I attended the HaAretz-sponsored peace conference today. Many thought that with the outbreak of Hamas rocket-firing that it should have been postponed. Many who attended admitted the situation was surrealistic.
I think they should have continued with their plans --- it makes them appear more detached-from-reality than I could describe them.
My impressions in jottings, short and concise:
1. The food was excellent, much better than Besheva’s Jerusalem Conference.
2. They even served Meshek Achiyah olive oil from Shiloh.
3. There were quite a number of people, most of whom I’d define as messianic in their belief that they know how to achieve peace.
4. Haaretz publisher was firm – his paper is defined as “Zionist’ which I think upset Amira Hass who was quite bitter against everything Israeli.
5. Akiva Eldar claims the Israeli media is “mobilized” to ‘shut down’ any pro-peace campaign and asserts there is ‘no partner’. But when he interviewed Mahmoud Abbas for a video, he let Abbas get away with stating he doesn''t recognize Israel as a "Jewish state".
6. Ron Huldai, Tel Aviv’s mayor, thought the conference should have been conducted in Jerusalem. Go know. But he still thinks the ‘peace camp’ needs to burst out.
7. Shimon Peres will not run for Prime Minister and claims Jordan in the peace treaty did not make trouble over Jerusalem (ha).
8. Singer Avinoam Nini asserted that in Israel, racism receives legitimization ‘from above’.
9. Peter Beinart and Jeremy Ben-Ami simply have given in to a new non-Jewish reality which they call Jewish and demand that Israel recognize it as such. Democracy? Identity? They divide US Jewry, boost that divide and bemoan that Israel is divisive and claim they have the answer. Ben-Ami demands BDSers be invited into Jewish institutions to debate (Yesha leaders, too?). Beinart compared himself to Tanakh, obliquely, by saying the Bible contains more criticism of Israel than he has ever written. Of course, Israel’s sins then were real but Beinart makes today’s sins up.
10. Left-wingers can be very verbally violent, intolerant and nasty.
11. Gideon Levy (on the left during a break)
referred to himself as the “extreme Arab’ – he meant the one that is missing in the discussion although MK Ahmed Tibi provided a good deal of misrepresentation.
12. Dani Dayan
almost stunned the crowd when he calmly informed them that their “Two-State Solution” not only was never a solution but could not be one. Ever since 1937 (and I would correct that to 1922 when Transjordan was separated from Jewish settlement), the ‘peace camp’ has proclaimed it the only solution but it was never accepted by the other side. A minor point.