(photo credit: )
The speech that author David Grossman delivered in Tel Aviv's Kikar Rabin last Saturday night was a hollow monologue on the true state of the nation. Had the late Yitzhak Rabin, in whose honor Grossman received the live platform, been able to hear his words, he would have found them offensive.
Rabin, whom I knew well and whom I helped as both a friend and a journalist for over 30 years, would have snorted with contempt at Grossman's rebuke and termed it "nonsense" or "bullshit," in his own inimitable Palmah style. While Grossman may have been right on in labeling Israel's leadership "hollow," his own speech deserves the same description.
After all, Rabin tried all the peace methods and formulas with the Palestinians, the Syrians and others of their ilk that Grossman proposed in his speech. But Rabin failed even before he was assassinated. As Grossman recommended, Rabin spoke to the Palestinians "above the heads" of their leader Yasser Arafat, he shook Arafat's hand, brought him to the gates of Jerusalem - only to receive in return the first suicide bombings - Bus No. 5 on Rehov Dizengoff in Tel Aviv, the bus bombing in Ramat Gan, and so on.
As for negotiations with Syria - with the father of the current dictator - where they were concerned, Rabin tried to walk on the edge: After all, Rabin admitted, discreetly, that he only decided to fall into Arafat's arms when Hafez Assad informed him via US secretary of state Warren Christopher in the summer of 1993 that in return for a withdrawal from the Golan Heights to the 1967 armistice lines, he would be willing to make peace - but without phases, without a testing and probing process. Assad the father reiterated this at the Geneva Summit with the United States in January 1994 and again in Geneva 2000 during Ehud Barak's term as prime minister.
Rabin, unlike the arrogant left-wing author, knew how to admit his mistakes. Rabin confessed that he was wrong when as defense minister in the first intifada (late 1987-early 1988) he ordered IDF soldiers to "break the rioting Palestinians' arms and legs, even with hoe handles." When he met secretly with his personal friend and political foe Ariel Sharon after sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with Arafat, Rabin admitted to Sharon: "It was a mistake to hand Jericho over too; we should have left Arafat in Gaza." Quite rightly, Rabin attributed responsibility for that mistake to Shimon Peres.
SO WHAT else did author David Grossman propose to us in Tel Aviv? "Peace of no choice!" he cried in pathos. For years, Grossman has made a very nice career abroad by condemning the "occupation" of 1967. He called it a "Yellow Wind," and his condemnations of Israel's governments were turned, without his intending them to, into a weapon in the hands of the enemies of Israel and the Jews.
Meanwhile, and as a result of the "occupation" of 1967, Israel made "peace of choice" with honor - that of Menachem Begin with Egypt and Yitzhak Rabin with Jordan. That is why those peace agreements have proved successful for so long.
What Grossman proposes is a peace of shame, one in which Israel's enemies would dictate the terms of surrender to the Jewish state. We remember such peace agreements from the past, for example the Munich agreement, in which Czechoslovakia was forced to accept the terms of its surrender and destruction. Some of Europe's finest writers at the time, in England and in France, writers far superior to Grossman, enthusiastically supported that "peace of no choice," which ultimately led to that most terrible of wars at the initiative of the Nazi fascists. Grossman's "peace process" would mean capitulation to the Islamic fascism of Gaza and Teheran.
Dalia Rabin apparently did not know her father well enough when she termed the rally a "political event." Rabin in his public roles behaved the way a true statesman should. As an officer, he chose to remain in the Israel Defense Forces, when David Ben-Gurion decided to dismantle the outstanding Palmah fighting force.
As chief of staff of the 1967 victory, Rabin behaved as one would expect a representative of the public consensus to. When he shook Arafat's hand despite the harsh criticism, he was not acting on behalf of the lunatic Left, and instead succeeded in preserving the support of the democratic majority of the country.
So what did Dalia Rabin, Grossman and company do on Saturday night? They handed over the Rabin heritage to this extreme left wing. Exactly the opposite of what Rabin did when the Palmah was dismantled and Rabin continued as a promising officer in the army.
That is why there is no danger that the minority that applauded Grossman in Kikar Rabin will force the author's false illusions on the rest of us. Grossman missed the point. He will certainly understand the following Italian story, because after all, Grossman enjoys considerable success among Italy's fanatical Left:
An Italian field marshal, it is told in Rome, tried to save the situation during World War II by trying one last time to storm a British stronghold. "Avanti popoli!" cried the Italian officer with all his might. But no one moved. Only Moishele responded enthusiastically - "What a beautiful voice! We're saved."