anti-Semitic.

With the death of the Israeli Peace Camp, Israel has arisen the idea of a Palestinian state, and it is no longer a frightening one. Peaceniks have accepted this and are prepared to make generous concessions to ensure its establishment, just as Israelis have accepted the return of Sinai, Lebanon and Gaza. But such negotiations are a two way street, and will only be made if those who currently want to kill us will ensure that the return of land will not harm our children.

So let us mourn the death of the Israeli Peace Camp.

 

Kaddish will be at 6.

 

Raffe Gold is a political science graduate. He can be contacted at www.twitter.com/raffeg

 

 

 

 

Comments

2 Responses to “Mourn the Israeli Peace Camp”
  1. Tim Tam says:

    “Jake” gives no documentary support for his attempted refutation of Raffe Gold. He just makes an unsupported allegation. I am not what you might call a close or devoted reader of either Loewenstein or Finkelstein, but I have read enough to know that it is probably quite true that both support a one-state solution, i.e., a Palestinian state over the entire region presently including Israel and the Palestinian Authority territory. This would be a state that would of course invoke the Palestinian “Right of Return” that would import Lebanese-style terrorism and civil war into Israel, resulting in a unified state in which Jews (the surviving ones, anyway) would be placed in a defenseless and highly vulnerable minority within either an extremist Muslim state (a Hamas-ruled “Palestine”) or a fascist racist one (Fatah-ruled; the Nazi influence on Yasser Arafat and the Fatah party in particular is a big subject all in itself, notwithstanding Arafat’s invocation of an explicitly Muslim Arab “secular democratic Palestine” ideal). Both Loewenstein and Finkelstein are vitriolically opposed to a Jewish state of Israel: they have said so numerous times in the strongest terms. They even support terrorist murders of Jews and outright war against Israel.

    This is a matter of record. Two examples relating to Finkelstein: just recently he made some comments in relation to the Palestinian murder of the Fogel family justifying such actions; see Alan Dershowitz, “An American Academic Supports the Targeting of Innocent Israeli Civilians,” April 11, 2011, at http://www.hudson-ny.org/2033/norman-finkelstein-supports-targeting-israeli-civilians This is not a new outlook; he has done the same thing in regard to earlier terrorist atrocities: see Dershowitz, “Demeaning Jewish Victims of terrorism,” July 8, 2008, at http://archive.frontpagemag.com/Printable.aspx?ArtId=31575

    One other interesting little tidbit: Finkelstein has regularly published articles attacking Jewish claims and concern about the Holocaust and issues relating to Israel in German neo-Nazi Holocaust denialist journals, as I discovered when researching Holocaust “revisionism” and antisemitism two years ago. You can tell where a guy is coming from by the friends he chooses to keep.

    It is also undeniable that the Greenie movement likes to cite Finkelstein and Loewenstein at every opportunity, doing the “some of my best friends are Jews” gambit to allay accusations of antisemitism. These are the friends the Greenies claim. So Raffie Gold is entirely right to cite their names in this connection.

    So, Jake, if you want to rehabilitate Finkelstein and Loewenstein, at the very least you will have to try to document your claims.

  2. Jake says:

    Antony Loewenstein and Norman Finkelstein do not support a one state solution. Please don’t lie, you’re giving us Jews a bad name.

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