Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.

– Euripides

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.


– George Orwell

I must admit to a growing sense of exasperation and impatience with the imbecility (or iniquity) of the Israeli Left and the impotence (or insincerity) of the Israeli Right. So if my frustration expresses itself more intemperately than usual – my apologies.

The crumbling edifice

But when confronted with such infuriating dogmatism on the one hand, and inept dereliction on the other, everyone has his limit when it comes to courtesy and decorum.

And there are indeed limits – a limit to how long one can extend the benefit of the doubt to those who insist on advancing a consistently failed policy and still continue to believe they are doing so in good faith.

Or a limit on continuing to believe that those who ostensibly oppose this policy, but refrain from offering any real alternative, are sincere in their opposition to it.

The entire edifice of conventional wisdom regarding the Arab-Israel conflict is collapsing. The bedrock upon which the traditional approaches to a resolution of Middle East hostilities are based is crumbling, the fabric of accepted thinking unraveling.

The folly of a deal on the Golan with the Assad regime, the absurdity of an agreement with the unelected Fatah regime, the myopia of reliance on the durability of the peace with Egypt are all becoming increasingly obvious.

Yet to judge from the public discourse on developments in the Middle East it seems that nothing has changed.

Refusal to recognize realities

As if living in an alternative universe, pundits prattle on about the importance of the preservation the peace agreement with Egypt – which, at best, was no more than a non-belligerence accord – apparently oblivious to the fact that it has become little more than a nostalgic figment of the past, totally discordant with the prevailing mood across the land of the Nile.

As this week’s rocket attacks indicate, Sinai will either become a hotbed of jihadist terror, which even the sturdiest of hi-tech fences with not impede for long, or it will be remilitarized. It might become both. For recent calls from Israel for Egypt to “exercise its sovereignty” to thwart such attacks constitute an invitation for the deployment of additional Egyptian troops in the demilitarized peninsula. Without such deployment Cairo can always claim it is incapable of combatting renegades forces that have taken control of much of the area.

However, given the less than amicable sentiments in Cairo toward Israel, it is in no way improbable that these reinforcements will have neither the resolve nor the inclination to reign in the activities of the anti- Israeli gangs. Or that they will be less than meticulous in preventing their own arms and equipment from falling into jihadist hands – whether via theft or mutually profitable trade.

The failure to control the terrorists will in all likelihood be followed by demands to increase Egyptian military capabilities in Sinai even more. Given the paramount importance ascribed to the dead-letter peace accord, these will doubtless be agreed to by Israel.

Clearly this process will lead to increasing erosion of the demilitarization of Sinai – the principal, arguably the only, benefit Israel derived from the 1979 peace treaty.

No Sinai, no peace, no demilitarization

Accordingly, it is far from implausible that soon Israel will face an openly hostile regime ensconced in Cairo, a significant and potentially belligerent military force deployed in Sinai, and active radical terrorist groups operating against its southern front – from Gaza to Eilat – either aided or unhindered by Egyptian regulars.

It would therefore be no more than self-evident prudence for Israeli strategic planners to adopt as their working assumption that the reality Israel will soon have to confront will be one of Three No’s: No Peace, No Sinai, No Demilitarization. Yet there seems little evidence that such dour realism is driving the agenda of the strategic discourse.

If anything, quite the opposite is true. It appears that the seismic shifts in the region have barely impacted the discussion concerning Israel’s policy options and imperatives.

Apparently impervious to the strategic significance of the tectonic changes that have swept through the region, figures who shape the debate seem welded to the past, clinging to the hopelessly unrealistic notions such as a two-state resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, acceptance of Israel by the Arab world and the reconstitution of the Turco-Israeli alignment.

Only ridicule remains

The dogmatic intransigence of committed two-staters, Arab-appeasers and Muslim- mollifiers seems immutable by means of reason or rational argument. Unwilling to admit error – or even the possibility thereof – they appear incapable of bringing themselves to concede that their noxious brew of delusion and hubris has created a situation of mortal peril.

No matter how frequently the facts disprove their doctrinaire perspective, they never admit to it being discredited – stubbornly hoping against forlorn hope that somehow reality will eventually realize its mistake and see things their way.

It is becoming increasing difficult to avoid the conclusion that they are persisting in their proposal for a two-state solution and nearly unreserved accommodation of Arab demands, not because they think it is a formula that can provide a stable solution, but because they feel that if they admit it cannot, they will irreparably undermine their professional standing and personal prestige.

So if these folks can’t be reasoned out of their untenable positions, perhaps they can be ridiculed out of them by underscoring – brusquely – how ludicrous and unrealistic, how disingenuous and hypocritical, how counter-productive and self-obstructive their proposals are. Or alternatively how subversive and seditious they are.

For in light of the recurring failure of their prognoses, there are only two explanations for their obduracy – malice or idiocy. And whatever the truth is, it must be exposed.

Stupid or subversive?

Take for instance Dennis Ross’s latest “contribution” at this week’s Presidential Conference in Jerusalem – where he prescribed that Israel should not only undermine its security, but its economy as well, “to restore belief in a two-state solution.”

Predictably, Ross studiously disregarded the fact, once so compellingly conveyed by his host Shimon Peres, that “if a Palestinian state is established, it will be armed to the teeth. Within it there will be bases of the most extreme terrorist forces, who will be equipped with anti-tank and anti-aircraft shoulder-launched rockets, which will endanger not only random passersby, but also every airplane and helicopter taking off in the skies of Israel and every vehicle traveling along the major traffic routes in the Coastal Plain.”

Ross suggested that the first step Israel should take to demonstrate that it is serious about a Palestinian state in the “West Bank” is to publicly announce that the government will provide financial compensation to settlers who are prepared to leave their homes and to move to “Israel proper.”

Of course Ross, who today serves as a counselor for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and was a senior director in Barack Obama’s National Security Council, offered no assurances that what is sweeping through the Arab world would not sweep through “Palestine” or what occurred in Gaza would not occur in Ramallah. Nevertheless, he suggested that the government go ahead and plan not only to bring millions more Israelis within the range of weapons being used today from territory Israel ceded to the Palestinians, but it should take measures that would increase both the demand (and hence the price) of housing in country, and the unemployment. Stupid or subversive?

Validating population resettlement

Of course Ross’s proposal did have one positive element – it validated the notion of financing population relocation to achieve political ends.

For unless he subscribes to blatant double standards, how could he object to applying his suggested methodology to the Palestinians as well? After all, if there is nothing wrong with Israeli government financing voluntary resettlement of Jews to set up what is highly likely to be a failed, unsustainable micromini- state and a haven for Islamist terror, why should there be anything wrong with the Israeli government funding voluntary Palestinian resettlement to prevent the establishment of a what is highly likely to be a failed, unsustainable micro-mini state? Indeed, one might think that there are far more compelling reasons to pursue the later course than the former – especially for anyone mindful of the security of Israel and the safety of Israelis.

Dummy or dhimmi?

But Ross’s counsel on Turkey is if anything even more outrageous. Ross said that it was in Jerusalem’s long-term strategic interest to try to patch up the relationship, even at the cost of issuing an apology over the Mavi Marmara incident, as Ankara has demanded.

Quite apart from the fact that if any apology is forthcoming it should be from Ankara to Jerusalem, for allowing its citizens to create the violent confrontation with Israeli forces; quite apart from the fact that it is more than a little offensive to suggest that Israel should have to apologize for its soldiers’ use of deadly force to prevent themselves being disemboweled, the logic behind his suggestion is as impaired as the morality behind it.

Ross waxes delusional, stating: “Turkey and Israel have an enormous common stake in Syria. Is it difficult to make an apology? Yes, I don’t dismiss that. But how does that weigh against wider strategic interests you have in Syria and a region undergoing tremendous upheaval?” He goes on to claim that restoration of the relationship would have an impact on the whole region, and suggests imagining what a sobering affect this type of rapprochement would have on ascendant players such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

What planet does this guy inhabit? Can he really be unaware that Turkey has undergone a fundamental transformation, that it is no longer a Western-oriented secular state but a Islamic-oriented theocratic one, that its relations with Israel are a far more a function of what it has become, than of what Israel does – or doesn’t do.

Of course one might well wonder: If there are so many strategic interests in common between Turkey and Israel, why doesn’t Ross suggest that Ankara forgo its childish demand for an apology? Is that his “soft racism” of low expectations showing? Or is it the dhimmi in him that feels the need for submission to the Muslim demands? Or perhaps just the dummy?

Presidential perfidy?

And if we are still on the Presidential Conference, we need to ask a trenchant question: Can presidents be perfidious? For it would seem that there are elements of this conference that severely undermine the foreign policy of the elected government of Israel. Indeed it seems in some respects to seems to have out-“J”-ed J Street.

For whatever the motivations behind the invitation of individuals such Peter Beinart who publicly advocate BDS measures (albeit partial) against the products of the nation, it cannot but be interpreted internationally as presidential endorsement of the proposal.

Why otherwise extend the invitation to someone who not only undermines important elements of Israeli diplomacy but whose proposals have also been repudiated by far-left organizations – including J Street itself.

But this is not the only troubling element on the invitation list.

Noam and Norman next?

Among the invited speakers was also Saeb Erekat who openly advocates the “right of return” which in effect would end the existence of Israel as the Jewish nation-state and obviate the essence of the Zionist endeavor.

In December 2010, Erekat the wrote the following in the British Guardian: “Today, Palestinian refugees constitute more than 7 million people worldwide – 70% of the entire Palestinian population. Disregarding their legitimate legal rights enshrined in international law to return to their homeland, would certainly make any peace deal signed with Israel completely untenable.”

So one invitee advocates BDS; another the “right of return.” Who can we expect next?

Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein?

Imbecility and impotence

A grim picture indeed.

But perhaps the only thing more distressing than the imbecility of the Israeli Left is the impotence of the Israel Right, for not effectively combatting this lunacy; for in effect being guilty of totally unwarranted intellectual surrender; for in fact adopting the policy of their political rivals – not because their previous criticisms proved wrong but despite them being proved right.

www.martinsherman.net

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