The different meanings of ‘covenant’

January 24, 2013 11:27

A response to an Arab journalist’s analysis that Israelis vote “to kill the prospects of peace.”

4 minute read.

Palestinians, activists block Route 443

Palestinians, activists block Route 443 370. (photo credit:Marshall Pinkerton)

At the end of the day, all political analysis is refracted through the personal and cultural lens of the political analyst. In some, the refraction is minimal, and the account attains a degree of political objectivity, perhaps universality. In others the refraction is maximal, and the political account is subjective, and parochial. It was therefore instructive to examine the view of the Arab analyst, Jamal Kanj,on the Israeli elections, published in the January 24th edition of the Bahrain-based, Gulf Daily News. My purpose in this article, however, is not to analyze Arab perceptions of the Israeli political process, but rather to suggest some of the deeper reasons why there are serious limits to the Arab, comprehension of it. Those reasons lie, in no small part, in the notion of covenant.

Jamal Kanj is known to some readers from his interesting book, Children of Catastrophe. It is a partly biographical, partly a polemical description of his “liberation” from a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, his training as an engineer in the US, and his return to his Palestinian roots, via his personal and political writing. In his article this week, entitled, “A Vote Against Common Sense,” Kanj demonstrated some knowledge of the Israeli election, but little understanding of the Israeli political psyche. His view was that Israelis voted “to kill the prospect of peace,” that they, “chose right wing parties advocating land annexation, and “Jewish-only settlements.” He spoke of“deep-seated Israeli racism”founded on the fact that an, “overblown fear triumphed over reason.” That reason was able to conjure up, “fictitious, remote enemies.”Kanj concluded that, “Jewish settlement building,” based in “illegal land theft,” wasn’t just a local problem, but “a threat to world peace.”


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