One of the more central points in the dialogue that has been conducted between the nationalist camp and the concessionist camp (erroneously called the ''peace camp'') within the Zionist ranks has been "why is there no ''peace'' camp amongst the Arabs?" We have debated this issue over the decades - well, I certainly have - and the point is: why is there no balance? If we are not fair to ourselves, what kind of future - and peace, or at least coexistence - can we construct?The Israeli public, Jews and non-Jews, and their supporters are divided and our ''other'' is one solid block, even after the heroic efforts of persons like Rabbi Menachem Froman, for example (Rabbi Arik Ascherman is another story for he belongs, in my opinion, to the neo-subversive element in the equation and more about that in a future blog post).
We have "Peace Now" and "Gush Shalom" and the “New Israel Fund” and they? Do you feel comfortable with that imbalance?
Well, there is a new development. Salman Masalha published (he is a regular contributor) an op-ed in Haaretz, claiming that There is no Arab left in Israel, and notes that
The left is supposed to bridge the gap and the national tension by positing a civic agenda that crosses ethnic boundaries. The question is whether there is such a leftist agenda among the Arabs in Israel.
But do not presume this is an objective analysis and confrontation with a negative phenomenon in the Arab society for he begins thus:
There''s no left without Arabs, states Oudeh Basharat (Haaretz, July 19), adding: ''Had the 11 MKs of the Hadash faction and the Arab factions evaporated during the vote on the Boycott Law, the difference in favor of supporters of the law would have increased from nine to 20 votes''.
Incidentally, Basharat, a Hadash activist, that is, a Communist activist, was excited about the opposition to the Nakba narrative expressed by many Israelis, writing in March that it was a good ''commotion'' and that
At least, there''s no denial of the Nakba. Nobody claims the whole thing is a fairy-tale. The Palestinian narrative has won. The narrative that in ''48 a people was exiled, by force, from its land, has been seared into Israeli and global consciousness. A vibrant, lively nation lived in Palestine, and a brutal act severed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. They were brutally and mercilessly thrown into the desert of doom and oblivion...[The opponents of the Nakba narrative] won''t rest until they destroy any memory of the word "Nakba." They will use this opportunity to eliminate every trace of democracy as well.
And now, we''ll return to Masalha, who muses
...The question is whether there is such a leftist agenda among the Arabs in Israel. Because in order for there to be a genuine left in Israel, there also has to be some kind of Arab left. And it seems that such a left does not exist.
He then enters into an intra-Arab tit-for-tat:
Basharat did well to try to distinguish between his party, Hadash, and the other Arab factions - because Hadash is, in essence, a Jewish-Arab party, centered around the Israeli Communist Party (Maki ). However, Basharat cannot deny that Hadash has long since lost its unique character on the Israeli political landscape, and its leaders, especially on its Arab side, are not preoccupied with an ideological, social and political discussion, but rather with slogans and a chauvinistic, populist competition with the other groups in the Arab sector.
And it gets ''better'':
...the party that is supposed to fly the flag of the left aligns itself with the benighted ayatollahs of Iran, with the North Korean dictatorship - one of the darkest regimes on earth - and with the murderous tribal regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad that for months has been massacring Syrian citizens and cutting the throats of those who desire and are pursuing freedom. Can the "pearls of wisdom" of the secretary-general of the Israeli Communist Party be a part of any leftist agenda? I doubt it. It seems that aside from the blind hatred for the United States and Israel that in the past decades has become a kind of populist Arab religion, he has nothing to offer, certainly not an agenda that a genuine left is supposed to present to Jews and Arabs in Israel.
So, what is there left (sorry for the pun) for the Arabs?
Masalha thinks that...it would seem that the words of the secretary-general of Maki, which we have cited here, not only fail to attest to sanity, but leave no reason for a rank and file Arab or Jewish citizen to vote for a party whose spiritual leader is a person who espouses such views.
And where does that leave us Israelis with our own far-out left?